Maronesa Cattle

The Maronesa cattle are a primitive breed of cattle from the Trás-os-Montes region in Portugal. The breed closely resembles in several features to the extinct aurochs, the wild ancestor of domestic cattle.

The name of the breed came from the Mountains in Portugal, Serra do Marão, which rise to approximately 4648 feet.

According to the genetic evidence it is very different from other Iberian cattle. And it is not a crossbreed of other cattle breeds like Barrosa or Mirandesa cattle.

The breed region is circumscribed almost exclusively to the Northern Portugal in Vila real district. And there is also a small herd in the Netherlands being used in the TaurOs Project since 2012. Read more information about breed below.

Maronesa Cattle Characteristics

Maronesa cattle are medium sized animals. Bulls and cows are different in size. The bulls are generally much larger than the cows and are of dark brown to black in color. They bear a light eel stripe and a lightly colored mouth.

Head of the bulls is large and often has frizzy hair on the front of the head. Color of the front of the head varies from dark brown to orange. Both bulls and cows generally have horns, and their horns are thick and swung forwards.

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Body of the bulls is well-muscled and has a swung backline because of the strongly pronounced shoulder- and neck musculature. On the other hand, the cows are relatively more gracile than the bulls.

The cows are often lighter in color than the bulls (although some cows have a dark color as well). Udders of the cows is hairy and small to medium in size. They have small to moderately developed dewlap. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


The Maronesa cattle are multi-purpose animals. They are used for milk and meat production, and also used as draught animals.

Special Notes

Maronesa cattle are a very hardy breed, and they are well suited to the harsh conditions. They are able to live without any human interference and also are capable of defending against predators like wolves.

Selection within the population of this breed is used to increase primitive traits found in the Aurochs. Because of the strong resemblance of the Maronesa with its wild ancestor, no crossbreeding is taking place. However, review full breed profile of the Maronesa cattle in the following chart.

Breed NameMaronesa
Other NameNone
Breed PurposeMilk, meat also draught
Special NotesStrong, hardy, well adapted to harsh conditions
Breed SizeMedium
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
Coat ColorDark brown to black
Milk YieldAverage
Country/Place of OriginPortugal

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