The low-cholesterol quality of its meat is becoming an distinct advantage for the Blonde d'Aquitaine breed in Ireland, according to breeder John Lynch.
John's herd of Blondes, for which he has earned many honours over the past three decades, mingle with his award-winning pedigree Limousin herd and flock of pedigree Vendeen sheep on the family farm in Ballinascraw, Co Longford.
The foundation of the Blonde d'Aquitaine herd on the farm near Ballinalee was the purchase of a female, Fifi, from Mrs Fallon's herd in Wexford in the early 1990s.
"She turned out to be a good buy, with her descendants winning nine national championships to date," says John proudly. "Her progeny also proved to be top performers at the National Performance Test Station at Tully, Co. Kildare."
The pedigree Limousins had been on the farm five or six years when the Blondes arrived, and the first thing that caught John's eye was the length of the Blondes compared to the Limousins; he was also impressed by their weight gain and kill-out figures.
"Improving herd quality is something we always strive to achieve," he says. "This is done by using the best genetics available to us. The mix of French and British genetics is something that has worked well."
The consumer demand for low-fat, low-cholesterol meat has also boosted the breed's profile.
"Beef from Blonde cattle has the lowest cholesterol content of all the beef breeds and is something which is being promoted more and more by the Irish Blonde d'AquitaineCattle Society," John says.
John has found that the Blonde calves are well suited to the export market, with a high demand from shippers as the heifer calves make excellent suckler replacements.
Cull cows are also commanding a high sale price.
The Blondes have also proved beneficial for cross breeding to produce some excellent stock.
On John's farm the 50 suckler cows - which range from a 3/4 to 7/8 Blonde d'Aquitaine cross - are bred with either a Blonde or Limousin bull on the farm.
"We find the Blonde cows have excellent mothering ability with high milk production, ease of calving and lively new-born calves," he says.
"The calves are very stylish with extra length which can make a big difference when it comes to kill-out weight.
Quality continues to be a hallmark of the herd, which John describes as "small but good".
'Scarlet' who completed a three-in-a-row in the breed Championship at the National Livestock Show in Tullamore between 2004-06, was succeeded by a grand-daughter, 'Glory', who won the breed championship at the National Show for 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Blonde D'Aquitane cattle have ancient origins in south-west France, but the breed as we know it today is relatively modern.
It was formed in 1962 when the herd books of the Garonnais, the Quercy and the Blonde des Pyrenees were merged to create the Blonde d'Aquitaine breed.
The strains that were merged were originally used as draught animals - this emphasis on muscle and power is still a feature of the breed on the continent.
The Irish Blonde d'Aquitaine Breed Co-Operative was founded in 1974 and the first Blondes were imported here in July 1975 when 20 farmers decided that they saw a future in the breed for beef production.
The first import shipment consisted of 250 females and six bulls.
More than 3,000 Blonde d'Aquitaine cows are now registered in Ireland, with most of the top French bloodlines incorporated into the Irish herd.
Almost 8,500 Blonde d'Aquitaine calves are born here annually, almost half into spring-calving herds.
The society point out that the breed is being increasingly used for cross-breeding in the dairy herd because of the easy calving and benefit for rearing to finish as beef animals.
Although still a minority breed, the high feed to beef conversion rate of the Blondes and kill-out of up to 70pc on steers have proved attractive to producers in a tight-margin enterprise.
Meanwhile, the breed has become increasingly dominant in France, where it is second to Charolais in the overall cattle population.