Italian Mediterranean Buffalo

The Italian Mediterranean buffalo is of the River sub-type of water buffalo. It is also known as Bufala Mediterranea Italiana.

As the name suggests, it is actually an Italian water buffalo breed. It is similar to the buffalo breeds of Romania, Hungary and the Balkan countries.

Currently the Italian Mediterranean buffalo breed is found throughout Italy, principally Campania.

It is the only indigenous water buffalo breed in Italy. The breed was officially recognized in the year of 2000, but a herdbook was opened in 1980.

The buffalo may have been introduced into Italy in Roman times, or during the Barbarian invasions of the Italian peninsula.

A national association of buffalo breeders, the Associazione Nazionale Allevatori Specie Bufalina was formed in 1979, and a genealogical herd-book for the buffalo was opened in the following year. However, Read some more information about this buffalo breed below.

Italian Mediterranean Buffalo Physical Characteristics

The Italian Mediterranean buffalo is a medium sized animal. They have dark slate-grey colored skin with black hair. Their average body height is between 135 and 143 cm.

Average live body weight of the mature bulls is between 500 and 600 kg, but they can reach as much as 800 kg live body weight. And the mature females can weight between 300 and 450 kg live body weight, but they can reach up to 650 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.

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The Italian Mediterranean buffaloes are used for both meat and milk production. Previously they were used as draught animals.

Special Notes

The Italian Mediterranean buffaloes are very hardy and strong animals. They were widely used as a draught animal in the past.

Currently they are used mainly for milk and meat production. They are raised and selectively bred mainly for the production of the buffalo milk used to make buffalo mozzarella.

Other dairy products including burrata, caciotta di bufala, ricotta di bufala, scamorza di bufala, stracchino di bufala, stracciatella di bufala and yoghurt are also made from the milk.

Lactation of the Italian Mediterranean buffalo lasts for on average 277 days, and generally yields 1600-1800 kg of milk. Yields of 2000-3000 kg per lactation are not uncommon. Average fat content in the milk is about 7.92 percent.

The buffaloes are butchered for both fresh meat and for preserved meat products such as bresaola di bufalo. However, review full breed profile of the Italian Mediterranean buffalo in the following table.

Breed NameItalian Mediterranean
Other NameAlso known as Bufala Mediterranea Italiana
Breed PurposeMilk, meat, and previously used as a draught animal
Special NotesVery strong and hardy animals, used widely as a draught animal in the past, currently used for both meat and milk production, milk is used for making different types of milk products, milk is of high quality containing around 7.92 percent fat content, meat is also good
Breed SizeMedium
BullsBetween 500 and 600 kg
CowsBetween 300 and 450 kg
Climate ToleranceNative climates
Country/Place of OriginItaly

Italian Mediterranean Buffalo Facts

Here are some facts about this buffalo breed:

