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Limousin Cows – Breed Profile, Characteristics and Facts


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If you want to find out everything there is to know about Limousin cows we’ve got all of the information you need.

In this short yet concise article we will go over the breed profile, its main characteristics, numerous uses and whether or not you should opt for them or not.

So, let’s not waste any more time and instead hop right into everything you could ever want to know about Limousin cows, starting off with the basics:

Limousin Cattle Origins and History 

Limousin Cattle Origins
British Limousin Cattle Society / facebook.com

We can’t say for sure when the first Limousin cows came into being, and for good reason too.

We have come across several ancient cave drawings that seem to depict this breed as far back as 20,000 years ago.

These paintings were discovered in the Lascaux Caves near Montignac, France, and the cows that are depicted here are very similar to the Limousin cats we see today.

With that being said, the French Limousin cow breed was especially popular in the Western Massif Central within France.

Over there, the breed had to endure a very rainy and harsh environment coupled with a deprived granite earth.

This made it very difficult to cultivate field crops, and as such, animal farming was out of the question for a lot of people.

Still, the people that did choose to take on this challenge ended up having to deal with a lot of hardships, which would eventually help the Limousin cow breed evolve exponentially.

The main difference that came out of this time period was the breed’s overall toughness.

Archies Limousins
Archies Limousins / facebook.com

Even to this day, Limousin cows are considered to be amongst the hardiest cows you could go for. Not only that but they are also known for exhibiting the following traits:

  • Their flexibility
  • Their well-being
  • Their high quality beef

Interestingly enough, the main reason as to why this breed is so unique is the fact that it was hidden far away from the rest of the world.

The lack of natural reserves here made it impossible for the farmers to breed their cows with any other breeds.

As such, this breed managed to retain its authenticity over the years, so their toughness was never “bred out” of them by accident.

Later on down the line, the Limousin cattle became quite popular for two main purposes:

  • Manual labor animals
  • Beef production

When it came to the manual labor part, very few other cow breeds could rival the Limousin cow back in the day.

Limousin cattle Grazing
Photo By Rob Steward / stock.adobe.com

These cows made quite a name for themselves as beasts of work, to the point where this was actually the main reason as to why they were bought then.

Still, that’s not to say that this was the only reason as to why they were popular.

In fact, these cows are also renowned for their beef quality. The funny thing about this is that back in the day, they were a working meat source.

But as the years passed and farmers realized the high quality of their beef, they quickly became a highly specialized beef source for many.

This is why the Limousin cow breed also became known as the “butcher’s animal” in France.

Limousin Cows’ Appearance

Limousin Cows’ Appearance
NI Limousin Cattle Club / facebook.com

When it comes to their general appearance, this is what you should know about the Limousin cow breed:

  • Their body is very bulky
  • They’re very lean
  • They have a strong-boned build

As far as their size is concerned, most females will weigh in at around 650kg or 1430lbs each while the males on the other hand will easily top out at 1,000kg or 2,200lbs each.

They sport a pretty small head size and their body is rather compact with a broad temple. Their neck is just as small but their muzzle is quite wide.

Limousin cow
Photo By yvonne / stock.adobe.com

For the most part, they sport a golden-red coat with dimmer shades in the following areas around their body:

  • Under the stomach
  • The inner thighs
  • Around the muzzle and the eyes
  • At the end of the tail

At the same time, we should mention here that their skin does not have any pigmentation to it, so if your Limousin cow does have that feature, they are not a purebred Limousin.

Limousin cows may also have black heredities. These cows are special in that they display a color distinction of their own.

The calves are born either brown or light fawn, and as they grow older that gradually changes to a black coat. Adult black cows may also be streaked with brown hairs across their coats.

The horns of the Limousin cows are yellow at the bottom, and as you get closer and closer to the tips, they’ll also gradually get darker and darker.

These horns are straight and as you can see, they curl forwards and upwards.

Limousin Cows Statistics

Limousin Cows Statistics

The Limousin cow breed is known as an early-growing species that can easily provide you with the lean tender beef that is required by stores and suppliers.

Nowadays they are referred to as the carcass species, for the following reasons:

  • They offer you a large amount of beef with a small amount of bone and fat
  • They have a remarkable high meat yield of 73.3%

What’s impressive to note here is that according to a study that was conducted recently into beef manufacturing, 98% of the carcasses of suckled three-quarter breed Limousin cattle calves have a -U or higher ratings.

