- The Tarentaise originated in France, a descendant of native cattle found around
the Isere River in eastern France.
- The native home of the Tarentaise is very mountainous; no other French cattle graze in an
area with as high and altitude and such dramatic changes in elevation.
- The breed's development consisted of mixing local, larger valley cattle with smaller, rugged
- The tough topography and climate created a muscular, hardy cow.
- Because the Tarentaise has a different genetic background from English cattle, the Tarentaise
offers good hybrid vigor when crossed with other breeds.
- The farmers originally placed an emphasis on dairy production, which can be seen in the confirmation
of the cows.
- The color of the Tarentaise can be anywhere from a dark yellow to red.
- There is often a finchback -- a ridge of light-colored hairs along the back.
- The skin is black-pigmented; the nose is dark.
- There is sometimes a light band around the muzzle, and sometimes the lower legs are lighter.
- The bull stands about 4 1/2 feet high at the withers, the cow about 4 1/4 feet high.
- The males weigh, on average, about 2100 pounds, the females, about 1200 pounds.
A Field Guide to Cows, by John Pukite, Falcon Press, Helena, Montana, 1996, pp. 72-73.
OSU's Breeds of Livestock
-- Tarentaise Cattle page.