Thursday, 9 February 2017

Some more removed Lippeaue individuals

I already did a similar post in 2016. It was on old or removed Taurus cattle from the Lippeaue herd in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. I used a photo archive and stock list I was provided during my last visit in 2015 to pick out interesting individuals and presented them in the blog post. I covered the herd a lot already, but I found some more interesting individuals that I do not want to keep from you. These cross products can be interesting in a number of ways: either due to their breed combination, what they tell us about their parents or simply because of their looks. I hope you enjoy. All photos are curtesy of Matthias Scharf from the ABU, so please do not replicate without permission. 
84 025

This nameless bull was the son of Luca (Heck x Chianina) and Loxia (Luca x Sayaguesa). He looked a bit like a black version of his father-grandfather. His correct colour made him very beautiful to look at, although the other traits were not that convincing to me. He is being offered on the VFA’s sale page for a long time now, so some of you might already know him, but is not present in the herd since 2013 at least.

84 037

This bull has an interesting aspect. He is the son of Lombriz (50% Sayaguesa, 50% Heck x Chianina) and Lerida (Heck x Sayaguesa). The legs seem a bit short, and the spine is somewhat hanging (a trait that Sayaguesa often unfortunately have), but the overall impression on me is appealing – there are, however, better Lippeaue bulls and that is why it seemingly was removed.

92 576

This bull is the son of Churro, the Sayaguesa bull, and Lerida. Despite being three quarters, it has a reddish saddle, which is untypical for a bull with such a high portion of Sayaguesa. The left horn seemingly got injured.


This cow is the daughter of Lucio and Ludovica, thus (Heck x Sayaguesa) x (Heck x Chianina) and had a quite good aspect – horn shape and size good, colour accurate, body and proportions good. This cow seems just fine to me, but did not stay that long in the herd. Perhaps her behaviour was undesirable.

Lisette was the daughter of Loco and Lerida, therefore was (Heck x Lidia) x (Heck x Sayaguesa). Now this cow looked really, really good. Her horn curvature was good, albeit a bit asymmetric, the face was elongated and colour and proportions perfect. This the Taurus cow that in my view had the best body shape of all, with a slender waist and a detectable hump (a trait that is comparably rare even in less-derived cattle). She lived in Klostermersch-Süd from 2005 to 2010 and left two descendants, of which none left a track in the current population. This cow looked really good to me – if the horns would have been a bit larger and more intensively curved, I would have been satisfied to 100% from the breeding perspective. However, she had some small white spots in the sternal region and I do not know anything about her behaviour. Perhaps it was problematic due to her quarter Lidia ancestry.

92 566 

This bull immediately got my interest – I must have overlooked it when I was looking for individuals of that combination in the past. It was a Sayaguesa x Chianina bull that stayed in the herd until the age of a bit more than two years (2010-2012). It is very interesting to see a bull of that combination at this age, and also perfectly wild type coloured with almost no saddle. This is the second bull of this combination that I know of with a dark colour, while cows of this combination tend to be of a beige colour (see here and here; there is one bull that resulted in a very light grey colour for whatever reason), which might indicate that Chianina has retained sexual dichromatism to a certain degree, masked under the colour dilution factors.
Of course the horns of this bull are very short, which is to b expected from this combination. But it is not so much what this particular F1 bull looks like that captures my enthusiasm about this combination, but the potential it bears if it would have been mated to the two Sayaguesa x Chinina cows (here and here) in the Lippeaue. The horn size probably would not end up spectacular, but anything else has the potential to become rather astonishing: size, body shape/proportions, skull shape, correct colour with dimorphism to some degree, and even horn curvature has potential. That’s why I was very much looking forward to see the Sayaguesa-Chianina cross herd planned by the Auerrindprojekt, which was not yet put into practise due to the death of the bull Johnny.   


This cow was the daughter of the Sayaguesa x Heck bull Lucio and the Chianina cow Eloisa. I included her here because of her very slender, long-legged build and the correct, non-diluted colour. It is interesting that some half-Chianina cows and bulls are either completely wild type coloured, white/light grey or something inbetween. Chianina is most likely always homozygous for the at least two or maybe three colour dilution genes, so it is probably not the varying factor. Perhaps it is the Heck cattle influence: the Heck parents may be carry one or two of the dilution factors on occasion, in which case the offspring is (partly) of a diluted colour then. The Heck bull Lancelot, for example, had a quite diluted coat colour. Mator might also have passed on dilution alleles, as some of its offspring and its Dutch origin suggests.
Leonora was removed in 2007 or 2008, perhaps because of her meagre horns.


Lolaf was the son of Pablo and Lila – Pablo is a beautiful but rather hefty Heck x Sayaguesa bull, Lila is/was a cow with a quarter Lidia in her genealogy. So this bull was one eighth Lidia, and I think it shows in its face and somehow columnar trunk – yes, of course Lidia is probably the most athletically built taurine breed, but aging bulls develop a rather heavy, columnar trunk. Crossbred bulls, although being somewhat more muscular, have this columnar trunk already at young age as far as I can tell from the photos.  


Luke was three quarters Heck, one quarter Lidia. He seemingly has at least one dilution factor (either homozygous or heterozygous), and since both Lancelot and Mator are his grandfathers it might not be that surprising.

84 562

This cow is interesting because it is the daughter of Luca and a Tudanca cow that was kept in the Hellinghauser Mersch herd for a short time. She has a grey diluted coat, and the chance for her getting a diluted coat was quite high, as Tudanca is homozygous for at least one kind of dilution, and Luca perhaps was too due to him being half Lancelot and half Chianina.

This cow seemingly was not kept for long and did not leave a track in the population.


  1. Hi,
    one question: why is the color soooo important?

    That cows should not be white because it leads to more eye diseases, ok.
    That some colors are a better targets for carnivores, especially as calves, ok.
    That horns are important because they have a function, ok.
    That size matters for ecological reasons, ok.
    But a few spots, or a bit a diluted coat color, who cares?

    The selection of a breed replacing (or re-taking) the aurochs place in the european ecosystems would be much faster if the 70% (wild guess) of the animals discarded for cosmetic reasons were assessed for the other traits, both behavioural and phenotypical

    Future generations can still be selected for color later on if it is important for zoos to have "perfect" looking animals.

    Do I miss something?

    1. No herd discards "70%" or a majority of its animals. It is just that the Lippeaue does not have the space for more than 100 individuals, it should be somewhere between 80-100, so a certain number of individuals has to be removed each year. And when doing so, one can take the chance and select out animals with undesired traits.
      It is not that there is not enough cattle for the space of Europe's natural landscapes, actually it is more the other way round.