How many breeds of cows are there

Cow project

Different races or types already existed among the original wild cattle. Evolution provided the right claws everywhere depending on the terrain, the most suitable coat length and ear size depending on the climate, the suitable digestion depending on the feed and the best time to bring calves into the world.

(Left picture: long fur of Scottish Highland cattle and a stocky build, adapted to the harsh environment)

The man who bred the animals subjected them to more and more adjustments according to his needs and will. Today in the industrialized nations it is mainly highly specialized cows that are kept for milk production and others for meat production. Beef cattle and dairy cows hardly look alike.

The so-called dual-purpose races are held in the same way for milk and meat. The original three-purpose races have only retained their importance in poor countries. They are used as workhorses for pulling plows or wagons or for carrying heavy loads.

Brown Swiss

The Braunvieh is a medium-sized and medium-weight breed of cattle from Switzerland. With this dual-purpose breed, milk is still in the foreground and here in turn the production of traditional cheese. The most important distribution area for the Brown Swiss is the Alps and the Allgäu. Because of their ability to adapt to climate and feed, there are Brown Swiss cattle in many herds of cows around the world. The breed of cattle, deliberately not bred for size in the Alpine region, became Brown Swiss in the USA. Brown Swiss is bigger and gives more milk than the Brown Swiss. The smaller, lighter Braunvieh, on the other hand, are better adapted to the conditions of the high mountains, the steep slopes, the sensitive vegetation and life on the alpine pastures. The milk from the Braunvieh is particularly suitable for making cheese.

Simmental cattle

Simmental cattle is a large, strong breed of cattle. Their origin lies in the Bernese Oberland, i.e. in Switzerland. Here this breed is called Simmental. The muscular Simmental cows weighing up to 800 kg (shift picture on the right) and the bulls weighing up to 1200 kg are spotted in red and white. In southern Germany, Simmental cattle is the most common breed of cattle. Overall in Germany, the Fleckvieh is the second most important breed after the black and white. Fleckvieh is a dual-purpose breed with a good milk production. The average cow gives 7000 liters of milk a year. Despite their size, Simmental cattle are adaptable and peaceful. Outside Europe, Simmental or Simmental is mostly kept as beef cattle.


Black and white spotted cows are the epitome of good dairy cows. The Schwarzbunte breed is a German export hit. Holstein cows are the most widespread breed of cattle worldwide. In Germany, too, their share of the total number of cows is 60%. However, they are usually no longer real Holstein cows. In the meantime the old North German breed has been replaced by the Holstein-Friesian breed which has been "improved" in the USA. Holstein-Friesian is a milk machine. This new pure Holstein-Friesian (HF) milk cow breed is also black and white. The HF cows are larger, longer-legged, less muscular and appear very thin. The average Holstein-Friesian cows produce 10,000 to 12,000 liters of milk per year. A very good Holstein-Friesian cow can produce over 16,000 liters of milk per year, individual cows twice as much. This is madness. Such high-performance cows are only 4 years old on average and have only two calves in their lifetime. Then they are completely done. As a comparison, imagine that teenagers with two children would die of emaciation.

90% of all milk worldwide is given by HF cows.



Angus cattle are a German beef cattle breed. Their uniformly black or red coloring of the fur and the genetic polledness are unmistakable, paired with a small head and a very long physique (toggle picture on the right: Angus Stier). Angus cattle are benign, undemanding and good feed converters. They can be fed extensively on meadows and pastures from the basic forage alone and are characterized by an excellent and sought-after meat quality. Angus cows are particularly suitable for suckler cow husbandry because they calve early and easily, are very fertile and very maternal. Angus calves, which are very small at birth, grow quickly.

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Different races in different landscapes ... more

The Hinterwald breed is also suitable for keeping suckler cows in steep terrain and for grazing in nutrient-poor locations.