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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Breeds of Livestock - Marchigiana Cattle

Breeds of Livestock - Marchigiana Cattle

Marchigiana (mar-key-jah-nah)

marchigiana-web-1.jpgOther Names: Del Cubante (Avellino).

The Marchigiana breed originated in the Marche and surrounding provinces of Italy near Rome. This area is typified by rough terrain and the available feed is often less than ideal. The breed now makes up about 45% of Italy's total cattle population.

There seems to be considerable differences in opinion as to the exact origin of the breed. According to The Meaty Marchigiana, a leaflet published by the American International Marchigiana Society, they were brought into the area by the Barbarians after the fall of Rome in the fifth century. Anther version, put forth by Dr. Briggs in Modern Breeds of Livestock, is that it is a relatively new breed, being differentiated as late as 1933 and known locally at the time as the Improved Marche. According to this version, the indigenous stock of the area had been intermixed with the Chianina and two other varieties of mountain cattle. Selection then followed for the large type of cattle which were desired on the lower and more fertile slopes of the region where forage was more abundant.

marchigiana-web-2.jpgThe breed resembles the Chianina in color and general conformation. They are large and quite muscular but have relatively refined bone structure. They are a short-haired breed that varies in color from light gray to almost white. The skin is pigmented and the tongue, muzzle, and external opening are black. The tail switch is dark and they are usually dark around the eyes. The medium-sized horns are black at the tip, white in the middle, and have a yellowish cast at the base and usually curve forward in bulls and upward in females. Due to the introduction of the poll gene from foundation females used in grading up, percentage cattle are often selected for the polled trait in the United States.

The legs are more moderate in length than those of the Chianina. The selection in Italy has been effective in establishing a breed that seems to reach sexual maturity early, has easy calving and good fertility. The cattle have also been selected to grow rapidly and utilize feed efficiently. The dispositions are said to be mild under the variety of conditions under which hey have been used.

Marchigiana Breed Associations and Registries


Briggs, H.M. & D.M. Briggs. Modern Breeds of Livestock. Fourth Edition. Macmillan Publishing Co. 1980

Mason, I.L. World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds. Third Edition. C.A.B International. 1988

Promotional materials: American International Marchigiana Society


American International Marchigiana Society


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updated November 15, 1999


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