Another thing to keep a note of when it comes to the Limousin cows is the fact that their beef quality also remains high in quality regardless of when you butcher them.

Thanks to this, the Limousin cows assure a decent output at a much lower price.

The bulls here are also worth mentioning as they are very fertile, and their good genes are easily passed on to their calves, regardless of the female’s breed.

Limousin Cow Herd
Kivlean Limousin Beef Cattle / facebook.com

The calves are also very small at birth, which works out in their favor as this guarantees an easy birth for the mothers.

The Limousin cows are also known for consuming any and all quality feed, which makes them quite efficient regardless of your budget.

Commercial manufacturers have also stated the following regarding Limousin crossbreeds:

  • They have a significant higher weight gain per kg of food eaten over any other cow breed
  • These cows also do very well on a smaller area of land

Limousin-Holstein Friesian Cross Breeds Versus Purebred Limousin Cows

Limousin-Holstein Friesian Cross Breeds Versus Purebred Limousin Cows
Photo by Pascvii / pixabay.com

As mentioned previously, when crossbreeding Limousin cows, it’s important to note that only their best traits are passed onto their offspring.

That being said, this crossbreeding is actually very popular because it can really help perfect the quality of the beef, making it better suited for the commercial meat production.

At the same time, crossing them with Holstein Friesian cows will result in their three-quarter offspring having carcasses of comparable value and quality to the pure cattle breeds.

The purebred Limousin cattle females are especially popular for the following reasons:

  • They make for great suckler cows
  • They serve as a practical marketable option for farmers that prefer closed herds
  • They’re highly fertile
  • They have a strong milking capacity
  • Birthing is easy for them, and there are rarely any complications

With that being said, crossbreeding shouldn’t be completely out of the question either, as it guarantees active calves that carry the best qualities of the Limousin cow breed.

The Main Uses of the Limousin Cows

Limousin cattle uses

When it comes to their general role on your farm, these are the main reasons as to why anyone would want to raise Limousin cows:

  • Their beef production
  • Their milk production
  • Their suckler role
  • Crossbreeding

Limousin Beef Quality and Demand

Limousin Beef Quality
Limousin Cattle Breeders Southern Africa / facebook.com

The one thing we can safely say about the beef market is that no matter what happens in this world, the prices will never fully drop down altogether.

This is not to say that certain beef won’t outshine other beef, but luckily you won’t ever have to worry about Limousin beef dropping down anytime soon.

Here is what you should know about the Limousin cows as far as their beef is concerned:

  • Their feed efficiency is like no other
  • They eat less than other cows of the same size
  • Their beef is considered to be juicier and more delicious than most other commercial breeds’

If you do decide to raise your cows for their beef, you should also know that their offspring will garner a decent price at any stage of their life.

Limousin cattle
Photo By PHOTOLIFESTYLE / stock.adobe.com

Limousin cattle and Angus crossbreeds are also especially popular for the following reasons:

  • They produce a lot of beef
  • That beef has a lot of marbling to it
  • It makes their meat even more tender and tasty

Another reason as to why they are so beloved on the market is their fortified immunity.

Because of this, they very rarely end up with any serious bovine disorders, so you can expect to have less losses over the years than you would with any other breed or crossbreed.

The Limousin beef is also referred to as first-rate meat. As such, it fetches you a nice price on most marketplaces as they are listed off as premium with the correct fat percentage and high kill-out proportions.

Last but not least we would like to mention the fact that these cows are extremely effective feed converters, so they require less investment but they yearn higher profits at the same time.

Limousin Milk Quality and Demand

Limousin Cattle Milk Quality

The Limousin cattle may be an incredible choice when it comes to their beef production, but as far as their milk production is concerned, they really just fall flat on their head.

Still, we should mention here how even though their milk production isn’t all that great, the Limousin cow breed has made a name for itself on the multipurpose market.

What this means is that their beef is so incredible, that many dairy farmers have also started to raise limousine cows for beef and dairy purposes.

Limousin Cows as Herd Sucklers

Limousin Cows as Herd Sucklers

Limousin cattle are known for being mid-sized cows that feature the following traits:

  • Unique maternal instincts
  • Increased fertility
  • Increased calving capabilities
  • Milk production
  • High-quality meat production

While we did mention how their milk production is not exactly stellar, with them barely being able to produce 8kg of milk per day at most, they can still use that milk for their calves.

