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Allgäuer -cow- Germany

(most common name)

local/other name (English):
• Allgäu
(historical breed name):
• Allgäuer Schlag
• Allgäuer Dachs

The Allgäuer originated in the oldest breeding area of Grey Mountain cattle — the Allgäu Alps, which are located in Bavaria in Germany, and Tyrol and Vorarlberg in Austria.

Over the 1600s and 1700s, the Allgäuer was described as being small and elegant, having a high milk yield and good fertility, health and longevity.

By 1800, these triple-purpose cattle were not only being raised in the Allgäu Alps of southern Germany but also in pastures continuing south through Austria and into Upper Italy.

By 1830, dairy farming was beginning to flourish and expand rapidly. Over the next several decades milk production overtook beef production.

Even so, the Allgäuer breed was becoming increasingly displaced because of:
• the importation of other breeds of Brown Mountain cattle from Austria and Switzerland
• competition for pasture
• heavy cattle sales that resulted in a lack of their own offspring to refresh their numbers
• devastating losses due to rinderpest (cattle plague) from 1857 to 1866

In 1893, when the dairy and livestock industry of the Allgäu Alps was severely in distress, the Allgäuer Herdebuchgesellschaft (AHG; Allgäuer Herdbook and Breed Society) was founded in Kempten (in Swabia, Bavaria) by Baurat Josef Widmann and his companions. They decided to not only target the importation of good breeding animals from Switzerland, but also the breeding of young cattle.

The heavy use of Swiss bulls caused the Allgäuer breed to be completely reformed. It was finally absorbed by the German Brown, thus rendering it essentially extinct by 1900.

However, ‘Allgäuer’ as a singular breed name was still used until the 1940s and, currently, a few breeders from the Allgäu Alps are still maintaining German Brown cattle free from American Brown Swiss blood. These cattle are known as Braunvieh alter Zuchtrichtung (Allgäuer Original Braunvieh).

This page was last updated on: 2023-05-13

You can also go to:

My Daily Cow® Germany and read about other German cattle breeds.

The Cow Wall® A-Z Cattle Breed Picture Reference to see other breeds of cattle in the world.