A New Zealand farmer is successfully breeding Highland cows with no horns - after spending more than 20 years trying to phase them out writes Ellie Forbes.

Farmer Tim Gow, 62, has been perfecting the breed of Scottish cows at his farm, in Southland, New Zealand, where he now has 100 in his herd.

Dad-of-four Tim has named and trademarked the cows the Tufty breed, and said without their horns the animals are more docile and friendly.

The herd was created by breeding animals with poorly developed horns, which would usually be avoided for breeding purposes.

Tim, a grandad-of-one, began the venture after finding his herd was unwelcome at vets, in transport trucks or even at the slaughterhouse because of their dangerous horns.

South West Farmer:

Picture: Tim Gow / SWNS.COM

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Tim, who has been keeping Highland cattle at Mangapiri Downs Organic stud Farm since the 1980s, said: "People went completely against horned cattle.

"It started with the vets - there were some accidents when a cow swung round and hit someone in the eye with a horn.

"We had one vet who split his arm open on a horn. That put the vets off.

"Then some of the abattoirs said they couldn't take them, unless they were dehorned, which doesn't work well for organic cattle.

"I took cows that didn't have good horns and kept breeding from them.

"I had the biggest herd in Australasia at one time, so there were a lot to choose from.

"It was sort of forced on us - I liked seeing cattle with those great horns - but it has had a silver lining."

South West Farmer:

Picture: Tim Gow / SWNS.COM

Tim's herd are descended directly from Scottish cows imported to New Zealand in the 1970s, including some from the Queen's herd at Balmoral.

He has spent the last 20 years creating the herd of polled cattle, with the help of his late uncle, Scott Dolling, a geneticist from South Australia.

Tim, whose grandfather was from Creiff, Perth and Kindross, said: "When I first had Highland Cows, which I got from a breeder who had imported them from Scotland in the 1970s, I invented an advertising trademark of 'hardy, hairy, horny'.

"Now we've got rid of the horns, I have had to change it to 'hardy, hairy, happy', which doesn't have quite the same ring to it."

Tufties have a long, thick, hairy coat, and can range in colour, from black, dark brown, red, tan, yellow, and white.

The organic farm sells the cows across New Zealand, with calves costing $2,500 and stud bulls $6,000, and Tim said their friendly nature makes the cows great pets.

Tim said: "People love them, they are really good-natured and unique.

"This week, when the new bull calf was born, the mother and the auntie were just looking at me, saying, 'Go on, have a look'.

"They are so friendly.

"We have actually sold quite a lot of them as pets, although they are also starting to take off on dairy farms, because they are so placid."