Heritage animals are traditional varieties established over time by our ancestors. Breeding stock for these animals was carefully managed to produce breeds that were adapted to specific environments for specific purposes. They are considered more hardy and require less care than many modern hybrid breeds.
In 2021, the United States Postal Service issued a new set of 10 Forever stamps honoring historic heritage breeds. Each design pictures a different animal with its common name listed below. The breeds shown on the stamps are: the Mulefoot hog, Wyandotte chicken, Milking Devon cow, Narragansett turkey, American Mammoth Jackstock donkey, Cotton Patch goose, San Clemente Island goat, American Cream draft horse, Cayuga duck, and Barbados Blackbelly sheep. All of these heritage breeds were established in the Americas.
Most of these heritage breeds have few animals of the original breeding stock left today. Howeveer, there is a growing trend for farmers and enthusiasts to bring these special animals back from the brink of extinction. The genetic weaknesses of modern hybrids have also played a role in the resurgance of more sturdy heritage breeds. We can only hope that, with help, they will all be around for generations to come.