The Canadienne is a breed of dairy cattle that originated in Canada during the 1600s. It also goes by the names Black Canadienne, French Canadienne and Black Jersey and are the only dairy cattle developed in Canada.
It is believed the Canadienne is decedents of the Guernsey, Jersey and Kerry cattle breeds. In 1850 the majority of the cattle were Canadienne so breeding of them was discouraged. In 1886, a herd book was established and the French Canadian Cattle Breeder’s Association was formed in 1895. In 1901, the Canadienne was recognized as the most profitable dairy breed in the Pan-American show in Buffalo, New York.
During the 1970s milk quality lacked improvement and the Brown Swiss Cattle was introduced but not controlled. To preserve the Canadienne Cattle, the Swiss Brown was no longer used.
Originally it was the most common breed in Canada, but today is fairly rare being found on a few farms and ranches around the country. Preservation efforts have been implemented to prevent the breed from extinction.
It is a small and compact breed developed for the harsh environment. The Canadienne is usually a dark brown or black with a lighter colored muzzle, top of the back and udder/scrotum. The horns will be long and turn up with dark tips, though some animals are hornless. The breed has good nature and is hardy, well-suited for farm work.
It is used mainly for milk production, but some are used for meat and light draught work. The milk production is profitable even in difficult conditions.
Image Caption: Canadienne Cattle in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia, Canada. Credit: Joanne MacLeod Haverkort/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)