Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science
Breeds of Livestock - Asturian Valley Cattle
Also known by: Asturiana de los Valles, Carreñana, Asturiana Occidental
The Asturian Valley is a local Spanish beef breed of enormous foraging ability and good maternal qualities reared in extensive conditions in the southwest of the "Principado de Asturias" in the North of Spain.
This breed had a very large population in the ancient times, but the introduction of more specialized European breeds, caused a gradual and general decrease in the number of pure breed individuals along the present century in a fast absorption process. However, a slight increase in the number of registered animals took place in the eighties, and this tendency continues. Now the breed is expanding not only in number of individuals but also geographically, from its traditional distribution area in the southwest of Asturias towards the north of Leon, Galicia and Cantabria.
Asturian Valley have a straight profile, chestnut coats with tones ranging from very pale yellow in the lightest coats of the females to a reddish tone, with discolored cream in the inner part of the extremities and around the snout and black in the end and front of the extremities. In males, the coat is generally darker and more so at the back of the head, neck and dewlap, bottom of the abdomen and in the feet, where the color is completely black. Light colored coats are rare. Always black, the tone of the mucus membranes is typical of the breed, as is a more or less marked black spot under the eyes, and at the end of the tail, round the eyes and hoofs. The horn is white but its end is black.
Different coats constitute the most frequent defects, disqualifying for the Herdbook, specially those which tend to gray as it is considered evidence of presence of Brown Swiss blood. Similarly, animals with white spots, or tones different from the slate black in the mucous membranes and end of the tail or other serious morphological defects shall not be included in the Herdbook.
Asturian Valley cows are good mothers, calve with ease, show high fertility and wean large, well-shaped calves. Surprisingly for those not used to them, they are very calm animals, which makes handling very easy. Moreover, they are rustic animals which manage well in difficult lands and endure extreme temperatures well.
Reference:Alfonso Villa, SpainPhotographs:Alfonso Villa, Spain