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Pure-breed Alderneys were smaller, more slender boned animals than the cattle of the other Channel Islands and in some ways they were more deer-like than bovine. They were docile animals and would even follow children passively to or from pastures. Their milk was copious and produced very rich butter. A 1912 writer said, "The Alderney ranks as the best butter cow in the world, whilst its abundant yield of milk, rich in cream, is phenomenal."
Most of the pure-breed Alderney cattle were removed from the island to Guernsey in the summer of 1940, because the island was then occupied by the Germans (during World War 2) and it was difficult for the few remaining islanders to milk them. On Guernsey, the cattle were interbred with local breeds. The few pure-breed cattle remaining on Alderney were killed and eaten by the Germans in 1944. In France, the Alderney was absorbed into the Normande breed.:192
The Alderney is mentioned in a verse of A. A. Milne's poem "The King's Breakfast" and in Chapter 4 of Jane Austen's novel Emma. It is also mentioned in Elizabeth Gaskell's novel of middle Victorian era, Cranford. Betsy Barker, a town resident who owns the Alderney, would regale her visiting neighbours about the milk quality and "wonderful intelligence of this animal".
- Barton, Frank Townsend. Cattle, Sheep and Pigs: Their Practical Breeding and Keeping, p. 21. New York: McBride, Nast & Co., 1912.
- Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J.G. Hall, D. Phillip Sponenberg (2016). Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding (sixth edition). Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 9781780647944.
- C., Katherine. "Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford: Betsy Barker's Alderney Cow". Gaskell Blog. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
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