What is a High Park Cow
In the early to mid 2000’s a popular cross breed of cattle hit the miniature cattle market. It was dubbed the HighPark breed, also sometimes spelled HiPark.
As the breed grows in number and popularity, it seems like an appropriate time to dive deeper into “what is a HighPark cow”.
The short answer is that a HighPark is a cross breed between a Scottish Highland and White Park.
But wait … there’s more. A HighPark must has specific coat color to qualify, otherwise it is simply a Scottish Highland / White Park cross.
The White Park breeds come in different flavors. The White Park is different than the British White Park and the American White Park. While the coloring of all 3 breeds are similar, the genetic makeup is quite different.
White Park: This breed dates to the days when Jesus walked the earth. Designated as a beef breed, it was near extinction in the early 1900’s. A breeding pair was moved to Canada in the 1930’s. The offspring of this pair found their way to the Bronx Zoo, then to King Ranch in Texas. In 2022 the breed numbers are still considered “critical” as there are under 500 breeding animals thought to still exist worldwide.
White Park cattle have a solid white body with colored points or tips (ears, nose, eyes, and feet). They are a horned breed and genetically closely match the Scottish Highland and Galloway cattle.
A mature bull will weigh approximately 2,000# and a mature cow will be in the range of 1,500#
British White Park: The British White, or British White Park, cattle are a polled breed, with a white body and dark (black or red) colored points or tips. Thought to have origins in Great Britian around 1700, they quite popular throughout the world today. Known best as a beef breed, the British White Park cows weight 300# pounds more, on average, than the other two breeds discussed here.
American White Park: Much like the British White Park, the American White Park is a polled beef breed, with a white coat sporting black or red points or tips. This breed is thought to have been formed by combining White Park and Angus genetics. It is quite possible that this breed was formed on King Ranch in Texas after the White Park cows from the Bronx Zoo were relocated to the ranch. Average bulls weight is 1,700# while the cows tip the scales closer to 1,000#.
As you can see, the “Park” in the HighPark breed can have some diversity. There are other breeds with similar marking that contribute to the HighPark genetic pool as well. White Dexter, Texas Longhorn, Berrenda, N’guni, and BON are just a few. While the finer details may leave some room for debate, the following is the generally accepted breed standard for a High Park cow
HighPark Breed Standard
- Must be 50% or higher percentage Scottish Highland
- Must have a primarily white body, with black, red, or dark colored points or tips
- Can be polled or horned – horned is most common and preferred for the breed
- “Micro HighPark”, if measuring under 36” inches tall to the top of the back (at the base of the tailbone)
- “Miniature HighPark”, if measuring 36.25” – 42” inches to the top of the back (at the base of the tailbone), at age 3 or older
- “Mid-size HighPark”, if measuring 42.25” – 48” inches tall at age 3 or older, to the top of the back (at the base of the tailbone), at age 3 or older
- “Full Size HighPark”, if measuring over 48” inches tall to the top of the back (at the base of the tailbone), at age 3 or older
HighPark and Highland / White Park cross cattle can be registered with IMCBR. Research information, photos, and other material found through various online sources, including OSU Dept. of Science, UK Cattle shows, and an article by Kim Irvine.