The ‘Miniature” refers to the size of a particular line of Herefords. Miniature Herefords are NOT a different breed. A Hereford is and always will be a Hereford, irrespective of size. Some Hereford breeders are deliberately breeding bigger and others are breeding smaller, to suit the requirements of different markets. Herefords have varied in size throughout the years depending on what the markets required at that time. A Hereford from the 1960s is very close in size to what is considered a ‘miniature Hereford’ these days (see the photos below).
Hundreds of years ago, the Hereford breed came to be in Herefordshire, England. The cattle we refer to as Miniature Hereford cattle today are merely a product of the original Hereford cattle of the 1950’s and 60’s that were not bred up to the size they got to in some cycles of the intervening years. In recent years, breeders have continued in an effort to down-size Herefords.
In the USA, the name ‘miniature’ originated in the USA, miniature Hereford cattle have no specific designation at the American Hereford Association where they are registered. Height requirements need only be met at Miniature Hereford Breeders Association sanctioned shows, where the acceptable height for a mature Miniature Hereford bull is 47 inches (119 cm) measured at the hip and 45 inches (114 cm) for a mature female, measured at the hip.
In Australia, pure bred miniature Herefords are included in the Miniature Hereford Australia herd book.