Origin of Breed
“Blondes” originated in the Aquitaine district in south west of France. Three separate strains including the Garonnais, the Quercy, and the Blonde des Pyrenees, (from the plains, hills and mountains) were used to develop the Blonde breed, which explains their great adaptability. There have been infusions of Shorthorn, Charolais, and Limousin breeding but this was followed by selection back toward the original types.
The Blonde d'Aquitaines trace back to cattle that were used during the Middle Ages. Cattle were used to pull carts full of weapons and goods. These cattle were used similarly to draft oxen and valued for their meat and milk. The first herd book was recorded in 1898. In the 1960's, the French Blonde d'Aquitaine herd book was formed.
Blondes range in color from nearly white to nearly red. The golden wheat color often has lighter rings around the eyes and muzzle. It is also typically found on the inner side of the legs, under the belly and on the shins. The Blonde color is not dominant in crosses. Blonde d'Aquitaine cattle can be horned or polled. Horns are light in color and thick at the base, darkening at the tip. The breed’s light color, short hair, active sweat glands and localized muscle control over skin movement give Blondes an added advantage in warm climates and environments. They flourish in all climates in the USA as well as in Canada and the Tropics
Mature Fullblood Blonde bulls weigh around 1600-2600 lbs. Mature Fullblood cows normally weigh anywhere from 1400-1800 lbs.
Blondes are extremely adaptable and are hardy foragers. “Hybrid Vigor” combined with Blonde genetics allow them to have exceptional growth under many conditions. They are fertile and produce very growthy calves. The light muscling at birth, refined structure and low birth weight allows for high calving ease. Cow characteristics, such as a wide pelvis, also contribute to calving ease.
The breed can readily convert low-grade forage to efficient gains. It is not unusual for Blonde calves to gain 3 pounds per day on milk and good grass. Their fine bone structure and minimal external fat, paired with heavy muscling is ideal for feed efficiency and efficient lean red meat production. Feedlot and carcass tests consistently prove their superior feed efficiency and a low fat to lean ratio for both Blondes and Blonde crosses. The breed’s remarkable length and highly developed hindquarter and loin produce a higher percentage of the more valuable steak and roast cuts.
Development in America
The first Blonde d'Aquitaine cattle were introduced to the United States in 1972 due to the demand from American breeders. They selectively wanted to import French cattle specifically suited to beef production in North America.
Registry and Improvement Programs
The American Blonde d’Aquitaine Association was formed in 1973 as a non-profit association organized to develop and promote the Blonde d’Aquitaine breed of beef cattle in the United States. Regional and state associations nationwide support the ABAA. Blonde d'Aquitaine can be found all around the world and is particularly popular in Europe, America, Canada and Australia.
The American Blonde d’Aquitaine Association is headquartered in Grand Saline, TX.