Highland cattle in Drenthe province in the Netherlands

Highland cattle stare down winter
Highland cattle in Drenthe province in the Netherlands © defotoberg/Shutterstoc

The frosty blasts of winter in the Netherlands have little effect on Highland cattle thanks to their unusual coats. The long-haired outer layer is oily and slicks off rain and snow, keeping the fluffier undercoat dry and toasty against their skin. These two Highlanders are in a national park in the country’s Drenthe province, but the breed developed by natural selection - only the fittest survived - in the wet and windy Scottish Highlands. The original Highland Cattle Herd Book, which noted records of Highland cattle pedigrees, dates to 1885, making Highlanders the oldest registered cattle breed in the world.

Farmers used to keep their Highland cattle in open-air stone shelters called folds, and that name stuck to these hairy bovines - a group of Highlanders is called a fold, not a herd. Today, you can find Highland folds all over the world, as far north as Alaska and Scandinavia all the way down to our lands. Queen Elizabeth is fan. She's had a fold on her Balmoral Estate since 1953.