Montbéliarde homeland is the Haute Sa Hautene-Doubs region in France, It was descended from the Bernoise cattle brought to France by the Mennonites in the 18th century.
The breed was originally known as the Alsatian race until the mid-1800s then it was renamed asMontbéliarde.
In 1990, Montbéliarde accounted for 11% of all cattle herds in France and was third in the list of dairy breeds in France; there were 1.8 million cattle with 840.000 cows in the very year. Two years later, it outpaced Normande and became the second in the dairy breed list in France, and in 1994 there were 280,000 breed cows registered in the pedigree. It is spread into the Middle East and Southeast France: Franche Comté, Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes (mainly in Saône-et-Loire, Ain and Isère regions).
Today, modern Montbéliarde is described as a hybrid of Tourache and Bernoise races with integration from the Red Holstein since 1960.
These cattle are traditionally famous for their milk; the Emmental and Gruyère cheese are produced out of this milk.
Montbéliarde is light red and white in color, very similar to red and white Holstein. It has a white head with an open mouth and a lyrated horn. Montbéliarde cows' height at withers is 135-140 cm and average weight is 685 kg, whereas the bulls are 148 cm of height and weigh 1.100-1.200 kg.
The breed is known for its hard hooves and strong udders.
In 1993, the milk yield out of 287.734 cows was 5.693 kg on average in 286 days with 3.83% fat and 3.36% protein.
Average per lactation milk yield of cows registered was 6,521 kg according to 1991. The slaughter weight for the three month old milk calves and 14-15 month bulls is 130-180 and 470-570 kg respectively.
Montbéliarde is ranked first in terms of functional features and reproductive qualities:
Mastitis resistance (very low cell count)
Fertility (good success rate in artificial insemination)
Long life (24% for 5 or more lactation)
Ease of calving ( 25% in hybridizing with Charolais, no problem in calving )
Montbéliarde milk has excellent cheese making value due to its high protein content and high Kappa Casein B variants (for making Gruyere cheese).
All these features demonstrate that it is a breed that can easily accommodate itself to all environments, is durable, and easily managed.
Montbéliarde has incontestable beef qualities, its calves and young bulls are rather appreciated thanks to their rapid growth rate and good conformation; even the discard cows produce the quality carcass that does not contain much fat.
In addition, this breed is very durable and adaptable to harsh climates; not affected by heat and can consume high amounts of roughage that allows them to maintain their performance when bred even in hotter regions.