L7 Ranch Oakwood Texas

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ 1

There are 3 major players (associations) in the registrations of Texas Longhorns as well as numerous local chapters.  The following are the 3 main associations or registries.

Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America (TLBAA)
International Texas Longhorn Breeders Association. (ITLA)
Cattlemen's Texas Longhorn Registry (CTLR)
 
The TLBAA was the first Association and started in the '60s.  They sponsor Longhorn Auction Sales, Judging contests and promote the cattle.  This is the oldest and largest association.  They also have a reputation deserved or not for internal corruption.  People were suspected of putting together schemes for selling $1,000,000 bulls etc.
 
In the 1980's enough people were disgruntled and they formed a new association called the ITLA.  They set up their orgainization with more member control.  While both the TLBAA and the ITLA sponsor events, shows, sales etc. my personal perspecitve is the ITLA is a smaller member driven organization that is more about having conformation shows, youth events and scholarships.  It is smaller and by my impression more family oriented.  Please note this is just my perspective as an outside non-member and if others would like to make me aware of differences please let me know and I will revise.
 
Both of these organizations allow for cross registering from any of the 3 associations.  If you want to be in the ITLA then TLBAA registered cattle can be cross registered as ITLA cattle and vice versa.  Both of these associations conformation judging was originally largely based on and continues to be influenced by commercial beef cattle types.
The TLBAA and the ITLA (to a marginal lesser extent) also judge on Tip to tip horn length.)  This is probably the main push of the TLBAA.
Many of the wealthy play in this arena and that's where the big money cattle trade hands.
 
In the 1990's another group was dissapointed with both of these and started the CTLR.  Their concerns were the Texas Longhorns were being "improved" out of existance.
Their goal is to maintain historically correct and genetically pure Texas Longhorns.  They are so obsessed with maintaining this they don't sanction shows, sales etc. so as not to invite corruption and cross breeding.  These animals are what Texas Longhorns looked like and have the characteristics they did 150 years ago.  They feel like anytime you start breeding for one trait (like horn length) you start affecting other traits that make longhorns, longhorns.  The last I looked there were only about 1500 registered cows and less than 50 registered bulls.  There are less than 100 active members.  While their cattle are accepted by the other associations they do not accept the other associations cattle unless they are visually inspected and DNA tested.  A recent DNA check of about 35 TLBAA cattle showed one was genetically pure enough to pass CTLR DNA testing.
The African cattle, Brahma, Watusi, and Africaner were unknowingly or covertly cross bred to the longhorns for horn length and horn base.  The most common activity of the CTLR is to hold Inspection training events to distinguish cross bred cattle from historically correct cattle.  The membership of this group is mainly comprised of older people that can afford to raise marginally profitable cattle for prosperity.  I am a member of this group and like the comaraderie and support.  This group is always open to talk to, and get advice from. They swap bulls and calves to avoid inbreeding and sales are always private treaty and they try and sell their animals for what commercial cattle bring to make them affordable to anyone that wants to get involved.
 
Probably the first thing to do is decide what you are interested in, family activities, competitions, horn length or historical correctness and start with the appropriate group.  I personnally felt like the most support came from the CTLR as there are about half a dozen or so major players that at any time at least a few of them are available to talk.  Most are financially comfortable but not rich and like talking to and helping inexperienced new members.