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The Charolais originated in west-central to southeastern France, in the old French provinces of Charolles and neighbouring Nievre. The exact origins of the Charolais are not known but it is thought that they have been developed from cattle found in the area. Legend has it that white cattle were first noticed in the region as early as 878 A.D., and by the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were popular in French markets, especially at Lyon and Villefranche. Selection developed a white breed of cattle which, like other cattle of continental Europe, were used for draft, milk and meat.

The cattle were generally confined to the area in which they originated until the French Revolution. But, in 1773, Claude Mathieu, a farmer and cattle producers from the Charolles region, moved to the Nievre province, taking his herd of white cattle with him. The breed flourished there, so much so that the improved cattle were known more widely as Nivemais cattle for a time than by their original name of Charolais.

One of the early influential herds in the region was started in 1840 by the Count Charles de Bouille. His selective breeding led him to set up a herd book in 1864 for the breed at Villars near the village of Magny-Cours. Breeders in the Charolles vicinity established a herd book in 1882. The two societies merged in 1919, with the older organisation holding the records of the later group into their headquarters at Nevers, the capital of the Nievre province.   more...

Latest Charolais Breed News

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Breeding Data Helping Charolais Calves
UK – Charolais cattle have bucked a trend by being one of the major beef breeds to show improvements in calving ease and growth...
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Charolais Popular at Northern Irish Sale
NORTHERN IRELAND - The recent Dungannon bull sale reported high demand for Charolais bulls with 29 sales averaging £3067 and...
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Charolais Spring Sales Strong Once More
UK, SCOTLAND - Charolais has again taken the lead at the UK's spring sales, with a major Scottish sale topping at 18,000 guineas....

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