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Ever since time began it has been an integral part of Alpine traditions. As early as the first written documents of our civilisation, in the time of the Roman Empire, Pliny the Elder was discovering this "breed from the Alps". He was already singing the praises of "the milking qualities of these little cows"…

The most plausible hypothesis attributes the zoological origin of the Tarentaise to a crossing between the two bloodlines Bos taurus Jurassicus and Bos taurus Alpinus, both descendants of tawny or brown populations which had come from the Indo-Asiatic continent via Central Europe.


In 1863, the breed is mentioned for the first time under the name of TARENTAISE.


But it was in 1865 that Montmayeur made the first description of the Tarentaise breed. At that time, he distinguished between two sub-categories : a grey branch "with a Tarin coat", numbering 20,000 in the region of Moûtiers, and another reddish brown and tawny branch in the Beaufortain, which had much larger numbers.

The Moûtiers Congress in 1866 was already deciding the first selection elements for the Tarentaise breed, opening the way for the creation of the first "Tarentaise Herd Book" in 1888.
It was then that the official name of Tarentaise or Tarine cattle breed was adopted.
From that time, the Tarine quickly spread throughout Savoy, then through all of the Alps and after that over all the mountain ranges of France: from the Pyrenees to the Vosges via the Massif Central.

It was not long before it was appreciated outside France too. During the 1960s and 1970s, there were numerous exports to North Africa and North America. The Tarentaise was at that time one of the most popular French breeds for export.

Since 1974, the Tarentaise UPRA (National Tarentaise Cattle Breed Selection and Promotion Unit) has included all the partners in the breed: breeders, selection, marketing and associated industries.

  In 1992, the World Federation of the Tarentaise breed was created, grouping together all the Tarentaise breed professionals throughout the world.

In 2003, the Tarentaise UPRA has built a program to increase the number of cows in France, which has considerably decreased since 1970.