Breed History

The Aberdeen Angus Breed has a tradition in Canada going back over 130 years. Today all Angus registration papers are processed through the Canadian Angus Association office in Calgary, Alberta. All animals registered in the Canadian Angus Association Herdbook are 100 percent purebred.

The Canadian Angus Association registers both red and black Angus. Both colours offer the same traits, but Canadian registration papers easily indicate the colour of the animal.

Angus can be found throughout all provinces and territories in Canada, meaning access to cattle is excellent. Strong commercial demand ensures the basic traits of mothering, muscling and marbling are kept in the forefront. Along with the polled factor, natural to Angus, these traits have often been imitated but never duplicated by other breeds.

Canadian Angus has seen dramatic growth in the past few years, and international interest in our genetics continues to grow. Canadian Angus have been exported with great success to all five continents and are generally regarded to be of superior quality in global genetic circles.

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Breed History

Angus animals arrived in Montreal, Quebec by 1860 and some landed in Victoria, BC in 1874. The first recorded importation was in 1859 by Sir George Simpson, Governor of the Hudson Bay Company. No progeny was recorded, therefore credit for the first productive importation was given to Professor Wm. Brown at the Ontario Experimental Farm in Guelph, Ontario.

“The first of the breed born in North America” is commemorated on a bronze plaque in Guelph recognizing the birth of Eye Bright 2nd on January 12, 1877 sired by the bull Gladiolus.

In 1882 there were 323 Angus imported from Scotland. The Hon. M.H. Cochrane had his headquarters in Montreal and a ranch in Alberta. He purchased ten animals from Scotland in 1881 for the tremendous sum of $9,975. These were the days when top bulls were selling for $300. The town of Cochrane, just west of the city of Calgary, received its name from this early booster of Aberdeen Angus cattle.

By 1884 the Dominion Polled Angus Herd registry was established in Toronto. An unfortunate fire in 1894 destroyed all Aberdeen Angus manuscripts. Circulars were sent to all breeders in an attempt to reconstruct the records. A large number were secured and sent in, but many others were lost.

In 1905 the records were nationalized and the recording office moved from Toronto to Ottawa. Breeders decided to form the Canadian Aberdeen Angus Association to be incorporated under the Dominion Act respecting Livestock Records Association.

The Association chose not to recognize the Old Herd Register but to register all living animals. All animals to be registered had to pass a standard inspection by an authorized inspector, Mr. James Bowman of Guelph, Ontario. Expenses were paid by the Department of Agriculture. He reviewed the records and pedigrees of all Angus cattle in Canada and provided the data for the first Canadian Aberdeen Angus Herd Book published in 1908.

The Canadian Aberdeen Angus Association

Our Association had a rocky start when two factions, one in the east and the other in the west disagreed on the need for a Canadian Association. The same situation affected other breeds and was resolved only when a suggestion was approved to have one organization formed where all breeds could register. Canadian National Livestock Records was formed and located in Ottawa. Our Registry remained in Ottawa for 90 years until 1996 when the Association assumed responsibility and transferred the records to its office in Calgary.

When the Canadian Aberdeen Angus Association was formed, all officials and directors were from Western Canada and the breed office was established in Winnipeg. The Constitution and Bylaws were approved at a meeting in Brandon, Manitoba on March 1, 1906, and formally accepted by the Minister of Agriculture in Ottawa on July 11, 1906. The “Canadian Aberdeen Angus Breeders Association” was incorporated May 4, 1906. The first Annual Meeting was held in Winnipeg, July, 1906, with the first President, Hon. W. Clifford, of Manitoba.

The head office of the Association did not remain in Winnipeg. It moved to Brandon in 1911, Calgary in 1947, then to Guelph in 1964, to Regina in 1988 and back to Calgary in 1995. In 2013, the Association moved into its first member-owned building in Rocky View County, Alberta, about 10 minutes north of Calgary.

The Canadian Association registers both black and red Angus. The first herdbook specifically excluded males red in color, but red females were permitted. However in 1921 the bylaws were amended to exclude all red animals. Red animals kept occurring in herds and several breeders sought to have them included in the herd book established in 1954 by the Red Angus Association of America.

The Annual Meeting of the Association in 1967 approved a motion that red animals be eligible for registration. This was officially approved by the Minister of Agriculture of Canada on April 3, 1968.

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