Limousin (cattle) - Characteristics - Limousin Breed Standard

Limousin Breed Standard

The French Limousin breed standard is described in Article 1 of Title I of the Rules of Procedure of the French Limousin herd-book, 1 August 1991:

The Limousin is a large framed breed of beef cattle with a bright wheat-coloured coat, not too dark, a little lighter on the belly, the rear of the thighs, between the legs, on the anus, around the testicles or udder, and the tail tip. Absence of any spots or pigmentation, with pink mucous membranes. Short head, broad forehead and muzzle, lighter area around the eyes and muzzle, fine horns curved forward and slightly raised at the tip (if present). Short neck. Chest broad and rounded. Side round. Pelvis wide, especially at the pin bones, not too inclined. Bones of lower back and hips slightly protruding. Forequarter well muscled, wide above and very muscular. Hindquarters thick, deep and rounded. Horns and hooves lighter coloured. Correct limbs. Fine supple hide.

Characteristics considered unacceptable in the French breed standard:

  • Any pigmentation or black spots on muzzle, black or white hairs anywhere on the coat, particularly in the ears, at the end of the tail and around the muzzle.
  • White hairs anywhere.
  • An eliminating count of less than five for any of the different breed standard points.
  • A difficult or vicious disposition (tranquilising is forbidden).
  • Any obvious physical malformation.

The French Limousin breed standard is applied by international breed associations in slightly different forms. These range from mandatory compliance before an animal can be recorded in a country's herd book (mainly European countries) to voluntary application in others. For example, in Belgium, application of its breed standard mirrors in most detail the French use, and in the UK, compliance with its version of the Limousin breed standard is required by the UK breed association's bye-laws.

The USA, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand breed associations do not define a breed standard in their regulations, and application of any standard is voluntary. The only requirement for registration as a Fullblood in both North American herd book registers is that ancestors should have "full French ancestry", or trace directly to the "Herd Book Limousin in France". In Australia and New Zealand the French Pure herd book classification requires that animals carry "100% Pure French genetics". USA, Australian and New Zealand breed association regulations also allow graded up animals to be registered in their herd books as purebreds without a requirement to comply with a minimum French Limousin content. Grading up using these purebreds over base or lower grade animals has resulted in the gradual reduction in the French Limousin content of some purebreds, and an observable divergence from the French breed standard. The Canadian breed association by regulation prevents loss of French Limousin content from its registered purebreds by requiring that they "contain 90% or more Limousin blood".

In the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, breed development and selection is influenced principally by performance recording and genetic selection.

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