At the beginning of the 19th century, imported Durham cattle were crossed with the local Mancelle stock in the Loire Valley. Mancelle cattle were well known for both their muscular bodies and superior milking abilities, while Durhams were noted for their prime carcases and fast weight gain. The type that emerged became known as Maine-Anjou cattle. These cattle were bred for both milk and beef production.
Maine-Anjoue are horned, dual-purpose cattle- however a focus on beef is favoured. Their coat colouring is traditionally red with white markings, however recent years have seen the emergence of black, red and black and white colour patterns. The breed is known in particular for rapid weight gain, hybrid vigour and late maturity. Their well-marbled beef is recognised for its minimum fat cover and sizeable rib-eye section. Maine-Anjou are popular in different cross-breeding programs, especially those involving British breeds. Mature bulls tend to weigh between 1000 and 1400 kilograms, while mature cows typically weigh between 680 to 860 kilograms.
Maine-Anjou semen was first introduced to Australia in 1973. Since then, live stock and embryos have been imported from New Zealand. Maine-Anjou purebreds are predominantly found in New South Wales and Tasmania, however percentage stock is dispersed throughout the different states.
The Maine-Anjou Society of Australia provides a register and information service for breeders and interested parties of the breed.
Today, Maine-Anjou cattle are found in countries including France, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.