Cattle breeds: Chiangus

Origin and history

In January 1972 the first Chianina × Angus calf was born on the Tannehill Ranch near King City in California USA. In 1976 the American Chianina Association established a Chiangus Register. By 1993 Chiangus had won more steer championships than had most other 100-year-old registered beef cattle breeds in their entire existence. The exceptional rise of Chiangus in the USA has now reached a point of all but total dominance of the major steer shows throughout the country.

A similar trend has emerged in Australia over the past several years:

  • In 1978 Chiangus steers won Champion and Reserve Champion at the South Australian Beef Carcase Competition.
  • In 1986 the Chiangus Stud Herd Book was opened in Australia, and in that year a Chiangus steer was Champion in Rockhampton, and the breed won the Champion Heavyweight Carcase and Grand Champion Steer in the Queensland Prime Cattle Championships.
  • In 1989, Champion Heavyweight Steer was achieved by Chiangus at the Royal Brisbane Show.
  • Numerous other ‘Hoof and Hook’ events have since been won by Chiangus.

Breed characteristics

  • Chiangus are black, polled or scurred Chianina × Angus cattle, having no less than one-quarter of either breed and no more than three-quarters of either breed.
  • Chiangus function well in hot, humid climates, and also have the ability to withstand extreme cold.
  • Bulls are large, fast-growing masculine animals of the Chianina type, but are, of course, black. They mature to a weight of 1200 kg at 3 years of age. They serve an above average number of cows and are prolific ‘calf-getters’.
  • Cows are large framed and well shaped, retaining their femininity. They calve easily, have an ample well-set udder, and raise fast-growing calves.
  • Steers are smooth well-muscled animals with a big butt and large eye muscle. They mature at an early age. The carcase is well suited for the local market at 6–8 months, and for the export market at 20–24 months.

Commercial application

The breed can be adapted to any breeding situation. The type and confirmation can be varied depending on the percentage of the bloodlines. The foundation cattle must either be full blood or upgraded Chianina, or straight-bred Angus. If straight-bred Angus are used as foundation animals, they do not have to be registered in the Australian Angus Herdbook. Crossbred Angus and percentage Chianina used in a Chiangus breeding program must be Chianina × Angus crosses.

When Chiangus bulls are used on cows of other breeds and crosses, an additional hybrid kick is achieved.

Further information

For further information about the Chiangus breed, contact:

The Secretary
Rose Schalk
Chianina Society of Australia
c/- ABRI
University of New England
Armidale  NSW  2351
Ph: (02) 6773 2242
Fax: (02) 6772 5376


This Agfact is based on information supplied by the Chianina Society of Australia. Their contribution is gratefully acknowledged.