The Arouquesa breed is a small breed of bovine, native to Portugal, which was granted protected geographical status of DOC from the European Commission.
The breed originates in the Northern Portuguese areas of Viseu, Aveiro, Porto and Braga.It is here in these mountainous areas they are kept, being kept for both beef, milk, and draught purposes.
Famed for the quality of their beef, which is finely marbled, Arouquesa beef actually won an award in 1902 for the Best beef in Paris. The beef is now only famed in Portugal in recent times, where it is considered the finest in the country.
A small breed, cows reach a maximum height of 123cms (4 feet) at maturity and weights of up to 400kgs. Bulls meanwhile can weigh up to 430kgs and reach heights of up to 134cms. Colour-wise, they are light brown in colour, with males slightly darker. Claws are also dark coloured, while their horns are forward facing. Both sexes are horned.
Cows can have up to 18 calves in a lifetime as the breed have great longevity. Mothers have great maternal instincts also, with good quality milk. They are an easy calving breed and are also very fertile. A docile breed, they are also very hardy and an active breed. They have strong legs, and their hind legs are also very muscular.
Used for milk and beef production in its native Portugal, it is no wonder the Arouquesa is still as popular as ever. Although a small breed, the Arouquesa has won awards in the past for its quality of beef and still is held in the same high regard in its homeland.