Within the EURECA project (Towards self-sustainable EUropean REgional CAttle breeds), we interviewed a total of 371 farmers of 15 local cattle breeds in eight European countries. Besides collecting data on farmers, land use, herd composition and economic role of cattle, we aimed at understanding farmers' motives and values in keeping local cattle. The most frequent first reason to keep the local breed was productivity, followed by tradition. When comparing the local breed with a mainstream breed, only in four breeds was productivity considered the same, while in three breeds more than 50 percent of farmers valued the local breed as more profitable. The local breed was valued as always superior or the same on functional traits. Farmers were asked which type of appreciation they thought representatives of various stakeholders had on their local breed: a positive appreciation was observed in 33 percent of farmers. On average across breeds, 39 percent of farmers expect to increase the size of their herd in the next few years and 5 percent plan to give up farming. The degree of dependence of farmers on economic incentives was estimated by asking farmers their expected behaviour under three scenarios of change of subsidies. Most farmers demanded activities for promoting local breed farming. The results are discussed in terms of breed sustainability and conservation.