It can be speculated that Charolais dates back to Roman times in ancient Italy. Roman figurines depicting the Charolais type and religious references to sacrificial white cattle indicate the beginnings of the Charolais breed. The white cattle accompanied Romans on their invasions of France and England.
Written reference to white steers appears in a French document in the year 878 A.D. Due to historical accident and political peculiarity the forbearers of today’s Charolais were isolated around Charolles in east central France from the fourteenth century until 1772. The Charolles region was used as a pawn; traded, sold or won by one royal head after another. Of course tariff barriers and custom duties were part of the game and Charolles was virtually forced to keep to itself. This forced segregation greatly benefited the development of the Charolais breed. The Charolles strain was kept fairly pure, and of necessity, the breeders selected only the best of the white cattle. Records show that there was rivalry and competition among the Charolles breeders.
After the region was reunited with France in 1772, the Charolles cattle began moving throughout France. Two major branches of the breed ensued, the original Charolles and the Nivernais which was centered in the French province of Niever. In 1864 a Nivernais breeder, Count Charles de Bouille, set up a Herdbook. In 1882 the Charolles breeders followed suit and began registering cattle in the province of Saone-et-Loire. To avoid pedigree confusion the two books merged in 1919 with the older Niever Herdbook assimilating the Charolles book. By the one-hundredth birthday of the Niever Herdbook over 2,200,000 head of Charolais cattle had been registered in France.
Charolais in North America
Charolais cattle reached the western hemisphere as early as 1879 when they were imported into Brazil. Several other South American importations followed. Although Charolais were imported into Mexico before 1910 it wasn’t until the importation of Charolais by Gene Pugibet in 1930 that the North American cattle industry was affected by the breed. Until 1967 all Mexican Charolais were crossed with Zebu or Brahman cattle and in so doing, provided an animal which had superior growth, while maintaining the heat and disease resistance important to that area. This Charbray animal often times formed the basis of the breeding program of these people and was in evidence when Charolais appeared in Canada.
Charolais Comes to Canada
Searching for more growth, vigorous cattle, commercial cattleman Wayne Malmberg imported Charolais crosses into his Alberta ranch in 1953. Charolais was an abrupt change from the blocky, compact, fat producing cattle prevalent at the time. Cattlemen who looked to Charolais in those early years wanted meat producers.
Realizing the potential of the Charolais breed the early Canadian Charolais enthusiasts were not content to just sit back. They were determined to make Charolais a leading Canadian breed. In 1959 the Canadian Charolais Association was formed and in 1960 it was formally recognized as a Breed Association under the Livestock Pedigree Act of Canada. From the beginning the Canadian Charolais Association, backed by innovative and aggressive cattlemen, has been recognized for its leadership.
Through the efforts and lobbying of these progressive cattlemen, a quarantine system was established by co-operation between the French and Canadian governments. The Canadian government built a station at Grosse Ile, Quebec to house cattle imported from Europe while they underwent tests to establish their freedom from disease, in order to protect the high health standards of the Canadian cattle population. The station became operative in 1966 and the first cattle imported to Canada from Europe arrived in the spring of 1967. This arrival marked the first importation of cattle from Europe since the outbreak of foot and mouth in Mexico in 1940.
These white cattle set off a chain of events that continues today in the Canadian cattle industry. With the introduction of French Charolais, it was quite apparent that more information and a method of evaluating the worth of these cattle in the Canadian environment was essential. The Conception to Consumer Program as initiated and cattlemen were supplied with a reliable source of information which they could use in their breeding programs.
The beef grading system was the next major item of concern and through representation in the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, a new grading system was designed whereby the production of lean meat became the important characteristic of the beef carcass. This grading system also took into consideration that an appropriate fat cover was essential in providing a product that the wholesaler, retailer and consumer would accept.
Political chance six centuries ago began development of Charolais as a beef producing breed of cattle. Adherence to scientific logic six centuries later has capitalized on the breed’s assets resulting in cattle which are adapted to Canadian conditions and marketing practices.
The following historical information was compiled by Hedi Trescher of Brisco Charolais, Brisco, BC from Charolais Bannersand the White Gold history book.
878 – first mention of “white cattle in France”
1773 – relocation of part of the white herd to the “Nivearnais” region by Claude Mathieu – name of these cattle called “Nivernais”
1864 – Count Charoles de Bouille establishes the registry of “Nivernais” breed – first Charolais herd book established
1920 – ”Nivernais” and “Charolais” herd book merged and “Herd Book Charolais” became established
1922 – Export Syndicate headed by General Marquis de LeGuiche shipped 45 Charolais to Brazil and Uruguay
1930 – first of a total of 37 head in 3 shipments (1930, 1931 & 1937) imported into Mexico by Jean Pugibet, General Trevino and Colonel Dan Breen.
1945 – ”American Charolaise Breeders Association” was formed by Joe and William Pate, Red W, Turner and harl R. Thomas.
1949 – “The American Charbray Breeders Association” came into being
1951 – The “International Charollaise Cattle Raiser Association”
1951 – ”Miss Lin” registered in the “American Charollaise Breeders Association” – the first Charolais animal registered in the U.S.
1953 – Entire Mexican herd smuggle into US
1954 – The “Association of Breeders of Certified Improved Charolais” (later changed to “Pan American Charolais Association”) was formed with Cliff Aultman, Buddy Cobb, Clint Ferris, Joe Hewitt, Wayne Malmberg and Bill Sidley as the Founding Members.
1955 – Max and Wayne Malmberg imports Charolais bull into Canada
1955 – Mexican Charolais herd returned to Mexico from U.S. and purchased by M.S. (Max) Michaelis, Jr.
1956 – Ed Llyons imported 15 heifers and a bull from Louisiana
1957 – Murray Little, Markham, Ontario imported 5 bred heifers, two cows with calves and two bull which he had purchased from the Turner Ranch in Texas.
