The breed arose in north-east Scotland in the counties of Aberdeenshire and Angus. Deliberate breeding began at the end of the 18th century. The breed was first formally recognised in 1835 with the first herd book published in 1862. Animals were first exported to the USA and other countries in 1878.
The American Aberdeen-Angus Breeders' Association (name shortened in the 1950s to American Angus Association) was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1883, with 60 members. In the first century of operation, more than 10 million head were recorded. The American Angus Association records more cattle each year than any other beef breed association, making it the largest beef breed registry association in the world.