Pirenaica Cattle

The Pirenaica cattle are a breed of domestic cattle which is mainly used for meat production purposes. It is indigenous to the Pyreness of north-eastern Spain.

Currently the breed is present in much of the northern part of Spain, but mainly distributed in the autonomous communities of Navarre and the Basque Country.

Exact origins of the Pirenaica cattle are uncertain. It was the predominant breed of cattle of northern Spain in the past.

A herdbook was opened for the breed in Gipuzkoa in 1905 which was the first of it’s kind in Spain. A herdbook was also opened in Navarre in 1925.

The Pirenaica cattle breed came close to extinction in 20th century. And it had disappeared from the Basque Country in 1974, with the exception of about 40 head in Gipuzkoa.

And about 1500 head remained in Navarre, of which about 1000 were in the valley of Aezkoa. Now the number of the breed has increased and it is not at risk.

The Pirenaica cattle breed is classified among the “autochthonous breeds in development” by the Ministerio de Agricultura, AlimentaciĆ³n y Medio Ambiente, the Spanish ministry of agriculture, and thus not at risk of extinction.

Currently the breed is mainly distributed in the northern part of Spain (northern Catalonia). Read more information about the breed below.

Table of Contents

Pirenaica Cattle Characteristics

Pirenaica cattle are medium sized animals with wheaten colored coat. Both bulls and cows usually have horns. Average height of the Pirenaica cows is about 132 cm at the withers, and about 150 cm for the bulls.

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The bulls on average weight about 800 kg. And average body weight of the cows is about 525 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


The Pirenaica cattle breed was a triple-purpose animal in the past, and used as a draught animal and for milk and meat production. Currently the breed is mainly used for meat production. But sometimes the oxen may be used in the traditional rural sport of arrastre de piedra or stone-dragging.

Special Notes

Pirenaica cattle are well adapted to the mountainous terrain and humid climate of the northern part of Spain. They were used as a triple-purpose breed in the past, but now are being used mainly for meat production.

Total number of the breed is gradually increasing and it is not now at risk. Total population of the breed was recorded as 40,026 at the end of 2014 (of which 34,806 were cow and 5,220 were bull). However, review full breed profile of the Pirenaica cattle in the following chart.

Breed NamePirenaica
Other NameBasque: Behi-gorri
Breed PurposeMainly meat
Special NotesStrong, hardy, well adapted to the mountainous terrain and humid climate of the northern Spain
Breed SizeMedium
BullsAbout 800 kg
CowsAbout 525 kg
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
Coat ColorWheaten
Milk YieldMedium
Country/Place of OriginSpain

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