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Limousin   French   EFABIS Data


International Name


Local Name



Massif Central

Breeding females



Trend of population size


Flock book established



Origin – history

The upgrading to pure-bred status took place at the end of World War Two, and formed the basis for the development of Limousin flocks. Today attempts are being made to increase the quality of the lamb carcasses, by improving both their intrinsic qualities and the quality of their production system.


 Breed description

The breed has great hardiness and excellent adaptability in very varied regions, notably on non-chalky, acid soils. The breed is primarily farmed on the Millevaches plateau, at an altitude of 600-900m. The climate is harsh and varied, with high rainfall in winter, dry summers and light acidic soils. It is a breed noted for its early sexual maturity, with some ability for out of season breeding, and for its fertility and good milk quality. The breed’s aptitude for life in the open air ensures its success both in mid-range mountain areas (northern Massif Central, western Vosges) and in warm, dry areas (Aude, eastern Pyrenees).
Both pure-bred and cross-bred lambs are used in meat production, with 50% of ewes pure-bred. The prolificity rate of 1,44 per ewe and good milk qualities allow breeders to obtain pure-bred carcasses weighing 16 - 18 kg from lambs raised in “sheepfold”, and 18 - 20 kg from grass-fed lambs. Lambing usually takes place over Winter, between December and March.
The breed is white with horns on both males and females. The mature rams weigh 90-110kg, and the ewes weigh 60-65kg.


Conservation activities

There is a selective breeding plan run by UPRA aimed at improving the milk value, proflicacy, lambing interval and growth potential of the breed. Using registered flocks, the best young rams are selected following on-farm and station testing of speed of growth, muscle development and fattening. The rams are then progeny tested for maternal aptitudes and distributed via the AI Centre at Croze (Creuse). This approach allows for assessment of reproductive qualities and slaughter qualities, whilst improving the communication between breeders with a view to improving the genetic value of the breed.


Contact: UPRA Races Ovines des Massifs Route de Thiers site de Marmilhat 63370 Lempdes

                Telephone : 0473927407

Action Heritage Sheep AGRI GEN RES 040 receives financial support from the European Commission, Genetic Resources in Agriculture, under European Commission Council Regulation (EC) No 870/2004 AGRI GEN RES 2006 HERITAGE SHEEP