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Swiss Holstein - cow - Switzerland

Swiss Holstein
(most common name in English)

(most common name):
Holstein-Friesian
(transboundary/brand name):
• Holstein (black and white)
also named (German):
• Schweizerische Holstein
(historical breed name until 1991):
• Schwarzfleckvieh (German)
• Swiss Black Pied (English)
• Swiss Black Spotted (English)
• Tachetée noire (French)

In 1899, a herdbook for the Fribourg — Freiburger (German), Fribourgeoise (French) — was started in Switzerland. It was a dual-purpose black pied breed similar to the Simmental.

Laws concerning regional recognition of breeds in the 1940’s caused the Fribourg population to drop; inbreeding and lack of cows became a problem by the 1950’s. In 1951, two German Black Pied bulls were imported for experimental upgrading. This led to the import of more semen and illegal imports of calves and cows from Germany and France.

At this point, the breed was known as Schwarzfleckvieh. In 1966, the legal restrictions were removed. Use of AI and imported semen increased.

Also in 1966, Canadian Holstein semen was first introduced and, in 1973, 29,000 cows were inseminated with it.

By 1991, the breed had effectively become 97% Holstein and is now known as the Swiss Holstein. (The last purebred Fribourg bull expired in 1973.)

The Swiss Holstein has excellent milk production. However its percentage of the Swiss dairy population is around 13% due to its limitations in seasonal calving within the traditional Swiss pasture-based system.

This page was last updated on: 2020-01-02


You can also go to:

My Daily Cow® Switzerland and read about other Swiss cattle breeds.

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