Originally known as the 'black cattle' (because that was their predominant colour) or Kyloes (from 'kyles' meaning the narrow sea straits over which the cattle were swum or ferried across to the mainland from the islands with the help of cattle drovers), this cattle is now called 'Highland' or 'Highlander'.
The reason why most Highlanders are red these days would apparently be due to Queen Victoria. During one of her visits to Scotland in the 1840's, she let folk know that she preferred the Red cattle as opposed to the Black ones – and so (as the Queen had commented), more Red cattle were bred and the number of Black cattle progressively declined. At Balmoral Estate, Queen Victoria created their own fold (a herd of Highlander's) and thus helped this native cattle to come back into fashion. Nowadays Highlanders can be found in many (cooler) parts of the world, mainly thanks to the good efforts of the Highland Cattle Society, which published the first Herd Book in 1885.
With their wonderful looks, their production of (we firmly believe) the best beef in the world, and their assistance in creating a better environment/wildlife habitat etc., not to mention their highly individual, inquisitive characters, makes these animals absolutely fantastic to live with!
For more information, visit the Highland Cattle Society web site.