In Europe there is a group of grey cattle breeds, which are frequently very similar to each other, sharing a great rusticity, that is, a marked ability to adapt to harsh environments, climatic adversities, and historical contingencies that force animals to survive without man's aid.
Many of these breeds have a common history, as they were part of a population scattered on a very wide geographical area, with slight variations due to differences in the environment. In fact, long-horned grey draft cattle were reared in all the Balkans and Italy, particularly on the coasts of the Adriatic and Ionian, from Greece to Apulia, as well as in Maremma, on the Tyrrhenian coast.
Today small isolated populations remain, classified as autochtonous breeds, often endangered of extinction, but sharing a very low impact on the environment and a slight small dependence on man. These breeds, in the past and even now, keep being able to survive on poor-quality and low or zero-cost feed, to calve without any aid from man and to raise calves until weaning with very low mortality, in difficult environmental conditions, to endure diseases, parasites and predators, providing meat, milk and work, and being, in certain areas, the only source of income for the inhabitants.
In the current situation, with sudden and drastic climate change and demographic growth, which makes less and less sustainable the agricultural systems requiring an intensive use of resources, the rustic autochthonous breeds, and among them the Podolian, are valuable parts of the "toolbox" available to humankind to survive in a desperate situation.
Here below you find some of the photos I took around Europe, hoping to arise the readers' curiosity, and the desire to deepen their knowledge of these breeds, along with the links to some articles I have written about them (in Italian) and external links in various languages, which I hope can stimulate the desire to learn more.

All photos by Andrea Gaddini. You can use these photos, provided that you quote the source.

I apologize for any error in English translation. If you want to communicate with me:
for corrections and/or comments, write me at:


Link to my webpage on the breed
Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity non-profit organization

Podolica (Podolian)


Magyar szürke szarvasmarha (Hungarian Grey)

Istarsko Govedo-Boškarin (Istrian)

Slavonsko Srijemsko Podolsko Govedo (Slavonian Syrmian Podolian)

Podolsko Govece - Sivo-stepsko govece - Podolac (Serbian Podolian)

GADDINI A., STOJANOVIC S. (2016) La Podolica serba. Eurocarni, 10: 104-110. link


GADDINI A, (2018) Le Grigie greche della steppa. Eurocarni, 11: 136-142. link


GADDINI A, (2018) Le Grigie greche della steppa. Eurocarni, 11: 136-142. link
GADDINI A, KARETSOS S. (2020) Avra, biodiversità sotto le Meteore. Eurocarni, 2: 90-95 link

Sura de Stepa

GADDINI A., DASCALU D.-L. (2018) La Sura de Stepa. Eurocarni, 3: 72-79. link

Balgarsko sivo govedo (Bulgarian Grey)

GADDINI A, (2019) La Grigia bulgara. Eurocarni, 3: 120-127 link

Sira ukrayinska (Ukrainian Grey)
GADDINI A, (2020) La Grigia ucraina. Eurocarni, 9: 126-135 link

Boz Irk (Turkish Grey)
(Türkiye -Turkey)
GADDINI A, (2020) La Grigia turca. Eurocarni, 3: 100-105 link

Other grey cattle (Podolians?)

Eesti Hall lehm (Estonian Gray)
(Estonia - Eesti)

GADDINI A, (2018) La razza Grigia estone. Eurocarni, 9: 104-109 link

ANABIC Associazione Nazionale Allevatori Bovini Italiani Carne (National Breeders Association of Italian Beef Cattle Breeds). Herd Book consistency at December 31st, 2021. link.
ANARZ - AGENTIA NATIONALA PENTRU ZOOTEHNIE (National Romanian Agency of Animal Production) (2016) Raport de Activitate 2015. Balotesti, Romania.
DAD-IS FAO (2022) Domestic Animal Diversity Information System. link
HARIH - Hrvatska agencija za poljoprivredu i hranu (2022) Govedarstvo - Godišnje izvješce (Cattle breeding - Annual report 2021). Osijek, Croazia. link
IpZN - Institut po Zhivotnovadin Nayki - Kostinbrod, Bulgaria


BIGI Daniele, ZANON Alessio (2008) Atlante delle razze autoctone. Edagricole, Bologna, Italy.
BODÓ Imre (editor, 2011), Characterization of Indigenous and Improved Breeds, Te-Art-Rum Bt., Budapest, Hungary.
CIANI Ferdinando, MATASSINO Donato (2001) Il bovino grigio allevato in Italia: origine. Nota I: il bovino Macrocero. Taurus speciale 12: 89-99.
FAELLI Ferruccio (1903) Razze bovine, equine, suine, ovine e caprine. Ulrico Hoepli, Milan, Italy.
GADDINI Andrea (2016) Le podoliche. Eurocarni, 8: 74-79.
MASON I. L. (1951) A World Dictionary of Breeds Types and Varieties of Livestock. Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau, Slough, Bucks, England.
SAÑUDO ASTIZ Carlos (2011) Atlas Mundial de Etnología Zootécnica. Servet, Zaragoza, Spain,
SAVE/Monitoring Institute (2002) Risorse genetiche agrarie in Italia. Monitoring Institute, St. Gall, Switzerland.

Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity Nonprofit Organization link

  page created: August 22nd, 2017 and last updated: June 4th, 2022