Herd Book Collection

Reference: MERL LIBRARY HERDBOOKDate: c. 1846-2004Extent: c. 932 volumes
spines of herd books
Some nineteenth-century editions of Coates’s Herd Book for Shorthorn cattle. MERL LIBRARY HERDBOOK CLOSED ACCESS

Herd books, flock books, stud books and stud cards, are all records of pedigrees of breeds of livestock. In the MERL Library collection, we hold herd books for cattle, sheep, pigs and racehorses.   

Many equivalent records are now kept in online databases but the published records enable farmers and breeders today to track the ancestry of their livestock back through the centuries.   

Herd books in the MERL Library collection include: 

  • Ayrshire Herd Directory 
  • Charolais Herd Book 
  • Coates’s Herd Book for Shorthorn Cattle 
  • The English Guernsey Cattle Society’s Herd Book 
  • The Hampshire Down Flock Book 
  • The Herd Book of Hereford Cattle 
  • The English Jersey Herd Book 
  • The Red Poll Herd Book 
  • The Shire Horse Society Stud Book 

The oldest herd book in our collection, from 1846, is an edition of the oldest cattle herd book on record: Coates’s Herd Book for Shorthorn breed of cattle which began publishing in 1822.  

More information

The books are partially catalogued and searchable on the online catalogue. 

Associated collections

Gloucester Cattle Society collection which includes herd books for the ancient breed of Gloucester Cattle.  
Jersey Cattle Society collection includes an early herd book for the breed.  
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