British Heritage Breeds of Beef 

British heritage breeds of beef are the most famous in the world. Breeds like the Shorthorn or the Angus have been bred for centuries to deliver the highest quality beef, while some of the breeds we stock go back further still, like the Dexter and the Welsh Black. Now, from Patagonia to the Prairies British breeds roam the pastures of the New World. Based in Yorkshire, we’re close to where the rich tradition of beef breeding began – many of our farmers are custodians of the pure blood lines – while our suppliers pride themselves on their ability to deliver only the very best beef. Expect the very best, with each breed offering something different to taste and texture.

Aberdeen Angus

Native Breed

Britain's Favourite Native Breed Beef

Unparalleled in reputation, the Aberdeen Angus is Britain’s favourite breed, but is equally revered in the steak cutting traditions of Argentina, the United States, and South Africa. Its popularity is a direct consequence of the marbling that evenly runs through the meat to give the beef its renowned rich and indulgent flavour. Due to its quality and popularity, we hang prime Angus beef the year round, always sourced from grass fed, free range herds.

Tasting Notes: Rich, Creamy, Indulgent

Breed Available Now

Belted Galloway

Native Breed

Instantly Recognisable Farmer's Favourite

The Belted Galloway might not be the biggest of breeds, nor the quickest to mature, but what they do offer is juicy beef with very savoury character. Their shaggy, thick coat means they need less fat to keep warm so their beef is leaner than the average heritage breed. Their hardiness means they’re often found on the limestone valley tops of the Dales, as the farmers know they’ll be safe and sound come rain or snow.

Tasting Notes: Grassy, Savoury, Natural

Blue Grey

Rare Breed

A Roan Beauty from Northumberland

The Blue Grey is a beautiful beast. As a cross breed, it brings together the juicy savoury flavour of the rugged Galloway, and the creamy character and marbling of the Shorthorn, traditionally a dairy cow. Originally bred in Northumberland, they’re often found grazing with bigger herds of other breeds, and are happiest on the valley bottoms of the Dales, grazing on lush fertile pastures.

Tasting Notes: Herbal, Mellow, Rounded

British White

Rare Breed

Medieval Cattle from the Forest of Bowland

The British White represents an opportunity to try one of the true heritage breeds of the British Isles. The breed can be traced back 800 years to the ancient forests of Bowland in Lancashire, but this lineage probably predates the Norman Invasion. Its history matches the beef’s character. Expect a leaner finish, with neat cuts of beef, that boast buttery flavour and fantastic eating quality.

Tasting Notes: Classic, Matured, Deep

Dexter

Native Breed

Pint Sized Ancient Irish Cattle

The smallest breed of cattle in Europe, the Dexter was bred in Tipperary in the 1750s from descendants of the native black cattle kept by the early Celts. Dexters were endangered in the 1930s, but now thanks to its ability to mature early feeding on grass and the impeccable eating quality of its neat, small cuts. This welcome resurgence has been aided hugely by frequent television appearances, and chefs heralding the standout quality of its beef.

Tasting Notes: Gamey, Mellow, Sweet

Galloway

Native Breed

A Rugged Breed of the Scottish Borders

The Galloway, likes its ‘belted’ cousin, is a hardy heritage breed that promises a leaner finish to its beef. The breed’s ability to thrive in tough climes has seen herds spread to all corners of the globe, but they are most at home in the pristine upland landscapes of Northern England and the Scottish Borders. Here they mature at their own pace on wild grazing. That means flavour is given a chance to develop naturally, with their diet giving the meat its juicy character, and gamey flavour.

Tasting Notes: Creamy, Traditional, Grassy

Gloucester

Rare Breed

Medieval Cattle from the Severn Valley

The Gloucester is a heritage breeds success story, coming back from the brink of extinction, and an increasingly common sight in the West Country. With their fine bone structure and distinctive horns, they date back to the 13th century, and are renowned for the quality of their milk, which is used to make Stinking Bishop cheese. Gloucester meat is also excellent in quality, promising generous marbling, delicious buttery flavour, and a fine grained texture.



