Highlands have a long history of living with humans. Early Scots would keep the family cow(s) inside their homes during the winter. A woven wattle fence would separate the animal’s living areas from that of its owners, with both sharing the added warmth. Highlands tend to be docile and calm and do not stress easily. They are easy to work with despite their long horns. The horns are used primarily for knocking down brush to graze, predator control and scratching. Horns on females are generally upswept and finer textured than those on the males. Male horns are more forward pointing and massive.
Highlands are known to live for about 20 years; a considerably longer lifespan than other beef breeds. The average number of calves per cow is 12, and some cows can still calve into their eighteenth year! This cuts down on herd replacement costs.
Written records go back to the 18th century and the Highland Cattle Herd Book, first published in 1885 makes Highlands the oldest cattle breed in the world.