Hereford cattle can be identified by their white faces and red bodies; because of this coloration, the breed is also called whiteface. Herefords may also have patches of white on their chests, flanks, bellies, lower legs and the tips of their tails, or switches. Their necks and legs are short, and their heads are broad. Their horns are short, thick and down-turned.
Polled Herefords are a variation of this breed that are born without horns. They were developed by Warren Gammon in the early 20th century by crossbreeding standard Herefords with the hornless mutation.
Herefords are one of the most popular breeds of beef cattle because they are easy to raise in various types of climates. They mature early, are long-lived and graze easily. Cows can give birth past the age of 15. Some farmers value these cows so highly that they allow the cattle to live out their natural life spans. Hereford cattle are also known for being sweet-natured.
This breed of cattle comes from Hereford County in England. American politician Henry Clay was the first to bring the breed to the United States; he bought them for his own farm in Kentucky in 1817. Importation of Hereford cattle in large numbers began in the 1840s and 1850s.