indigenous breeds

indigenous Greek breeds

Indigenous Greek breeds’ animals have lived since ancient times in the land of their ancestors. They are born and growing together with man, smoothly assimilating the diversity of Greek natural environment. Indigenous animals are bred with the least possible to zero human intervention.

One might wonder why revive a breed that is considered to be less efficient. We may argue that quality products constitute an alternative proposal to the practices of a globalized economy. In recent years there have been various food scandals involving animals. We are increasingly aware that our diet should include more clean and sustainable products. Extensively-reared animals should be part of our diet, since they live and are fed more naturally than intensively farmed animals. Conservation of indigenous animal breeds is vital for our ecosystem. It is crucial for preserving the biodiversity of our land’s animals. Moreover, these animals are intertwined with the dietary practices of Greek culture.

Native breeds, which have survived for millennia by natural selection, can cope with adversity -such as climate change- with remarkable resilience, and are particularly resistant to a majority of diseases. From another angle, breeding native animals may revive abandoned lands of the country. The products of these animals are premium quality Greek foods and can be competitively promoted abroad.

Shorthorn beef

The indigenous Hellenic Shorthorn cattle breed is believed to be related to the Illyric Shorthorn breed, which was particularly popular in all Balkan states.

They are small animals: their weight reaches 300 kg in adult males, while only 200 kg in adult females. Their growth is slow, but they are hardy, light-eating, long living and highly reproductive animals.

They are mainly kept in fields all year round and may be housed in shelters and stables for part of the year (in the harsh winter conditions), while they mainly live in mountain pastures with poor vegetation. Greek cattle are smaller in size, since they have adapted to the mountainous terrain of the country. Mountain dwellers could not afford having large cows, so they preferred smaller ones which could graze free in the mountains and survive the climate conditions.

The above traits make this breed one of the most suitable for extensive as well as for organic farming in our country, unlike improved cattle breeds, which require much care from the breeder and the veterinarian all year round. Due to the extensive rearing conditions of the Greek Shorthorn livestock, the meat of these animals has exceptional quality characteristics, still unknown to the consumers.

Buy Shorthorn beef in our organic meat shop.

Black Pig

The Greek black pig breed originated in ancient Greece. Evmeos, Ulysses’ loyal shepherd, reared this breed in his farm. Alexander the Great made sure to take the black pig breed with him to ensure proper and balanced nutrition for himself and his men during his military campaign throughout Asia.

The Greeks brought the black pig to the colonies of South Italy and Sicily; hence, the origins of the well-known prosciutto in those areas. Moreover, the indigenous black pig breed gave birth to the popular iberico jamon (Ιberian ham).

The indigenous black pig is the most ancient breed that became domesticated in Greece. It was also the most popular breed until the 60s. The black pig native population almost became extinct, one more consequence of the migration that depopulated the Greek rural areas.

Indigenous black pig breed is resistant to various weather conditions and to a majority of diseases. Black pig breeding is extensive and the animals are born and live freely but with relative control in their natural habitat surrounded by native vegetation of oak, beech, chestnut trees, potato fern, grass, etc., maintaining their well-being.

The producer intervenes vitally in the organization and feeding of the animals with simple foods such as corn, grains, legumes, etc., with the sole disadvantage of slow growth, but with the major advantage of a prime quality, tasty and nutritionally superior meat.

The apparently redder meat has slightly more fat (however less intramuscular) and is juicier than the widespread pork meat. This fat contains up to 50% monounsaturated fatty acids, such as α-linoleic acid. Βlack pig meat contains ω3 and ω6 fatty acids, considered among the healthiest animal fats, and more protein.

Buy black pig in our meat shop.


Water buffaloes arrived in Greece from Asia during the campaign of Persian king Xerxes. They were used by the soldiers for transport due to their special strength and endurance. In the 1960s-1980s, the buffalo population in Greece decreased dramatically; however, since then until today, a very important effort has been made to promote the species and support buffalo breeders. It is worth mentioning that water buffaloes as endangered species are listed as protected wildlife by the Ramsar convention.

These unique, vigorous and robust animals live and grow in a natural environment. They resist living in captivity and can form lasting bonds with humans. Buffaloes are healthy, resilient and adaptive mammals. They are considered aquatic animals as they love mud and water, which protect them from insects. They coexist with various birds and other species that reside in the scenic lakes of Greece, thus composing a beautiful landscape for visitors.

Buffalo meat, intense and rich in flavor, has high nutritional value. 100 g of buffalo meat amount to 130 kcal. Corresponding amounts of calories for beef amount to 260-300, for lamb 241 and for turkey 323. Iron level of buffalo meat is at 2-3%, while iron level of calf reaches only 0.3%. Buffalo meat contains twice as much iron as beef, less fat, calories and cholesterol than chicken. When buffaloes are grown and fed properly, their meat tends to be tender and delicious.

According to the US National Academy of Sciences buffalo may become one of the main sources of meat supply, although buffalo breeding exclusively for meat production has been practiced only recently.

Buy buffalo meat in our meat shop.