Kranky Kids® home page
My Daily Cow®
Algarvia - cow - Portugal

German Brown
(most common name in English)

(most common name):
(transboundary/brand name):
• Brown Swiss
(local/other name):
Deutsches Braunvieh

The German Brown originated in the Allgäu Alps and descended from three ancient native grey-brown breeds:
• the Allgäu (Allgäuer) - from South-Central Germany and in the Vorarlberg area in Austria
• the Württemberg Brown (Württembergisches Braunvieh) - from South Württemberg, Germany
Tirol Grey Brown Mountain (Graubraunes Tiroler Gebirgsrind) - from several valleys on the border of Germany and Austria

From 1857 to 1866, Europe suffered devastating losses due to rinderpest (cattle plague). Starting in 1893, Swiss bulls were specifically imported into Germany for breed improvement.

In 1926, a consortium of breed societies decided to combine the above three breeds and, along with the continued use of Swiss Brown bulls, developed the German Brown.

In 1949, the use of artificial insemination began in the German Brown; artificial insemination provided better utilization of valuable bulls and also reduced breeding costs.

In 1966, due to changing economic conditions, Brown Swiss bulls from North America were brought in for breeding towards a larger, more milk-centered duo-purpose breed without losing sight of its meat output.

By 1982, the German Brown genetically consisted of over 50% Brown Swiss blood.

As of 2017, the German Brown is Germany’s version of the Brown Swiss.

However, a small group of breeders is continuing to breed the Original German Brown with support from the state.

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.