Longhorns are long-horned cattle of Spanish derivation, formerly common in the southwestern U.S. They became known as particularly tough and fierce but also smart and courageous. Their telltale longhorns became symbolic of all things Texan and Western in general. The \u201csign of the horns\u201d also has a variety of meanings, not all very nice. \n\n\n\nOrigins\n\n\n\nCattle are not native to North America.\u00a0 The Spanish brought over Moorish-Andalusian (Muslim controlled Spain) cattle to North America, starting with Christopher Columbus.\u00a0 You can read more about that topic here.\n\n\n\nThe cattle were originally used to produce animals used for bullfighting.\u00a0 In time, they developed particularly long legs and longhorns, useful offensive weapons and defensive tools.\u00a0 The Spanish did not fence their herds, resulting in many cattle becoming wandering off and joining wild cattle.\u00a0 The cattle became very hardy and self-reliant.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\n\n\n\nIn the 1820s, people from the United States started to settle in Texas. They bred English cattle, which in time crossbred with the native cattle to form the telltale Texas longhorn. Their horns could grow over one hundred inches from tip to tip. Thus, the name, \u201clonghorn.\u201d \n\n\n\nWhat Qualities Do Longhorns Symbolize?\n\n\n\nLonghorn cattle are known for their toughness, ability to take a lot of adversity (resilient), and fierceness.\u00a0 But, longhorns are not just seen as mindless brutes. They also have a reputation for being clever, agile, and courageous.\u00a0 Many Texans see a lot of themselves in longhorns.\n\n\n\nThe Texas longhorn, or simply the longhorn symbol or a silhouette of the cattle\u2019s head, became a popular symbol. Longhorn tattoos are very popular for many people. \n\n\n\nThere is a long tradition among Native Americans and in Mexico to use bull skull imagery. Some Native Americans believe the bull skull overall provides life-long protection from all natural elements. It also represents such things as leadership, durability, toughness, and other things longhorns specifically often symbolize. \n\n\n\nCattle Drives \n\n\n\nThe Texas longhorn, or simply the longhorn symbol or a silhouette of its head, became a symbol of cattle drives. Cattle drives are when a large number of cattle are moved from one place to another, including to the market. And, what happens in a lot of John Wayne movies. \n\n\n\nCattle drives are usually done by cowboys on horseback.\u00a0 Longhorns also are used for rodeos.\u00a0 Thus, longhorns bring to mind, symbolize, not only cattle drives, but a whole Western vibe.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nSymbol of Texas \n\n\n\nOne estimate states that \u201cBy 1865, about 5 to 6 million Longhorns resided in Texas, and most were unbranded.\u201d\n\n\n\nNo wonder that they became a symbol of Texas itself though it was not made the official large mammal symbol until 1995. The longhorn also became the symbol of the University of Texas at Austin, the official mascot being \u201cBevo,\u201d the Texas longhorn. It\u2019s trademarked and everything. \n\n\n\nThe Longhorns symbol represents the university and all the sports there. But, football is particularly popular in Texas, so the longhorns symbolize football maybe a tad more. \n\n\n\nLongHorn Steakhouse\n\n\n\nThe Longhorn Steakhouse is a popular casual dining restaurant. The first location was built in 1981 in Georgia, but soon became a franchise with locations throughout the United States and internationally. There are over five hundred locations today. \n\n\n\nThe steakhouse\u2019s logo is the familiar longhorn symbol, very appropriate for a restaurant with a Western\/Texas theme. The logo underlines the idea the restaurant brings a bit of Texas wherever it might be. Each bite ideally brings to mind a whole Western vibe. \n\n\n\nWhy is \u201cHorn\u2019s Down\u201d A Problem?\n\n\n\nAs a somewhat casual football fan, all the rules at times can get confusing.\u00a0 Please don\u2019t judge me too harshly, if this is a problem. The readers of this Texas-friendly entry might be particularly sensitive about such matters.\u00a0 The importance of football in Texas is not only apparent to Friday Nights Lights fans, but was recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court.\n\n\n\nOne penalty that has real \u201cthese are a bunch of boys\u201d energy is taunting. \u201cHorn\u2019s Down\u201d gestures can now be subject to a taunting penalty. This as you might expect has led to some passionate feelings on both sides. For the uninitiated, what exactly is the problem? \n\n\n\n"Hook 'em" or "Hook 'em Horns" is a symbol representing the longhorn mascot of the University of Texas. The \u201chand down\u201d symbol is a playful taunt used against them, especially by rival football fans.\u00a0 Some Texans find this very disrespectful. \u00a0 Others take it in the playful, if often very passionate, competitive fashion most probably intend it to represent.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nSign of the Horns: Other Uses \n\n\n\nThe \u201csign of the horns\u201d hand gesture has many meanings. This has led to some confusion when people are only familiar with the \u201cTexas longhorns\u201d symbolism.\n\n\n\nIn many cultures, including Latin American and Mediterranean countries, the sign of the horns hand gesture can have an offensive connotation. Italians understand the horns (cornea) gesture as symbolism of a man whose wife cheated on him. Flapping the fingers (or \u201cthrowing the horns\u201d) can also be the symbol of \u201cbullshit\u201d in sign language. Texas Longhorn fans be on guard.\n\n\n\nThe symbol also can have Satanic implications. Satan often is portrayed with horns. And, the horns can symbolize the bones of cattle, symbolizing death. Heavy Metal musicians often use the hand gesture. The sign of the horns also is used by some criminal gangs. \n\n\n\nConclusion \n\n\n\nLonghorn cattle developed from a crossbreeding of Spanish cattle and English breeds in 19th Century Texas. They became symbolic of not only Texas cattle drives, but eventually Texas itself. A good way to trigger Texans was to use their \u201chook \u2018em horns\u201d symbol, the \u201chorns down\u201d symbol eventually becoming a popular taunt. Meanwhile, longhorn fans should be on guard: the telltale longhorn hand symbol can mean some naughty things too. Try to avoid embarrassment!