The Gascon breed has many characteristics that make them unique from any other breed of cow. They have developed into a beef breed that is widely used in its native region and is progressively spreading across the European Union.
The population of the breed in France alone is 22,983 cows, with 10,816 of them recorded. Mature cows weigh in between 550 to 700 kg and stand 135 cm at the shoulder; bulls average 145 cm in height and 800 to 950 kg in weight.
The Gascon cows have gray coat, but are born red getting their gray coat at about the 4th month of life.
Bulls are gray, but have black shading underneath.
A few of the unique characteristics of the Gascon are:
The hardness of their fur
The hardness of the Gascon fur enables the breed to tolerate cold weather better than other cows and their calves gain weight faster and gain strength faster than other breeds. Their coat is also very thick which enables it to shed water well.
The ease of calving
This natural asset of the breed is closely related to the pelvic opening of the cow. Gascon cows are in labor for a much shorter time period than other breeds. Combined with a low birth weight of the calve, the birth of these calves is easier than other breeds.
Faster growth in calves
Another characteristic of the Gascon is that their calves get stronger and gain more weight faster than other types of cows.
Gascon cows don’t need as much to eat as other types of cows
Gascon cows have adapted to the harsh conditions of the Pyrenees and don’t need to eat as much as other types of cow while still able to maintain good condition and settle in calf more quickly.