The Miura Bulls

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The Miura Bulls

Miura Bulls

Hannah Ryan

Known as “ganaderia miura” in Spanish, the Miura bull is a famous breed of Spanish fighting bull. The Miura bull is bred from a cattle ranch in the province of Seville, which was originally owned by Don Eduardo Miura Fernandez, where the breed gets its name from. A bull from the ranch was first put in a bullring in Madrid on the 30th of April 1849, and still today the Miura bull ranch has a reputation for producing large and aggressive bulls.

The bull ranch is on the 600 hectare Zahariche estate, where the Miuras family has been raising Spanish fighting bulls for over 120 years. According to its current owners, the ranch aims for “quality, not quantity” in breeding its famous bulls. These bulls are a mix of other species, and come in a range of colours. A miura bull is well known to be very agile, clever and one of the most difficult species to fight in the bull ring.

Over their years of prominence in the Spanish bullfighting world, there have been several bulls of this breed who have made a name for themselves in popular culture. Several of the famous Miura bulls include Murcielago. In 1879, after surviving a huge 24 picador jabs, the crowd was so impressed with this bull that the matador spared his life. Both Reventon and Islero killed bullfighters; in 1943 in Mexico, Reventon killed Felix Guzman, and the well known matador Manolete was gored by Islero and died after his femoral artery was severed.

The Miura bulls are also used in the “running of the bulls” festival in Pamplona, in the north of Spain. At the 1977 San Fermin festival, a 17 year old was killed by one of these ferocious Spanish bulls, and in 2009 ten ‘runners’ in the celebrations were hospitalized. However, between 1980 and 1995 there was not one single goring from a Miura bull recorded and most runs are completed safely.

These ganaderia miura bulls are also prominent in popular culture. The name “Miura” is known even outside of bullfighting, as Lamborghini has named several classic sports cars after this species, and even after specific famous Spanish fighting bulls, like the ones mentioned above. In fact, it has been rumoured that it was a visit to the Miura bull ranch that led the famous car maker to use a bull as his brand’s symbol. Ernest Hemingway wrote about these bulls in Death in the Afternoon, praising their “marked ability to learn from what goes on in the arena”. Even the matadors themselves know never to turn their back on these bulls.

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