The name comes from Parthenay, a town which was an important cattle market during Middle Ages. The golden age of this breed was the second part of 19th century, with the French herdbook being established in 1893, making it one of the oldest in France. At this time, phylloxera killed all the grapevines of the Cognac vineyards. Waiting for a way to fight this disease, farmers bought cattle and in a few years their butter was known all over the country. This Charente-Poitou butter is nowadays an AOC. The breed has been exported to the United Kingdom, Ireland the USA and Canada.
The hair colour is golden brown, with lighter eyes, muzzle and legs while the nose, hooves, and tail are black. Horns are crescent shaped. Bulls weigh up to 1150 kg (2,600 pounds) and stand about 145 cm tall. Mature cows weigh around 700 kg (1,600 pounds) and stand about 135 cm tall.
After a multi purpose history, they have been selectively bred as a pure beef breed since 1970, with a degree of double muscling, producing good tasting lean meat. Cows have enough milk to rear their calves.
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Parthenaise cattle breeders of Australia ( www.parthenaise.com.au )