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Charolais cow and calf
|Country of origin||France|
Charolais cattle (French pronunciation: [ʃaʁɔlɛ]) are a beef breed of cattle (Bos taurus) which originated in Charolais, around Charolles, in France. They are raised for their meat and are known for their composite qualities when crossed with other breeds, most notably Angus and Hereford cattle. The breed tends to be large muscled, with bulls weighing up to 1,100 kilograms (2,400 lb) and cows up to 900 kilograms (2,000 lb).
The breed was introduced in the southern US as early as the 1940s it was the 1st herd in the USA then the 2nd herd was introduced in the north in the 1960s It was the first popular breed after the English breeds and Brahmans. It was known to produce beef animals that had more red meat and less fat. The breed was often crossed with English breeds.
In the 1970s Charolais crossbred steers won a number of prominent steer and carcass shows particularly in Texas. The first Charolais steer to win a carcass show was at the San Antonio Livestock Show in 1971.
This breed has been quite popular in the Top End of Australia, where they are used for cross breeding. It has also become popular in the southern United States, where Charolais (often crossed with other breeds) have increasingly replaced Herefords.
The coat is almost pure white. The Australian and Canadian breed standards also recognise cattle possessing a light red colour called 'Red Factor' Charolais. The term Charbray refers to the offspring of Charolais crossed with Brahmans and is recognised as a breed in its own right.
In Sierra Nevada de Mérida, Venezuela, following the rural flight of farmers, many Charolais cattle were abandoned; they have survived in the wild feeding on Espeletia schultzii, a high altitude shrub.
See also 
Breed associations 
- Official website of the Charolais Society Australia
- Official website of the American-International Charolais Association
- Official website of the Canadian Charolais Association
- Official website of the New Zealand Charolais Cattle Society Inc
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