Species & breeds

Dairy cattle breeds

France is an EU leader in dairy production. The French national herd stock spans a broad breed diversity that counts Holstein, Montbéliard and Normande among its numbers. Along with 9 other breeds – including Abondance, French Simmental, la Pie Rouge des Plaines, Brown Swiss and Tarentaise – they are enrolled in modern and effective selection programmes that deliver significant genetic improvement.

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Beef breeds

France boasts the largest national beef herd in the European Union. It has birthed specialized beef breeds of worldwide renown, such as Charolais, Limousin, Blonde d’Aquitaine, Rouge des Prés, or Parthenais. This offer is rounded off by breeds that demonstrate outstanding hardiness and maternal qualities, such as Salers, Aubrac, and Gascon.

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Goat breeds

France is one of the world’s leading countries in terms of goat milk production thanks to its high genetic potential herd, composed mainly of two internationally-recognized breeds (Alpine and Saanen). They benefit from balanced breeding program in terms of improving productivity and milk quality, contributing to the profitability of industries cheese.

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Sheep breeds

The French livestock is composed of more than 20 meat breeds (specialized, hardy or high prolificacy breeds) and of 5 specialized dairy breeds. To take into account this wide variety of traits, their genetic improvement rests on constantly improving and specific breeding programs.

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Key figures

Under official breeding programs :

  • 14 dairy cattle breeds
  • 11 beef breeds
  • 2 dairy goat breeds
  • 5 dairy sheep breeds
  • 20 meat sheep breeds

Under conservation programs :

  • 5 dairy cattle breeds
  • 8 beef breeds
  • 6 dairy goat breeds
  • 1 dairy sheep breeds
  • 20 meat sheep breeds


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