Breed of the Month Archive

Ferrandaise breed

Herd-Book creation :1905/ new : 1980
Nb. Breeding females (2007):about 729
Trend :increasing
Location :Massif Central (Central Mountains)
English name :Ferrandaise breed


Ferrandaise breed is a cattle breed originated from the Puy de Dôme "département" in the "Massif Central" (mountains in centre of France), not far from the city of Clermont Ferrand. Traditionally it is a triple-purpose breed (milk, beef, work). In fact, all cows were milked and the most of them were trained up for work on the small farms. Calves were very appreciated for veal.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the number of cows was around 70 000.
It was said this breed was related with other "Auvergne" breeds like Salers or with "Jurassic" breeds like Montbéliard or Simmental. In fact it is an original and old breed we don’t know exactly the distant origin.
Ferrandaise breed was maintained in its area of origin until the end of the Fifties. Indeed, because of desertion of bovine working, aggressive disease prevention against tuberculosis and brucellosis, specialization of farms, no access to Ferrandais bulls for AI, industrial crossing with Charolais, this period was fatal to the breed.
During the Seventies, there were only a few dozens of purebred animals left and one could fear a total extinction of the breed. In 1977, after a decision of the National Commission of Genetic Improvement to preserve French cattle breeds and thanks to a credit of the Ministry of Agriculture, the first actions of conservation started with the involvement of "Auvergne Volcanos Regional Natural Park" (Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne). In 1979 the first Ferrandais bull entered in AI Center.
Institut de l’Elevage provides the technical and methodological follow-up of the breed since 1978. The Volcano Natural Park provides administrative work.
Milk of Ferrandaise cows were the source of typical local cheeses like "Fourme d’Ambert", "Fourme de Montbrison", "Fourme de Rochefort", "Bleu de Laqueuille" and, with Salers cows milk : "St Nectaire" cheese. Today, it isn’t possible to associate Ferrandaise breed with a specific product nor breeding system. A little more than half of the animals are bred in suckling herds. The other animals are bred in dairy herds.

Breed Description

The Ferrandaise is a red and white (sometimes black and white, sometimes coloursided), dual purpose breed, well adapted to the “plateau” of central mountains of France. It’s a good grazer.
The current mean size and weight of females are 1,37 m and 650 kg, and their milk production is around 3800 kg at 3,8 % fat and 3,2 % protein for adult cows. Calves bred with milk of their mothers are very estimated. They have good growth and very testable meat. "mh" gene is present in the breed.

Previous/Future Conservation

Bulls of different origins have been found and collected since 1979. Today, 29 bulls are available for animal insemination with a good genetic diversity which permits to avoid inbreeding (total inbreeding of females is 2 %).
Since 1980 a register of all Ferrandaise animals is recognized as the official herd- book and held by the “Institut de l’Elevage”. Every year all breeders are contacted or visited.
The breed is appreciated for her versatility both in suckling and milking systems. Total number is increasing.


Herd-Book : Institut de l’Elevage, 149 rue de Bercy, 75595 Paris Cedex 12;
Breed Society : Association des Eleveurs de bovins de la race bovine Ferrandaise, Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne, Château de Montlosier, F.63970 Aydat;