Herefords are an ancient breed, kept in Herefordshire in western England for centuries. They gained their modern appearance around 1800 by crossing with cattle from Flanders. Originally, Herefords were large framed draught cattle, some weighing over 3,000 pounds.
During the nineteenth century there was selective breeding for early maturity, which entailed a reduction in the size of the frame. The first herd book was published in 1846, and later adopted by the 'Hereford Herd Book Society', founded in 1878.
Hereford are medium framed cattle with distinctive red body color with the head and front of the neck, the brisket, underside, and switch in white. They have well developed fore-quarters, a deep brisket, broad head and stocky legs. Most animals have short thick horns that typically curve down at the sides of the head, but there is a polled strain in North America and UK (Polled Hereford).