On monday this week, Gerard vanne Smeed posted a blog article with many photos of the Tauros cattle from Kettingdijk in the Netherlands. Also with the link to the flickR page for more photos. It was awesome to the so many photos of a large Tauros cattle herd, as it is pretty hard to find good photos of the project on the web.
The herd consists of crossbreeds and possibly also pure individuals of Limia and maybe also Maremmana as well as a pure Maronesa bull. The influence of Highland cattle still shows in a number of individuals that have the brindle coat colour pattern (see here or here for example). The Highland influence also shows in the colour and horns of this cow. Some individuals could easily be sold as Heck cattle, such as this bull or these cows. Interestingly, one bull is very pale-coloured, perhaps a combination of Maremmana and Highland colour alleles. There are also bulls with a correct colour such as this one. The adult bull on this photo also looks nice. Concerning the sexual dimorphism, there are lightly coloured cows but also many dark cows, bulls can be wholly black but about the half seems to have a colour saddle. So the sexual dichromatism is not very marked in the herd. Also, the bulls seem to be barely larger than the cows, which might be because they are not fully grown yet. All of the bulls seem to have a hump, which is good. The bulls are muscular overall, they just need longer legs. If I had to rank these Tauros cattle, I would say they are somewhere between Heck cattle and Taurus cattle.
The Tauros Programme seems to have a different approach to the breeding. While most "breeding-back" projects breed by selecting a chief bull and selecting out individuals that do not fit the standards, the Tauros Programme seemingly let the cattle breed for themselves with many bulls in one herd, with barely any selection (the fact that there are still brindle individuals suggests to me that no selection has taken place yet, as this trait is dominant and easy to select out). Maybe the selection phase has not started yet. I think it is good that the cattle have bull competition in their breeding, as this enables natural selection, but I think this phase is too early for that. It will be very difficult to raise the quality* of the herds this way, except if all bulls were quality bulls. Again, maybe the selective breeding phase has not started yet and they will start selective breeding in the next months or years.
*By quality I mean the resemblance to the aurochs in its morphological traits, not the surviving capacity, behaviour or other traits.