About Podolica Cattle
breed is a descendent of the bos Primigenius Podolicus, very large-sized
long-horned cattle thought to have been domesticated in the Middle East during
the fourth century BC. There are two theories about the origin of Podolica
cattle. According to one, the Podolica derived from cattle that came to Italy
in 452 BC following the Huns who, along their way from Mongolia, passed through
the Ukrainian steppe, which can be considered the true birthplace of the
Podolica breed. Instead, another theory states that as far back as the first
century BC, there existed long-horned cattle from Crete, an area that, even in
the Minoan age, had macroceros cattle which can be identified as bos
primigenius. The Podolica breed has spread throughout an area that mainly
covers the inland territories of southern peninsular Italy (Abruzzo,
Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise and Apulia). The breed numbers 100,000
head, 25,000 of which are listed in the Italian Herd Book of ANABIC, the
association responsible for the development and selection of this breed. One of
the outstanding characteristics of this cattle is its exceptional ability to
adapt to particularly difficult environments, as well as its extraordinary
capacity to utilize food resources that would not otherwise be used. In fact,
this cattle is able to make the most of shrub-covered grazing areas as well as
stubble and bush areas, using the leaves of shrubby elements, tree shoots and
Association of Italian Beef-Cattle Breeders (ANABIC - www.anabic.it) was
estabilished to promote and implement all types of initiatives aimed towards
improving, developing, ad spreading the autochthonous Italian cattle breeds:
Marchigiana, Chianina, Romagnola, Maremmana and Podolica. ANABIC, which came
about by merging the prevously existing individual National Breed Associations,
has taken on their responsabilities as far as selection is concerned and has
set up a single National Herd Book for the Italian beef-cattle breeds.
currently 21.000 head of cattle.
It has been
present in Italy for a very long time and represents yet another example of
successful biological adaptation to hostile environment. The breed is
widespread over a rather vast area that includes all of southern Italy.As a
result, this has caused a great deal of variability in its size adn in the
color of its coat, which can range from white to dark gray. Pigmentation is
The podolica has
a lightweight skeletal structure with slender legs, excellent perpendicularity
and strong feet. Adult bulls weigh from 600 to 800 kg.
The Podolica was
long used mainly in a work capacity and only secondarily for beef and dairy
products. In fact, its milk is ideal for producing the famous
"caciocavallo' cheese. Subsequently, with the rise and spread of
agricultural mechanization, the selective trend of this breed became geared
more towards beef production and, to a lesser extent, towards dairy production,
particularly in certain areas. As far as the reproductive aspect is concerned,
age at first calving is rather advanced (about 3 years). This is due primarily
to the breed's harsh habitat, which can be noted above all during the heat of
the summer months, which significantly decreases the amount of food resources
available and thus slows down the growth of younger animals. Nevertheless, this
type of cattle develops a long reproductive career, breeding for over ten years
with an average time span of fifteen months between calvings. For the most
part, calvings are spontaneous and are concentrated during the springtime.
Calves are suckled for at least four months. The calves are then weaned in
order to be sold for slaughter at around 15-16 months, with weights ranging
around 300-350 kg. In some cases, as far as males are concerned, heavier
bullocks are produced and these subjects are slaughtered at around two years of
age, at a weight of 500 kg.
A robust and
frugal breed comparable to the Maremmana, it is capable of exploiting grazing
areas covered with shrubs, stubbles and thickets. It is characterized by its
docile nature, outstanding maternal capability and long reproductive career.
Calves are born
spontaneously and weigh an average of 30 kg at a birth.
Cows reach a
weight of 400-500 kg by adulthood and produce plenty of milk rich in fat, which
in some areas is used to make highly prized soft cheese.
Content and photo source: Agraria.org