Hi, ho, Hi, ho, it’s off to --- Wait!  This is about the Seven Families, not the Seven Dwarfs!  All of today’s longhorns can trace their bloodline to the foundation bloodline(s).  Many of these traits are still visible today and each of these families made a significant contribution to the cattle we see today!

Marks:  Emil Marks began his herd in the 1840’s in Costal Texas.  They were part of the old Yates stock. Marks preferred function over form, he liked a long body, long hips and good legs for traveling.  Marks cattle featured brindle coloring with strong red, dun and browns.  The higher horns featured a lot of twists.  Today, the Marks bloodline is very diluted and the smallest in number.


Yates:  Cap Yates’ ranch was in West Texas.  His cattle were structurally sound, made for surviving and producing calves in the desert.  Yates prevented outside bloodlines, no trace of Hereford or Brahma.  His cows were known for being great mothers and magnificent milkers.  The Yates’ herd featured mostly solid colors and the smallest horned cattle, with a twist second to none! Wright:  M.P. Wright’s began his herd in the early 1920’s in Coastal Texas.  His cattle is known to be different from all others…they are the slaughterhouse survivors.  Wright’s bloodline features a beefy, long and short-ish body with a slight dish face.  Line-backs are a common trademark with reds and duns, they were colorful.  It is rare to find pure bloodlines today.

Peeler:  Yet another South Texan, Graves Peeler bred to create ‘Professional range cattle’ – hardy, rugged and durable.  He wanted big cattle, with great bones and lots of fight.  Peeler cows are excellent milkers and known for their big, fat calves.  His cattle have a slight Brahman look with varied color.  Their V-shaped horns weren’t known for their great length.

PhilliipsPhillips:  Jack Phillips was another rancher from the Coastal region of Texas.  This is the oldest of the Families.  Phillips cattle have long legs, long bodies, course bones topped with narrow and homely heads.  You’ll see every color, though most are solid.  Phillips’ cattle have twisty, long horns.

MeaslesWichita Refuge:  Founded in the Wichita Mountains in Southwest Oklahoma – Oklahoma?  What?  Texas Longhorns weren’t in the musical!  We Okies are just North Texans anyways!  WR cattle have the best known history and their pedigrees are the most appreciated.  Started in the late 1920’s from south Texas herds, though no purchases were made from the other major families, and they were intensely inbred.  They are smaller, in both length and height.  WR bulls were known for excess lower neck and brisket skin, which gave them a buffalo-like silhouette.  Many had solid coloring with horns that curled up and forward.  Their cows were very feminine, colorful and had above average milk production.  The original WR herd was not of the horn growth, conformation or pretty colors their modern cattle possess.  Today more blood is available than any other family, as 50-70% of all Texas longhorn cattle possess high percentages of WR blood.


Butler:  Milby Butler and his son, Henry began their cattle program in 1923 in League City, Texas.  They are best known for raising the biggest, record setting, lateral horns.  Butler cattle have been intensely inbred.  They tend to be small bodied, primarily white with dark ears, nose, eyes and ankles; although duns aren’t unheard of.

Each of the Seven Families has both strong and weak points.  Find the traits in which you’re the most interested and use this information to build your herd and put your own stamp on the cattle of the future.  Now, it’s off to work we go!