Robert Colling

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Robert Colling (1749 – March 7, 1820), and his brother Charles (1751 – January 16, 1836), English stock breeders, famous for their improvement of the Shorthorn breed of cattle, were the sons of Charles Colling, a farmer of Ketton near Darlington. Their lives are closely connected with the history of the Shorthorn breed. Of the two brothers, Charles is probably the better known, and it was his visit to the farm of Robert Bakewell at Dishley that first led the brothers to realize the possibilities of scientific selective breeding of cattle. Charles succeeded to his father's farm at Ketton. Robert, after being first apprenticed to a grocer in Shields, took a farm at Barmpton. An animal which he bought at Charles's advice for and afterwards sold to his brother, became known as the celebrated Hubback, a bull which formed the basis of both the Ketton and Barmpton herds.

The two brothers pursued the same system of inbreeding which they had learned from Robert Bakewell, and both the Ketton and the Barmpton herds were sold by auction in the autumn of 1810. Robert Colling died unmarried at Barmpton on the 7th of March 1820, leaving his property to his brother. Charles Colling, who is remembered as the owner of the famous bulls Hubback, Favorite and Comet, and the breeder of the celebrated Durham Ox, was more of a specialist and a businessman than his brother. He died on the 16th of January 1836.


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