Their origin in the French Pyrenees with its harsh climate and limited low quality forage has led to the selection of cattle whose qualities include:

Ease of calving and production of one calf per year
Production of calves with good beef conformation and good growth rates
Efficient feed conversion rate
Suitability for crossing

The Gascon is officially classed as a medium-sized, hardy suckler cattle breed. The cows are grey in colour, while the calves are born red, turning grey at around 4 months of age. The bulls are grey, shading to black underneath.