Beginning in the early 1930s, Tom Lasater, the breed's founder, developed Beefmasters from a systematic crossing of Hereford, Shorthorn and Brahman cattle. His purpose was to develop cattle that were more productive than existing breeds; cattle that would produce and make money during economically hard times in the harsh environment of South Texas.
The new breed was developed on what has become known as the Six Essentials - Weight, Conformation, Milk Production, Fertility, Hardiness and Disposition. These essentials became the economic strength of Beefmasters and have made them favorites with those who depend on cattle for a living. Beefmasters are the only beef breed specifically developed to excel in these important economic traits.
While brownish-red is the most common color, the breed has no color standards. Beefmasters were recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a pure breed in 1954.
Since the early 1970s, when the breed began rapid expansion from its South Texas birthplace, Beefmasters have survived several wrecks in the cattle market without adversely affecting their growth and demand. From 1974 to 1998, membership in Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) grew from 300 to nearly 7,000. BBU, which was founded in 1961, is one of the top five largest beef breed registry in the United States in membership and top ten in registrations.
Responding to change and tough challenges are part of the Beefmaster heritage. Today, like yesterday, Beefmasters and the cattlemen and cattlewomen who raise them are ready to handle the ever changing beef cattle industry.