Highlands are known as a hardy breed (most likely due to the
rugged nature of their native Scottish Highlands), which will eat
plants other cattle avoid. They both graze and browse. The meat tends to
be leaner than most beef, as highlands get most of their insulation from
their thick shaggy hair rather than subcutaneous fat. This coat also makes
them a good breed for cold Northern climates.
Highland cattle were the earliest registered breed, with the
registry ("herd book") established in 1884. Although groups of cattle are
generally called herds, a group of highlands is known as a fold. The breed
is affectionately known as "shaggy coos" or "hairy coos" in parts of Scotland.
They were also known as "kyloes" in Lowland Scots.
Notably, Highland cattle were successfully established in Italian
Dolomites, in wide open areas. Their hair provides protection during the
cold winters, and their skill in browsing for food is also important in
order to survive in such a steep mountain area.
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