The basis of Kefalonian cheese making was and still remains its indigenous animal breeding. It must be considered certain that the evolution of the old family business scheme, which was practiced by the shepherds of Kefalonia, created a favorable environment for the flourishing of the art of cheesemaking on the island. It is therefore required to jointly study these two phenomena, in order to draw the right conclusions.
It is useful to mention some statistical data, from databases compiled by various conquerors of the island.
H. Tsitselis says that: “by conclusion and analogy, Partsch says that the island would not have more than 31,000 inhabitants in 1766… and the animals in each area were as follows: Horses for riding and agricultural work 190, plow ox 1211, heifers and cows 732, sheep 18,520 and goats 16,605, mules and donkeys 2424".
Even during the census of 1829, where the island’s population was 60,000 inhabitants, he says: "According to the statistics, the island then had 100,000 sheep, 700 plow ox, 1,000 mules and horses and 1,000 donkeys" and finally, according to an 1833 census, where the island’s population was 56,447 inhabitants, he says: "According to English statistics, from the island’s area, 8,000,000 square meters were cereal crops, 6,000,000 raisin plantations, 432,000 olive groves, 1,644,000 pasture and 189,786,000 were barren fields"
In every historical period, animal breeding has always been important in the area. All animal breeding businesses were family. And these businesses ensure the milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, wool and meat of the year. Throughout the years, and the advancements of technology, the conditions improved. However, even until today, this is a tiring and demanding profession. The simultaneous growth of cheesemaking and the increase in the demand for sheep and goats in the market, led the industry in the era of the European Union, where financial aid balanced the declining income of breeders. At the dawn of the 21st century, the local breeders faced many challenges and dangers amidst an ominous world milieu. The rise of shipping in the past, the rapid growth of tourism, and the emergence of competitive producers in the Balkans, combined with the complexities of the profession, seem to lead the traditional Kefalonian animal breeding to a dead end.