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.
Polled Herefords were developed from the horned Hereford breed which was founded in the mid-18th century by the farmers of Hereford County, England. Among the horned Herefords an occasional calf would be born which did not develop horns. This change from parents' characteristics is known as a "mutation." These cattle soon came to be called "polled," which means naturally hornless.
Polled 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. Polled Herefords are generally docile and fast growing cattle with good beef quality.
Today the Polled Hereford registry is combined with the American Hereford Association.