Dairy cattle breeds

Vosgienne et son veau au pré
Vosgienne et son veau au pré - Crédit : OS Vosgienne

Traits and performances

Native to the Vosges upland mountains and the surrounding plainland, the Vosgienne has had to struggle through two World Wars (one of which involved combat across the breed’s home turf) followed by fierce competition from breed selection initiatives that began in the 1940s.

A conservation program launched in 1977 enabled a turnaround in breed numbers, with the result that today’s herd stock can build on a sound breeding population.

The Vosgiennes presents all the characteristic traits of animals that have had to adapt to high-altitude terrain: relatively fine-boned yet well-muscled animals, well-adapted to variation in temperature and able to make good use of rough forage.

It is a robust breed able to walk long distances, and is still moved up to summer grazing grounds from June to October on 40% of farms.

Its multi-purpose high-protein and high-fat milk is well monetized by the local Protected Designation of Origin (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée – AOC) Munster cheese, while the meat is equally popular due to its exceptionally fine-grained structure that produces a distinctive excellent taste.


The Vosgienne breeding program is focused on improving the breed’s milk efficiency traits (productivity, milk quality and milking speed) while preserving its dual-purpose profile and its ability to walk distances.

The program is also closely monitoring genetic variability, using the sundial-format pedigree chart that has been kept up to date since the 1980s and is still followed by Vosgiennes breeders.

Every year, the Vosgiennes breed organization commission scouts outs the farms for about thirty dams and heifers hand-picked for servicing by bulls based on their genetic value indices or their interest in terms of nurturing the genetic variability of the breed.

The offspring from these matings are further narrowed down to a dozen males sidelined for individual on-station testing on factors ranging from growth rate and carcass traits to sexual activity and morphology.

Half of this shortlist is then selected: 10,000 semen doses are then milked from each bull for progeny testing, after which 3 bulls are selected to be spread out by artificial insemination.


Key figures

  • 4,853 cows
  • 232 farms
  • 1,344 cows under milk recording system
  • 916 cows recorded in the Herd Book
  • 18,557 artificial inseminations
  • Height at withers (adult cow): 135 to 140 cm
  • Adult cow weight:
    600 to 650 kg
  • Adult bull weight:
    900 to 1 000 kg
  • Milk yield: 4,869 kg
  • Milk yield 305 days: 4,291kg
  • Fat content: 3.74 %
  • Crude protein content: 3.34 %

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