  1. The Italian Mediterranean buffalo, also known as the Italian buffalo or the Italian Mediterranean water buffalo, is a domesticated water buffalo breed.
  2. It is native to Italy and is predominantly found in the southern part of the country, particularly in the Campania region.
  3. Italian Mediterranean buffalo are known for their high milk production, which is used to make mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and other dairy products.
  4. The milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalo is known for its high protein and fat content, which makes it ideal for cheese-making.
  5. Italian Mediterranean buffalo are larger than their Asian counterparts, with an average weight of 900 to 1200 kilograms for males and 600 to 800 kilograms for females.
  6. The breed has a distinctive appearance, with a large, curved horn and a deep, broad chest.
  7. Italian Mediterranean buffalo are herbivores and feed on a variety of grasses and other vegetation.
  8. The breed has been traditionally used for plowing fields and pulling carts, but these roles have largely been replaced by machinery in modern times.
  9. The Italian Mediterranean buffalo has a docile temperament and is well-suited to living in a domesticated environment.
  10. The breed is well-adapted to living in wetlands and is able to swim and traverse through marshy areas with ease.
  11. Italian Mediterranean buffalo are highly valued in Italy for their milk, and many farmers have dedicated their lives to raising and caring for these animals.
  12. The breed has been recognized by the Italian government as a protected designation of origin (PDO) product, which means that only mozzarella cheese made from the milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalo raised in certain areas of Italy can be labeled as such.
  13. Italian Mediterranean buffalo are an important part of the Italian economy, with the dairy industry generating significant revenue for farmers and businesses.
  14. The breed is also popular with tourists, who can visit farms and dairies to learn about the cheese-making process and sample the delicious products.
  15. Italian Mediterranean buffalo milk is high in calcium and other nutrients, making it a healthy alternative to cow’s milk.
  16. The breed has been exported to other parts of the world, including countries like Brazil, Australia, and Egypt.
  17. The Italian Mediterranean buffalo is listed as a “minority breed” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, meaning that it is at risk of becoming extinct.
  18. Efforts are underway to preserve the breed, including through breeding programs and genetic conservation.
  19. Italian Mediterranean buffalo are a symbol of Italian culture and cuisine, and are featured prominently in many traditional dishes and recipes.
  20. The breed has a rich history and cultural significance, and has been celebrated in art, literature, and music throughout the centuries.
  21. Italian Mediterranean buffalo are social animals and typically live in groups, with females forming tight-knit family units and males living separately.
  22. The breed is known for its hardiness and adaptability, which has allowed it to thrive in different environments and climatic conditions.
  23. Italian Mediterranean buffalo are able to produce milk year-round, with peak lactation occurring in the summer months.
  24. The milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalo is used not only for cheese-making, but also for the production of other dairy products such as yogurt, butter, and ice cream.
  25. The breed has been used in the production of meat, but this is less common than milk production due to the high value of the milk.
  26. Italian Mediterranean buffalo are known for their longevity, with some individuals living up to 20 years.
  27. The breed has been the subject of scientific research, with studies exploring the genetics, physiology, and behavior of Italian Mediterranean buffalo.
  28. The Italian Mediterranean buffalo is closely related to the Indian water buffalo, which is a separate subspecies of water buffalo.
  29. The breeding of Italian Mediterranean buffalo is tightly regulated by the Italian government, with strict guidelines in place to ensure the health and welfare of the animals.
  30. Italian Mediterranean buffalo have played a role in Italian folklore and mythology, with stories and legends featuring these majestic animals.

Tips for Caring Italian Mediterranean Buffalo

Here are some useful tips for caring Italian Mediterranean Buffalo:

  1. Provide adequate space for your buffalo to move around comfortably.
  2. Provide clean and fresh water at all times.
  3. Feed your buffalo a balanced diet consisting of hay, grains, and pasture grasses.
  4. Ensure that the buffalo have access to shade during hot weather.
  5. Provide shelter during the winter months to protect them from the cold.
  6. Clean their living quarters regularly to prevent the buildup of waste and bacteria.
  7. Handle your buffalo gently to avoid stressing them.
  8. Ensure that the buffalo are regularly vaccinated and dewormed.
  9. Provide them with appropriate medical care when needed.
  10. Monitor their behavior and health regularly to detect any problems early on.
  11. Train your buffalo to respond to basic commands.
  12. Use a proper milking machine to extract milk from the buffalo.
  13. Milk your buffalo regularly to maintain their health and milk production.
  14. Ensure that the milking process is hygienic and sanitary.
  15. Store the milk properly to prevent spoilage.
  16. Keep the milk at the correct temperature to maintain its quality.
  17. Practice good hygiene when handling the milk.
  18. Use the milk to make cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products.
  19. Market your dairy products to potential customers.
  20. Maintain accurate records of your buffalo’s health, milk production, and other important information.
  21. Join a local buffalo breeders’ association to stay informed about the latest developments in buffalo farming.
  22. Attend workshops and seminars on buffalo farming to learn more about best practices.
  23. Build good relationships with your customers and suppliers to foster trust and loyalty.

1 thought on “Italian Mediterranean Buffalo”

  1. Awesome information, we had no idea where the real mozzarella came from, we always assumed it was just farm dairy cows. What a surprise that we only learned with a trip to Italy via online video of Stanley Tucci learning the origins of his lineage.

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