Tasting Notes: Creamy, Traditional, Savoury

Hereford

Native Breed

The Symbol of the Welsh Marches

The Hereford is most at home on lush grass meadows, like those to be found in the fertile Welsh Marches. In the Dales this heritage breed is more often than not found grazing on the flat valley bottoms, where they convert pasture into the luscious beef that made the breed so popular during the agricultural revolution of the 1700s. The Hereford’s winning quality is the neat layer of fat to be found on its cuts, which gives the beef succulence and its hearty and beefy flavour.

Tasting Notes: Classic, Beefy, Deep

Breed Available Now

Highland

Native Breed

The Flower of Scottish Cattle Breeding

The Highland is an instantly recognisable Scottish favourite, and a true heritage breed. Its shaggy coat and short legs mean it is well suited to grazing on steep valley sides or on windswept moors, in often tough conditions. Its unqiue long in the mouth flavour results from the Highland taking longer to mature. This lets the flavour develop naturally, giving it an almost gamey character. This, and the fact the Highland is well marbled but not excessively so, makes this beef very popular with chefs.

Tasting Notes: Long, Umami, Unique

Irish Moiled

Rare Breed

One of the most distinctive breeds native to Northern Ireland.

The name Moile (or Maol) is derived from the Gaelic language and relates to the dome or mound on top of the cattles head. Irish Moiled is one of our most distinctive breeds of cattle native to Ireland and more specifically they are the only surviving domestic livestock native to Northern Ireland. This medium sized beast is a hornless breed, distinctive and easily recognisable with its red colouring, characteristically marked with a white line on the back and white under parts. Traditionally the Irish Moiled breed are big bellied to consume and digest large quantities of a lesser quality traditional diet. They are happy grazers, and have a taste for willow ash and even rambling ivy, which makes them perfectly suited to conservation grazing projects.

Tasting Notes: Herbal, Savoury, Rich

Lincoln Red

Rare Breed

The Cattle of the Vikings

One of Britain’s most ancient breeds, the Lincoln Red was probably brought to our shores by Viking invaders as they settled in the North and East of England. The breed was then ‘improved’ during the 18th and 19th centuries by various breeders looking to increase both meat and dairy yields. Listed as vulnerable by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, today they are making something of a comeback by virtue of their ability to convert pasture efficiently into excellent meat, the standout quality of which is the rich marbling that gives the beef its juicy succulence.

Tasting Notes: Mineral, Savoury, Classic

Longhorn

Native Breed

The Breed that Made British Beef Great

The Longhorn made British beef great, and its quality established our reputation as top cattle breeders with ranchers from Argentina to Australia. These easy going beasts take longer to mature than other breeds, which gives the beef both its rich seams of marbling and fine grain. This means both rich and juicy roasting joints, and neat steaks. Originally from Skipton in the southern Yorkshire Dales, they are still a regular sight on meadows across our county.

Tasting Notes: Buttery, Matured, Indulgent

Luing

Native Breed

A Tough Cross From The Western Isles

The Luing is toughness personified, hailing from the Inner Hebrides. Strictly speaking the Luing is a cross breed, resulting from the inter breeding of Shorthorns and Highlands, though today is recognised as a breed in its own right. This inter marriage gives the Luing the best of both worlds: a hardy demeanour able to weather the worst of storms, and luscious beef ideal for the top table. Expect well-proportioned cuts, with beef that its characterised by its leaner finish and almost herbal taste.

Tasting Notes: Balanced, Herbal, Dense

Red Poll

Native Breed

Auburn East Anglian Beauties

The heritage breed Red Poll is one of our last dual purpose breeds, which have been largely pushed out by the high yielding Holstein. This breed thrives in non intensive farming environments, and are often seen in ‘herds of a handful’ grazing natural pastures in the English countryside. The Red Poll’s beef promises rich and juicy character, and is a great all rounder with its well developed flavour, whether for steaks, roasting joints, or slow cooks.

