The Blonde d’ Aquitaine cattle breed historically dates back to as far as the 6th century. The breed was originally found in one of the 27 regions of France known as Aquitaine located in the south western area of Metropolitan France along the Atlantic Ocean and the ranges of the Pyenees mountain on the border of Spain.
The Blonde d’ Aquitaine cattle breed was successfully developed by genetically crossbreeding three local strains of French cattle including, the Quercy, the Blonde des Pyrenees and the Garonnais cattle breeds in 1961.
Prior to the end of the Second World War in 1945, the Blondes cattle breed were mainly bred as drought cattle where they were used for pulling carts and heavy loads as well as for their quality beef and milk production.
This led to the cattle breed developing a docile temperament, a natural ability to withstand harsh conditions and substantial muscular growth. In 1963 the breed was recognized of their ability in producing steers for the production of beef. During the 1960’s the French Blonde d’ Aquitaine herd-book was established.
The Blonde d’ Aquitaine cattle breed are observed in size as a medium built breed of cattle when compared to the much larger cattle bred in France such as the Limousine and Charolais cattle and are seen often having a predominantly cream to tan colored coat often as a result of their crossbreeding.
The Blonde d’ Aquitaine has a long head stretching from the poll to its triangular shaped muzzle. The horns are quite light in color thick at the base having a darker shade at the tips. The breed can often be found as either polled or horned with the pure blood cattle bred in the regions of Canada as polled Blonde d’ Aquitaine cattle.
The typical Blonde d’ Aquitaine bull will occasionally weigh between 1800 to 2300 pounds with the Blonde d’ Aquitaine cow weighing between 1100 to 1600 pounds on average with the steers bred and ready to be slaughtered within a period of about 14 months having an average weight of 1200 to 1400 pounds.
The cattle breed has been found to display excellent maternal instincts, a trait increasingly welcomed by small and part time farmers. Their ease in calving, longevity and high fertility rate has also resulted in the high demand of the Blonde d’ Aquitaine cattle for the weaning heifers.
The Blonde d’ Aquitaine cow will experience her first calving within two to five years. However farms dedicated in the production of pureblood breeds will inseminate their Blonde d’ Aquitaine cows with semen obtained from purebred bulls to allow their heifers to birth their first calf within the first two years.
The average Blonde d’ Aquitaine cow having reached the age of 11 would have given birth to about 8 calves with exceptional cows bred up to 15 years often giving birth to one calf each year.
The meat to carcass ratio of the Blonde d’ Aquitaine have been found to compare much favorable with many of the traditional cattle breeds as the breed displays the ability to provide a larger cut lean red meat lower in bone content than other breeds containing similar back fat levels to the Limousin cattle and lower than the Simmental, Charolais and Hereford breeds.
The Blonde d’ Aquitaine cattle breed are unsurpassed in their feed efficiency often converting at excessively high feed rates when compared to other cattle breeds often possessing a hardiness and remarkable ability to convert low quality forage to efficient grains.
The Blonde d’ Aquitaine herd is easily maintained as the breed is calm and adaptable to sub level feed and unfavorable climatic conditions. This has resulted in considerable husbandry with grazing pastures in the summer months or grass and hay during the winter. This recognizable trait for potential growth is evident in the breed’s continuous feeding pattern often recognizing a daily weight gain of up to 2 kilograms.
Widely adopted as one of the preferred cattle breeds, the Blonde d’ Aquitaine found in Germany are bred in herds often consisting of between 20 and 70 heads of cattle sometimes numbering as much as 150. They are effectively left out to pasture for periods for as long as a year where they will feed on hay, grass or corn silage.
In 1971 the breed was first introduced into Canada where they were widely recognized as a favorable breed adopted by cattlemen and farmers.
Today the Blonde d’ Aquitaine cattle bred in Canada continues to increase at a steady rate among their population providing a high quality beef within the market where they have often been referred to as the best kept secret within the Canadian beef industry.
The Canadian Blonde d’ Aquitaine Association formed a partnership with the Beef Improvement Ontario harnessing their available tools for herd development effectively producing a well-crafted product used for both the seed stock and commercial Canadian breeders.
In 1972 the first Blonde d’ Aquitaine cattle was imported within the united States of America to satisfy the demand of the American cattle breeders who wanted to import French cattle for the sole purpose of beef production within the United States.
The breed was widely accepted and adopted by many of the farmers and cattlemen across the United States. A year later in 1973 the American Blonde d’ Aquitaine Association was established and recognized as a non-profit association geared towards the active development, preservation and promotion of the Blonde d’ Aquitaine breed beef cattle across the United States of America.
The Association is headquartered in Grand Saline, Texas and is supported by both state and regional associations in maintaining its efforts.
Today the Blonde d’ Aquitaine cattle breed can be found worldwide in a number of countries including Canada, United States, Australia and Europe.
Breeders and Cattlemen can find Blonde d’ Aquitaine seed stock available for purchase at a number of farms through their online website including:
- Old Kentucky Blondes
- Willow Springs Stock Farm, located in Alberta, Canada.
- Westlane Farms located in Alberta, Canada