1700s: The cattle population of Normandy (northwest France) is often considered to be roughly divided in 3 subgroups: the Cotentine (in the peninsula of Normandy), the Augeronne (from the Pays d’Auge, the central valley of Normandy and birthplace of most of its cheeses), and the Cauchoise (from the Pays de Caux, northeast part of Normandy). All were red and white with more or less spots on the head. The Cotentine was considered to be the most dairy one, and the two others seemed to have better beef abilities. Eventually the Cotentine dominated.
1836: Introduction of the Durham (Shorthorn) breed from England to the Normande populations. Most breeders resist the new blood, finding that it milks much less. The program will be abandoned a few decades later.
1877-1924: Major exportation of Normande cattle to Colombia, Uruguay and other South American countries.
1883: The Normande Herd-Book is established
1946: The first artificial insemination in France is done by Robert Cassou on a Normande cow. Mr. Cassou invents the French straw and found IMV in L’Aigle, Normandy, where the first French AI Center is created. Today, it still is one of the main Normande studs.
1952: Normande sire progeny testing program is established.
1970s: The Normande is imported into the United States as a beef breed.
1997: First developments of the Normande as a dairy breed in the U.S. Exportations to other parts of the world.
Notes on World War II: During D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, Normande cattle suffer major losses. Normandy was then a patchwork of hedges (bocage normand) and it was very hard for tank and soldiers to move around and to see ahead. Because of their natural curiosity, Normande cows often gave away the location of soldiers from one camp to the other. They also sustained hungry GIs.