Hielan Coo Fold by Tom Gomez

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Synonymous with Scotland, the Highland Cow, or Hielan Coo as we would say, can be seen all over the country.

Highland cattle (also known as Hairy Coo or Hielan Coo) are an ancient Scottish breed of beef cattle with long outward spreading horns and long wavy pelts coloured black, brindled, red, yellow, or dun.

The breed was developed in the Scottish Highlands and western coastal regions of Scotland, and breeding stock has been exported to the rest of the world, especially Australia and North America, since the 1900s and is used as grazer in nature reserves in the Netherlands . The breed was developed from two sets of stock, one originally black, and the other reddish. Today, Highland cattle come in a wide variety of colours.

Highlands are known as a hardy breed due to the rugged nature of their native Scottish Highlands, with high rainfall and strong winds. They both graze and browse and eat plants other cattle avoid. 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. The coat also makes them a good breed for cold Northern climates.

The Highland cattle registry (“herd book”) was established in 1885. 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 Scots.

Highland cattle have been successfully established in many European countries. 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.


Related shots can be found at: Highland Scotland.

Sold a Card on 27th Apr 08

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All images shown in this redbubble portfolio are owned by the artist, Tom Gomez and are protected under UK and International copyright laws. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any part of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. All rights reserved. My images are NOT part of the public domain.

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  • nannajul
    nannajulalmost 7 years ago

    Oh My! This is just superb Tom

  • Mar Silva
    Mar Silvaalmost 7 years ago

    They are so beautiful. When I have a farm I would like to have some. As my friends of course. Do you think they could handle America?

  • They are there already, check out the updated description on the right.

    – Tom Gomez

  • Joanne  Bradley
    Joanne Bradleyalmost 7 years ago

    Well I have never seen a cow that looked like this! But cows all act the same just kind stand as if waiting for something. Great capture Tom! Crisp, clean well composed!

  • Mar Silva
    Mar Silvaalmost 7 years ago

    I’m a vegetarian…so I think I’ll have a couple as Pals to roam around with :)

  • Barry Norton
    Barry Nortonalmost 7 years ago

    Great Capture

  • Tim Denny
    Tim Dennyalmost 7 years ago

    Holy COW! what in the devil do you call these hairy outfits ? Nice shot though Tom

  • Bootiewootsy
    Bootiewootsyalmost 7 years ago

    I have never seen these before.. Very good photo.. Thanks for sharing.

  • flame7
    flame7almost 7 years ago

    Ooooh I love these – My mum used to have them and I loved the way you call them Hielin Coo – I can just about hear my mums voice again… thankyou for the memory.

  • simba
    simbaalmost 7 years ago

    Brilliant Tom

  • handprintz
    handprintzalmost 7 years ago

    Such a great shot Tom,these are such lovely looking beasts,and thanks for the informative narrative as well!

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