The Tarentaise breed's home is in the rugged Savoie region of France. In France, no other cattle graze where the Tarentaise graze. Charolais, Maine-Anjou and Limousin are raised in Basin regions, where the land is more lush. Salers are native to a mountainous region, but it is not as mountainous as the home of the Tarentaise.
In the early 1970s, Dr. Ray Woodward of Miles City, Montana, was director of the beef program for American Breeders Service. Woodward was looking for a breed that would work on commercial cows in the U.S. while retaining milking ability and, most importantly, avoid the calving and fertility problems of the then known "exotics." He found the answer with Tarentaise.
The first Tarentaise bull calf arrived at a Canadian quarantine station in 1972. His name was Alpin, he weighed 1650 pounds at 30 months, and he generated so much excitement and semen sales that soon after the Canadian Tarentaise Association formed. In 1973, the American Tarentaise Association was formed.