The Limousin is an excellent foreign beef breed originating in France. The breed is universally known for its exceptional muscling, excellent growth ability, ability to adapt to various climates and the ability to reach a mature age. It is no wonder that the Limousin is known world-wide as the “carcass breed”.
The colour of the Limousin varies from a light straw colour to dark-red, the ideal being a smooth coat. A longer curly coat is also found in the colder regions of South Africa. Black Limousins may also be found.
Size and Weight
The animal must be properly developed and full-grown for its age. The framework must display sufficient length, depth and width. Full grown bulls must have a mass of between 800 and 1 050 kg and mature female animals a mass of 500 – 750 kg.
Typical characteristics of the breed are the well-defined muscling, especially in the back and hindquarters, and a typical short head with or without horns. The colour pattern varies from a light straw colour to dark-red where white is allowed along the lower body line. The breed has a relatively fine bone structure in comparison to the rest of the body. As a result it is able to maintain a slaughter out percentage of above 60%.
Type and Balance
The Limousin breed displays the typical characteristics of a good beef breed, with particularly good back and hindquarter muscling, and with little waste along the lower body line and flank.
The animals must display the correct proportions between the various parts of the body. This good balance of the animal is a reflect in proper hormonal functioning and regular reproduction.
Calm and peaceful, but alert and protective, especially cows with small calves
(b) Purity of Gender
The bull reflect strong masculinity, which must be clearly apparent in the muscling of the back, hindquarters, shoulder, forearm, withers and neck, as well as well-developed, uniform testicles with no dangling sheath. A darkening in colour on the neck, forequarter, along the lower body line and outer thighs is essential. Older bulls tend to be heavier and more muscular in their forequarters.
The cow must display an overall femininity, and must be more refined than the bull. Therefore she has to display a flatter neck with fine neck creases, good quality hair and a finer bone structure. Cows in mild can display a wedge shape. The udder must be well-balanced and properly attached, with well placed, pigmented teats of proper length. The genitals must be well-developed with clearly visible udder and teat development in heifers.
The joints must be firm and dry, with a smooth, shiny coat, pleasant to the touch. The hide must be thick, supple and pigmented. The hooves must be strong and pigmented.
Head: Wide and slightly short, with a hollow appearance between the eyes
Ears: Small, flexible, rounded at the edges and covered with longish hair on the outside
Eye-brow ridges: Well-developed with pigmented hide around the eyes, especially the bulls
Eyes: Large, with a tranquil expression, encircled by moving eyelids
Nose bridge: Wide, strong and oval in shape
Muzzle: Wide and strong with large, lose lips
Nostrils: Large and oval-shaped
Teeth: Big and strong – must fit well onto the cutting plane
Jaws: Deep and strong – must fit well onto each other, not too fleshy
Horns: Round and light in colour with animals that are not dehorned
Neck and Shoulders
Of average length, slightly rounded, which connects well with the head. In the case of a bull the neck is far more developed than the cow. A well-developed throat skin that starts beneath the chin and ends between the forelegs.
Shoulders and breast: The shoulder bones slope fairly sharply from, the bottom upwards, and are properly joined to the withers, breast and neck. The area between the shoulders are fairly wide where the eye muscle starts. The breast is wide in the chest breadth, but not prominent in the brisket. There is a gradual transition between the forequarter and the ribs without a devil’s grip being present. The breast must be properly sized, but not too deep. The forearm must be well-muscled and the shoulder bones not too wide.
Long and wide and of moderate depth, with a proper rib opening and capacity. It must connect well to the forequarters, as well as the hindquarters.
Back and Loins: Straight, long, wide and well-muscled. The eye muscle development must be prominent and bulge higher than the withers. As a result of this the top line is not always horizontal.
Ribs: Well-spaced, wide, long and slightly curved towards the back
Long, deep, wide and well-muscled. The rump is long with a moderate slope. The pins and thurls must be widely spaced along the same vertical line. The thigh muscles must be wide and full, with the back thigh sloping lower towards the heel. The bulls are more muscular than the cows.
The tail setting is joined straight, but not too deep into the rump. The tail gradually become thinner towards its end with an average switch.
Legs, Claws, Joints & Gait
Legs: Must be fine, strong and dry, but still functional
Claws: Of average size, hard, deep and closed, with pigmentation
Joints: Strong, dry and well-developed, with the correct angle being 200 – 210 at the heel and 50 – 55 at the pastern. A strong heel tendon and firm pastern-joint are essential
Gait: Comfortable, with the hind paw treading in the track of the front paw
Udder and Teats
A well-balanced udder with four functional, long, wide quarters, properly joined. The teats must be of normal length and size, well-placed and with pigmentation
Cow: Well-developed, loose and soft
Bull: Well-developed testicles, equal in size, not turned and with clearly visible secondary testicles. Short sheath.
Minimum circumference of scrotum
300 – 349 kg = 29 cm
350 – 399 kg = 30 cm
400 – 449 kg = 31 cm
450 – 500 kg = 32 cm
500 – 549 kg = 33 cm
550 – 600 kg = 33 cm
600 and higher = 34 cm
Hide and Coat
Supple, thick skin with good pigmentation. A short, shiny coat is ideal, but long, curly hair also occurs according to the season and environment.
All shades from a light straw colour to a dark red-brown. A lighter colouring around the eyes and muzzle, as well as between the legs, is normal.
Since 1996 they have been allowed as a breed, administered by the same society and selected according to the same Standards of Excellency except under the colour clause where white may occur along the lower body line. A mulberry colour may also occur.
Discriminations & disqualifications according to the degree of deviation
• Any signs of cross-breeding
• To big or too small
• Animals without the necessary pigmentation
• White or black above the lower body line, or, in black animals, white or brown above the lower body
• Too coarse or too fine a bone structure
• Poor balance, especially in cows that are heavy in the forequarters and bulls that are light in the hindquarters
• Wry mouth or nose bone
• Flat, hanging or roofy rump
• Wry tail setting or a tail setting that is too deeply implanted
• Straight-hocked (straight hock with little or no curve)
• Cow-hocked (edges of hocks close together)
• Sickle-hocked (with the bottom of the back leg turned a lot to the front from the tarsal hock joint)
• Forelegs knock-kneed or bow-legged
• Hind legs turned to the inside
• Woolly or curly coat
• Matted curl
• Too long a head
• A completely black or blue muzzle, or a white and brown muzzle in black animals
• Bad temperament: too listless or too wild
• Bulls with a female or ox-like appearance. Weak eye-brow ridge development and flat neck
• Female animals with male or ox-like appearance. Little or no udder and teat development, especially in heifers
• Excessive fat deposits on the brisket, hips and pins
• Misshapen genitals and a scrotum circumference that is lower than the minimum requirement:
a) One testicle
b) Testicles turned more than 45˚ and turned of epidiymus (side testicle)
c) Hypo-placement (one normal testicle and one smaller one)
d) Absence of side testicles
e) A dangling, prominent sheath, or sheath with a large opening (prolaps)
• Excessively long or short bottom jaw
• Devil’s grip
• Hollow or roach-back
• Weak pasterns:
a) Dewclaws touch the ground
b) Short stiff and upright pastures
• Poor muscling especially at bulls