BRITAIN’S biggest native breed of cattle will be coming to the Cheshire Show in a class of their own for the first time in its 175-year history.

The South Devon cows made an appearance at last year’s show under the Any Other Breed class, but will have a dedicated section at this year’s show on June 18 and 19.

Richard Hartshorn, a breeder of South Devon cattle for 22 years and secretary of the Wales and West Midlands region for South Devon Herd Book Society, is in charge of organising the inaugural Cheshire Show class.

“Last year we attended the show and did a bit of a recce to see how breeders and the show could benefit from a dedicated South Devon class,” he said.

“We’re hoping to attract exhibitors from far and wide, and I am confident we will have lots of interest as the show is the biggest in the north west, so it is a fantastic opportunity.”

The South Devon breed originated in the south west of England but is now common across the UK, and they are also reared across the world including Australia, South Africa, America and Thailand.

Despite their size – they generally weigh up to 1,000 kilos – they are known as ‘gentle giants’ because of their quiet demeanour, which was the main reason they were chosen to travel to America on the Mayflower ship in 1620.

Although a beef breed now, in the past they were also used in milk production and have the same quality of a Jersey cow in butter fat and protein levels, giving their calves an excellent start in life.

John Ball, Cattle chairman for the Cheshire County Show, said: “We’re delighted to have the first ever dedicated South Devon class at the Cheshire County Show in 2013.

“In recent years we have continued to increase the number of competition classes as we attract more breeders from across the country, further proof that our show is now one of the most important events in the agricultural calendar.”

To book show tickets visit or call the show office on 01565 650200.