Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Sayaguesa bulls arrived at Velebit

The Croatian Velebit is home to a herd of Boskarin cows owned by the Tauros Project. Boskarin are cattle of the Steppe-type, with influence of Podolica, Maremmana and Chianina. They lack, typically for the Steppe-type cattle group, the red pigment in their coat colour, have horns varying in size from medium- to large-sized, are upright and varying curvature (tending to the lyre-shaped type of Gray cattle). The skull seems to be either longish or "normal", but not paedomorphic. I am basing my description of their looks on the photos on the web. 

Sayaguesa will add the necessary amount of red (and black) pigment, and also turn the horns forwards. The long snout of Sayaguesa is positive as well of course. Perhaps there will be some nicely aurochs-like individuals in the second generation (first-generation animals might look good too, but these are genetically irrelevant). Second generation means that we will have to wait for about 3 years until they are born (roughly one year until the first generation is born, depending on when the bull first covers the cows), plus another 2 years until - at the earliest - the first young cows are ready to be inseminated by the bulls. Then, another 9 months pregnancy + 2 years at least until you can get an idea how the crossbreeds will work work out. This makes eight years, so we will have to be patient. 


  1. Hi,

    I wonder why they all breed with Steppe Cattle? In my opinion they are not usefull, for breeding back the auerochs. The coat is to greyish, the horns are to lyralike, only the trump may be usefull. There are so beautyfull Heck-Cattles (like Island of Wörth), why not use them? And breed them for more auerochs look a like.

    Sometimes I think, there are so much breeders and all of them are looking for their on way. But not looking what the others doo.

    There are so beautyfull old races in Spain and Italy, cross them with Lidia (to get more size) and then select.

    1. Good question. Horn size is not a good argument for Steppe-type cattle, because Heck cattle, Barrosa or Watussi have large horns too and a way better curvature. Their size isn't that amazing either, many of them are not larger than Sayaguesa (although there are some really large individuals too). Chianina usually is the largest breed, but their horns and colour are problematic as well of course. Another argument would be the skull shape, but not all Maremmana, Podolica or Boskarin have an elongated head, while Sayaguesa for example always has. The body shape and proportions of many are good, but so is that of a number of other primitive breeds.
      One reason that probably makes them useful is their very good resistance to cold and to scarce food.
      But optically, yes, they cause a lot of undesired traits in any breeding-back breeds.

      BTW, Lidia are not large at all, they are in fact as large or smaller than Heck catt.e

  2. Hi, i don't know if you know about this video but i thought it might interest you. I believe some of the sayaguesa cattle that are used in breeding back are sourced from this herd. Anyways, enjoy the vid :-). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wf4lI2wUiM

    1. Thank you! Those Sayaguesa are indeed very beautiful, much better than most Heck herds. I think you are right, those herd should be from the Veluwe and the Tauros Project did receive individuals from there IIRC, and I think the Lippeaue too.