When I just got into researching on the Tauros Project, I was really optimistic, almost euphoric, of what might be expected from the breeding results of the projects on a short- and middle-term scale. One of the reasons was that there were only few photos of their animals available, showing only a small number of their cattle, and these individuals usually were quite good. My expectation was that the Tauros Project would surpass the best Heck cattle within a few generations, also because their first crosses looked promising at young age.
But now, having seen photos of a larger number of Tauros-owned cattle, I am not so optimistic anymore about the herds in Keent and Kempen~Broek. The reason for that is that many of the animals did not prove as aurochs-like as I wished them to be: not all the Maremmana, especially the bulls, are as long-legged, long-snouted and well-built as I hoped, and even their horns are sometimes smaller than the goal, making it hard to compensate the small horns of other breeds used; the horn shape of many of the Sayaguesa, Limia and Pajuna is not very useful (in some other individuals however it is); some of the Sayaguesa x Tudanca and at least one Sayaguesa bear white spots at the ventral side of their body; in general the size of the cattle is disappointing – I neither know metric data nor did I see them in real, but photos and videos showing them next to Highland cattle tell me that most of them can’t be that big. The two crossbred bulls they presented so far, Manolo Uno (Maremmana x Pajuna) and Rocky (Maremmana x Limia), did not develop as aurochs-like as they promised when younger as well, but a first-generation animal is not very important to be fair.
For photos of the cattle, go here:
In general there is too much Highland cattle, in my opinion. Their small size, the stubby and short-legged body and the compressed head are very problematic features, as they are not as easy to breed against as are coat colours, which are controlled by only few genes. Especially when the other breeds, as outlined above, are not as tall, well-proportioned, long-snouted and large as hoped. The current Highland cross animals look like old Heck cattle, which is what I expected and I fear that won’t be that easy to breed away.
It does not sound fair when a breeding program is judged by their very first animals. But we should not forget that it is the traits that are present in the population that matter, and their frequency, and therefore I do not think that the Dutch Tauros herd will have superiour animals in the near future. But of course they have some very nice animals as well, such as a number of good Sayaguesa cows and a beautiful Limia bull. I expect that Tauros cattle to be very similar to Taurus cattle overall.