Tasting Notes: Rich, Juicy, Intense

Shetland

Native Breed Rare Breed

Viking Cattle Well Endeared to Scottish Crofters

Small and hardy with distinctive horns that curve upwards, the Shetland is rarely to be found south of the border. They are thought to be descended from breeds brought by the Vikings. With colouring similar to that of a Holstein, the Shetland breed was cross bred with other breeds to provide crofters on the remote islands with meat, milk, and strength to pull ploughs, though the breed suffered in the wake of intensive farming. Expect unique tasting beef, famous for its fine marbling, and rich in Omega 3.

Tasting Notes: Unique, Savoury, Natural

Breed Available Now

Shorthorn

Native Breed

The Modern Durham Ox

Shorthorns are dual purpose, promising rich creamy milk, as well as meat with generous seams of marbling, that caramalise and tenderise the beef upon cooking. These abilities require plenty of food, provided by being raised on lush grass pastures where they are most happy. Expect beef with a fine grain and buttery texture, that’s well suited to roasting or slow cooking, but also promises well proportioned steaks with ample fat covering.

Tasting Notes: Creamy, Mellow, Savoury

South Devon

Native Breed

Orange Elephants from the West Country

The South Devon is a huge heritage breed, much bigger than its cousins, and promises well proportioned steaks and roasting joints. Its large stature owes to its origins on the gentle hills of chalk landscapes, where they were bred to be big, though they are now to be found across the world. Expect a classic British beef finish to its cuts, with streaks of marbling that caramelises the beef upon cooking, providing deep flavour in the process.

Tasting Notes: Robust, Savoury, Full-Bodied

Welsh Black

Native Breed

Descendants of Ancient Wild Cattle

One of the oldest breeds in the world, the Welsh Black thrives on rough upland terrain, converting sparse pasture into exquisite beef. Historically, this heritage beast would be driven by drovers from the hills and mountains of Wales to the markets of England. Today, their numbers are on the up, after a period of decline. Expect beef of unique character, with deep, well developed flavour, making this meat ideal for slow cooks, in addition to steaks and centrepieces.

Tasting Notes: Buttery, Indulgent, Gamey

White Galloway

Native Breed

Scottish Mystery Cows

A beautiful beast, no one is quite sure when and where the White Galloway emerged, but they’re often seen on the wilds of the Scottish borders. With pure white colour and black ears, of late the White Galloway was once a rare sight, but has become increasingly popular due to its toughness, thriving in harsh conditions. Like its other Galloway cousins, this animal has thicker coat of fur, meaning the meat has less fat cover, for a delicious lean finish, with characteristic juicy and tender texture.

Tasting Notes: Robust, Grassy, Classic

White Park

Rare Breed

The Great White Hope of British Breeds

The White Park is a truly ancient beef breed, farmed in Britain for more than 2000 years, but now rare. Early references to native white cattle go back to the time of the Druids and the Celts. This breed struggled to survive until 1973 when the Rare Breeds Survival Trust was formed and chose the White Park as its logo. Currently, the number of adult breeding cows is increasing as chefs and food critics sing the praises of the fabulous meat, which is lean, full of flavour, and well-marbled with fat.

Tasting Notes: Unctuous, Rich, Refined

Whitebred Shorthorn

Rare Breed

Our Rarest Beef Breed

Although the origin of this breed is somewhat obscure, the scarce Whitebred Shorthorn is mainly bred in the border counties of England and Scotland. It began to be increasingly reared over 100 years ago and was referred to as the 'Cumberland White'. Despite the name, they are a wholly different breed from the Shorthorn and are hardier and more thrifty than their namesake. This heritage breed was added to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) Watchlist in 2004 as a 'critical' status breed. We source the beef of this breed whenever possible, as we know that by demanding their well marbled, flavoursome beef, farmers will be encouraged to rear more of this fantastic animal.

Tasting Notes: Herbal, Sweet, Unctuous