The main breeds of cows in France

In French territory, all the regions practice cattle breeding with the exception of the south-eastern part of the Mediterranean area. Some breeds of cattle are raised for their milk production, others for their meat, and some for milk and meat (mixed breed).



France has the largest cattle herd in all of Europe.


Cattle breeds relate to three types of aptitude namely: suckler cows (breastfeed their calves), dairy cows (raised for milk) and mixed cows (raised for milk and meat).


Thus, the main cattle breeds in French breeding are:


Dairy breeds: Prim’Holstein, Holstein, Brune, Jersiaise, Bordelaise ...

Meat breeds: Limousine, Charolais, Red des près, Blanc Bleu, Blonde d'Aquitaine ...

Mixed breeds: Montbeliard, Aubrac, Salers, Normande, Bretonne pie noir, Bleue du Nord ...


Usually, the breed of cow is associated with its region of origin. For example, La race limousine (Origin: Limousin) and La Normande (Normandy).


Certain breeds of cattle originate from another country and are raised on French territory. This is the case with the Prim’Holstein (Dutch Origin).


Here is the ranking of the three main breeds of dairy cows in France:


• The Prim'Holstein: a large cow of 150cm at the withers which has a white coat with black spots. She is an excellent milkmaid who occupies 80% of milk production in France.

• The Montbéliarde: It is a mixed breed: it is a recognized milkmaid, appreciated in particular for the production of famous cheeses (Comté, Morbier, Bleu de Gex or Mont d'Or).

• La Normande: The most exported cow in the world (a dairy cow and appreciated for the quality of its meat) with its white coat with spots (black and brown).

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