Farm Ireland

Monday 18 December 2017

A combination of three French strains

Blonde d'Aquitaine is a breed of beef cattle originating from the Aquitaine district in south west of France embracing the area of the Garonne valley and the Pyrenees. The breed is a combination of three local strains, the Garonnais, the Quercy, and the Blonde des Pyrenees.

Blondes were predominantly draught animals until the end of the Second World War. This resulted in their muscle development, hardiness and docility. They were always hardy, lean animals with light but strong bone structure. Blondes show some variation of colour ranging from almost white to tan.

Estimates are that the breed in this country is now concentrated on less than 150 farms with a breeding population of around 350 pedigree cows.

The Irish Blonde d'Aquitaine Breed Co-Operative was founded in 1974 and the first Blondes were imported in July, 1975, following a careful evaluation of the breeds intrinsic merit as a producer of top quality beef.

Twenty breeders imported 250 specially selected females and six bulls in 1975. Most of the top French blood lines are seen in the pedigrees of Blonde cattle in Ireland.

On the lighter side, in the early days of the first importations of the breed into this country, the national newspaper headline writers found it impossible to resist the temptation to attract reader interest in their stories by such headlines as "Irish Farmers to import Blondes" and

"French Blonde's on the way to Irish farms" which became the butt of many a joke and plenty of laughter which the importing farmers equally enjoyed.

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