Dairy cattle breeds
Rouge Flamande

TOSCANE - Crédit : Union Rouge Flamande - Alger Meekma
Summary of the article

 Traits and performances

The Rouge Flamande is one of the oldest dairy breeds described in France, whose origin is common with shorthorns from Holland, Denmark, Angeln and Devon.

It spread across Northern France to the Paris basin, before hitting a period of decline in the 1960s.

In contrast with many other breeds, the Rouge Flamande has always been a dairy specialized breed, even back when all cattle had to be multipurpose.

The Rouge Flamande logically left a lasting footprint on its original birthplace in the French Nord and Pas-de-Calais, where its milk has forged several regional cheeses (Bergues, Maroilles and Vieux-Lille, among others).

This large-framed breed is currently experiencing resurgence in popularity, due to its adaptability to its home-region conditions and its highly protein-rich milk. Producers have leagued together to earn an Protected Designation of Origin (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée – AOC) for the Bergues cheese, which is produced from Rouge Flamande milk.

In addition to its dairy production, the Rouge Flamande also produces high marketable veal calves due to their good percentage yield at slaughter and a stand-out breed-specific dense beef that has high added-value for sector professionals.


Breed selection objectives for Rouge Flamande essentially hinge on two lead criteria: productivity, where the target is to improve both milk quantity and protein yields, and morphology, where the aim is to preserve the large frame while improving udder quality.

The Danish Red, which had a long history of being crossed in to add genetic diversity to the bloodlines and improve dairy traits, is now used more sparingly.

All the bulls enrolled into the progeny-testing program are of French maternal parentage, the aim being to reduce the Danish blood ancestry currently carried down to about 25%. Today, the return to a breed adapted to its home region and that carries signs of quality plays to the advantage of French bloodlines that present the frame and hardiness that the market is looking for.


Key figures

  • 1,930 cows
  • 103 farms
  • 761 cows under milk recording system
  • 600 cows recorded in the Herd Book
  • 6,227 artificial inseminations
  • Height at withers (adult cow): 135 to 148 cm
  • Adult cow weight:
    600 to 750 kg
  • Adult bull weight:
    950 to 1,250 kg
  • Young-bull carcass weight:
    300 to 350 kg
  • Milk yield: 6,416kg
  • Milk yield 305 days: 5,689kg
  • Fat content: 3.95 %
  • Crude protein content: 3.41 %

Official milk recording results 2014 - Mature equivalent milk yield - Institut de l’Elevage & France Conseil Elevage