At the same time, these cows will also provide you with higher eat quality and the ability to give birth to more high-quality meat animals like themselves.

On top of that, Limousin cows are especially popular for suckler farms for the following reasons:

  • Easy calving
  • Low-maintenance
  • High performance
  • High yield
  • Increased progeny
Limousin calf
Photo By Budimir Jevtic / stock.adobe.com

On top of that, Limousin cows are also known for the following reasons:

  • They provide woth easy calving with active offspring
  • They don’t need a lot of help from the farmers before and after birth
  • They require less vet visits because of their toughness
  • They provide more live muscular calves which can then be sold off easier

Last but not least, we should mention here how in order to make a profit on a suckler farm, you need to always be ready to sell your wares.

This is where Limousin cows shine, as they can easily be sold as weanings with cows being reserved as breeding substitutes which can either be sold to be butchered or to be bred with a different cow or bull.

Limousin Crossbreeding

Limousin Crossbreeding
Photo By yvonne / stock.adobe.com

Crossbreeding Limousin cows is actually a very profitable business practice that does not seem to be slowing down in profits anytime soon.

Since this breed has been around for so many years, it shouldn’t surprise you that it also developed quite a handful of impressive traits.

Most notably, crossbreeding Limousin cattle with other cows will lead to the following traits being passed onto their offspring:

  • They will have improved stamina
  • The hybrids will have a larger frame and higher quality meat
  • Their feed conversion will be enhanced exponentially

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Raising Limousin Cows

Limousin Cattle Breeders
Limousin Cattle Breeders Southern Africa / facebook.com

As you can expect from most any breed out there, Limousin cows come with their own share of pros and cons.

As far as their advantages are concerned, this is what you should expect from them:

  • They can acclimatize to most any climate whatsoever, including really cold and wet environments as long as they have a proper shelter to hide behind
  • Their feed efficiency is legendary to say the least
  • They have very long lifespans, with most of them being able to live past 8 years with ease
  • Both the males and the females are very fertile
  • They very rarely have any complications during the birthing process
  • They have very high calf activity
  • Their carcass is notably bulky and high-yielding
  • Thanks to their feed efficiency and the lesser number of vet visits you’ll have to undertake; Limousin cows are considered to be cost effective animals too
  • Their meat is lean, juicy and full of marbling which makes it highly marketable
Limousin Cow heifers
Fullblood Limousin of America / facebook.com

As you can expect from any breed whatsoever though, Limousin cows also come with their fair share of disadvantages, including the following:

  • They are aggressive by nature and they have also been known to hit other people out of frustration
  • Their milk production is sub-par
  • They don’t do well with other breeds as they try to dominate them most of the time which often times results in one of them getting hurt


As you can see here, raising Limousin cattle has a lot more advantages than disadvantages.

At the same time, if you value your workers’ health and you feel like you can’t guarantee their safety around these relatively aggressive cows, we totally understand too.

Still, if you want to make a hefty profit and you can invest a bit more into your workers’ safety, there’s no real reason not to invest into Limousin cows.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Limousin Cows
Photo By yvonne / stock.adobe.com

Are Limousin Cows Good to Eat?

Limousin cows are especially popular for their meat, which is considered to be both delicious and tasty at the same time, featuring a fair share of marbling too.

What Are Limousin Cattle Good For?

This breed is believed to have first been developed somewhere in central France in the province of Limousin. Here, the breed was used for two main purposes:

  • Draught
  • Beef production

Nowadays though, the breed has also found its way in the crossbreeding and milk production industries.

Are Limousin Cows Good for Meat?

The Limousin beef is considered to be a delicacy for many restaurants thanks to its low proportion of bone and fat and its overall marbling.

Are Limousin Cattle Hardy?

Considering the conditions that they had to adapt through, it shouldn’t come off as a surprise that Limousin cows are especially hardy.

Are Limousin Cattle Aggressive?

Limousin cows are fairly aggressive animals that you should never lower your guard around.

They have been known to attack farmers and caretakers when they least expect it, so always proceed with caution around Limousin cows.

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About Sven Eliasson

Sven worked at a beef cattle operation dedicated to the ethical treatment of animals. He also has a passion for regenerative methods of pasture management and promotes sustainable farming practices. Learn more about Agronomag's Editorial Process.

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