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Breed: Tarentaise:

  • 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 mountain cattle.
  • 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.


Sources: A Field Guide to Cows, by John Pukite, Falcon Press, Helena, Montana, 1996, pp. 72-73.
and OSU's Breeds of Livestock -- Tarentaise Cattle page.