Interest in red Aberdeen Angus cattle continues to grow, as was confirmed at last Saturday’s breed calf show in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone.

The event saw a number of ‘red enthusiasts’ taking part including William Dodd, who farms near Saintfield in Co. Down. He has been breeding red Aberdeen Angus cattle for the past 12 years.

His Glenbrae Red herd comprises 20 cows, five breeding heifers and followers.

“Demand for the breed is now growing strongly throughout Ireland, the UK and the rest of Europe,” he said.

“Many commercial dairy farmers are keen to run a red Aberdeen Angus bull with heifers. First-off, they produce a slightly smaller calf. The bulls also colour mark their progeny.

“Red bulls are easier to see in a field when running with a group of black and white heifers. So there is a distinct health and safety benefit to be gained from using them in this way.”


A strong demand for red Aberdeen Angus has also been reflected in the prices paid for them.

William Dodd secured 6,000gns for a home-bred bull at the recent Aberdeen Angus pedigree sale in Stirling.

Glenbrae Red Maverick X164 had previously picked up the ‘best of opposite sex’ accolade at Balmoral Show 2022. He was 18 months old on the day of the sale in Scotland.

“Irrespective of his colour, Maverick is a tremendous calf and will do well in any breeding situation,” William confirmed.

Red vs. black Aberdeen Angus

It turns out that Europe is out of the step with the rest of the world, where red Aberdeen Angus cattle predominate.

They are the predominant Angus option in the US, Canada, across South America and Australia.

Red is a naturally occurring colour trait within the breed; it is not a mutation.

It has been the case that black cattle have been chosen as the bloodlines of choice in the UK and Ireland for many generations.

Genetic assessment has confirmed that, coat colour apart, red Angus animals are identical to the Scottish population of Aberdeen Angus cattle. Today, red Angus stock are registered separately from black Angus cattle in Australia, Canada, and the US.   

Red Angus cattle are naturally polled. Mature bulls have an average liveweight of 935kg; the equivalent figure for cows is 635kg.

The Scottish Angus is usually black, but red individuals occur. This may be the consequence of cross-breeding in the 18th century of the small Scottish cattle with larger English Longhorn stock, aimed at increasing their draught power.