The Blonde d’Aquitaine is an ancient breed, possibly dating back to the 6th century, and comes to us from the Garrone River of southwestern France. Like so many old types of livestock, the breed’s early history is a little foggy. However, the Blonde d’Aquitaine’s ancestors were probably typical of most cattle raised before the Industrial Revolution—just multipurpose local stock kept pure by geographic isolation rather than by human efforts.
As history advanced and geographic barriers were less of a problem to travelers, three separate French landraces began to interbreed:
- The Garonne of the plains.
- The Le Quercy of the hill country.
- The Blonde of the Pyrenees Mountains.
Cattle breeders working with the new breed, the Blonde d’Aquitaine, also introduced the Shorthorn, the Charolais, and the Limousin to the gene pool. By the 1700s, the improved producers of meat and milk were known as the “good cows that fed Paris.”
After World War II, the emphasis switched to beef production. Strict tests for growth, temperament, fertility, and calving ease were implemented in the 1960s, resulting in the breed as we know it today. The first Blondes came to the United States in 1972, adding yet another genetic option for cow/calf producers.
The Blonde d’Aquitaine of today is strictly a beef breed. Its primary use in the United States is for crossing with both beef and dairy breeds to produce fast-growing beef calves.
The Blonde is a gentle, easy-to-manage breed. Even bulls have a reputation for good temperaments. Be careful around cows with calves, however. The Blonde d’Aquitaine cow is noted for her extremely protective nature.
Few health problems plague this breed. The Blonde d’Aquitaine is generally quite hardy.
- Low maintenance requirements.
- Adaptability to a wide range of conditions, especially heat and drought.
- Good insect tolerance.
- Calving ease.
- Calf vigor.
- High weaning weights.
- High daily weight gains.
- High carcass yield with low waste.
- Large quantity of high-value cuts such as ribeye steaks.
- Lean meat.
- Great taste.
- Late maturity.
- Inability to achieve exceptional gains on pasture alone.