1957 – “The American Charolais Breeders Association and the “International Charollaise Cattle Raisers Association” joined to become the “American International Charolais Association”
1959 – Jan. 17 – Founding meeting of Canadian Charolais Association
1960 – April 13 – Canadian Charolais Association Incorporated under the Live Stock Pedigree Act of Canada
1961 – North Central Alberta Charolais Club formed
1964 – International Charolais Federation formed
1965 – North Central Alberta Charolais Club was later converted to the Alberta Charolias Association
1965 – May – Import permits for French Cattle issued
1966 – Oct. First issue of Canadian Charolais Banner published
1967 – CCA hosts World Charolais Federation Meeting
1968 – First Conception to Consumer Test Program initiated – first results in 1970
1968 – CCA goes to computerized Cattle Registration
1969 – Charolais office moves from Lacombe to 4816 Macleod Trail, Calgary,AB
1970 – BC Charolais Assn. formed
1970 – 1972 Ernie Nimitz, CCA Fieldman
1971 – 1973 Ed Rabel, CCA Fieldman
1972 – October – Charolais office moves to 218 – 11 Ave. S.W, Calgary, AB
1978 – Official opening of “The Charolais Building, 2320-41st Ave. NE, Calgary
1984 – Mortgage to Charolais Building retired
1998 – Charolais Annual Meeting Votes 83% in Favor of Whole Herd Enrollment
2004 – Garner Deobald, CCA Fieldman
|The Alberta Charolais Association really started
out as the North Central Alberta Charolais Club.
|A small group met in a motel in Camrose, AB in 1961.|
|In 1965 the NCACC was converted to the ACA|
|Jim V. Rawe||Pres.1961, 1962|
|Ron Rouse||Sec. 1961, 1962|
|Jim Golley||Pres. 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966|
|Don Pochylko||Sec. 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966|
|Dennis Cluley-||Pres. 1967, 1968|
|Frances Borgal||Sec. 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970|
|Wilf Sieger||Pres. 1969, 1970, 1971|
|Shirley Cripps||Sec. 1971, 1972|
|Frances Borgal||Pres. 1973, 1974|
|Tom Eggertson||Sec. 1973, 1974, 1975|
|Don Pochylko||Pres. 1975, 1976, 1977|
|Kathleen Wiese||Sec. 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981|
|Vern Weise||Pres. 1978, 1979|
|Gerry Roe||Pres. 1980, 1981|
|Reuben Ehret||Pres. 1982, 1983|
|Hazel Roe||Sec. 1982, 1983, 1984|
|Bill Bullick||Pres. 1984, 1985|
|Faye Anderson||Sec. 1985, 1986, 1987|
|Ralph Thornton||Pres. 1986|
|Doug Moore||Pres. 1987, 1988|
|Kevin Boon||Sec. 1988|
|Tim Bullick||Pres. 1989, 1990|
|Colleen Stewart||Sec. 1989, 1990, 1991|
|Jack Rairdan||Pres. 1991|
|Leroy Martin||Pres. 1992, 1993|
|Hazel George||Sec. 1992, 1993,1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000|
|Allan Marshall||Pres. 1994, 1995, 1996|
|Frank Cholak||Pres. 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000|
|Randy Kaiser||Pres. 2001|
|Lisa Schnuelle||Sec. 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005|
|Lyle Pederson||Pres. 2002, 2003|
|Ben Strutheit||Pres. 2004, 2005|
|Dwane Stauffer||Pres. 2006, 2007|
|Kristina Produka||Sec. 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009|
|David Produka||Pres. 2008, 2009|
|Dory Gerrard||Pres. 2010|
|Rebecca Zonruiter||Sec. 2010|
|Darren Paget||Pres. 2011|
|Jeralyn Rasmussen||Sec. 2011|
|Lyle Bignell||Pres. 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015|
|Lisa Paget||Sec. 2012|
|Don Grant||Sec. 2013|
|Kristina Prokuda||Sec. 2014, 2015|
|Stephen Cholack||Pres. 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021|
Sec. 2015,2016,2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
Sec. 2017, 2018
British Columbia Charolais Association
|1970 – BC Charolais Assoc. formed|
|Bill Peacock||Pres. 1970, 1971|
|Scotie Peacock||Sec. 1970|
|Hedi Trescher||Sec. 1971,1972,1973,1974.1975,1976,
|Graeme Turner||Pres. 1972|
|Philip Vandekerkhove||Pres. 1973, 1974|
|Brian Ratcliffe||Pres. 1975|
|Don Wolfenden||Pres. 1976, 1977|
|Rob Willis||Pres. 1978, 1979|
|Doug Baker||Sec. 1978|
|Sheila Davies||Sec. 1979|
|Doug Baker||Pres. 1980, 1981|
|Marg Mahan||Sec. 1980, 1981, 1982|
|Verna Dennis||Sec. 1982, 1983, 1984|
|Sandy Russel||Pres. 1983|
|Dan Petersen||Pres. 1984, 1985|
|Shirley Floritto||Sec. 1985, 1986, 1987|
|Don Wolfenden||Pres. 1986, 1987|
|Sandy Russel||Pres. 1988|
|Rob Willis||Sec. 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991|
|Verna Dennis||Pres. 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994|
|Cheryl Altwasser||Sec. 1992, 1993|
|Joan Buchanan||Sec. 1994, 1995|
|Keith Altwasser||Pres. 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999|
|Cheryl Altwasser||Sec. 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999|
|Robert Miles||Pres. 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005|
|Margaret McKenzie||Sec. 2000|
|Hedi Trescher||Sec. 2001, 2002, 2003|
|Brenda McLeod||Sec. 2004, 2005|