Braunvieh in North America
The most asked question directed at most Braunvieh breeders is, "What is a Braunvieh?" or "What kind of a crossbreed is Braunvieh?" We hope to answer all the questions in this information.
Braunvieh first of all is not a crossbreed or a new breed developed using two or more breeds. On the contrary, Braunvieh may be the oldest pure breed on earth, with records dating back to 800 B.C. Recently, archeologists have found cattle bones among the ruins of the ancient Swiss Lake Dwellers similar to those of the present day Braunvieh. This would date these cattle in the region to the Bronze Age.
This is the docile breed associated with the scenic Swiss Alps. Development of the breed came into its own in the 18th century in the mountain valleys of Switzerland and production records on milk and meat performance were established in the 19th century. Today, roughly 40% of the cattle in Switzerland are Braunvieh and they have spread throughout the world. Due to their high performance and adaptability, Braunvieh are used in all major countries of the world. Braunvieh are found in over 60 countries extending from the Arctic Circle to the tropics at altitudes varying between 0 and 12,500 feet. World population of Braunvieh is over 7,000,000 head. Herdbooks are being kept by breeders' associations in 42 countries.
Approximately 130 head of Braunvieh were imported into the United States from Switzerland between 1869 and 1880. This was the basis for the development of the American Brown Swiss that was declared a dairy breed in 1890, and therefore became a different breed. American Brown Swiss have since spread to Canada, Mexico and throughout the world including Switzerland. In the mid-nineteen hundreds, Original Braunviehs were imported by Mexico where they have flourished as a beef breed. In Mexico, they are used in a commercial capacity to upgrade the beef characteristics of the indigenous Zebu cattle. There, separate herdbooks are kept for the cattle, sometimes referred to as European type Brown Swiss and American Brown Swiss.