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The Hinterwälder cattle are horned, small framed, noble and petite. They are the smallest cattle breed in central Europe. The animals are usually speckled, sometimes covered, and have a leathery yellow to red pigmentation. The head and the legs are always white and they have a long, deep torso and fine, dry limbs.

Direction of use

The primary use of this cattle breed concentrates, due to its high dressing percentage and its excellent meat quality, on beef production. They are also ideally suited as suckling cows. In addition, this breed is suitable for steep slopes because it causes little erosion damage. The Hinterwälder have low maintenance requirements, are not very prone to illnesses, are long-living, easy calving and well suited for farming in the Third World.

Statistics & Distribution

  • Austria: 300 animals
  • Breed proportion in Austria: 0.02%

The distribution of this breed concentrates on the higher areas of the southern “Schwarzwald”. Several herds can also be found in Switzerland and in Austria.


Ø Beef performance:

   Daily weight gain (g)
  200 days 365 days
M 1.145,00 n.a.
F 1.075,00 n.a.

Control farms (Herds): 2

Height (cm, Ø): 120

Weight (kg, Ø): 420

Animals in control farms: 39

Registered cows: 0

Origin: Schwarzwald (D)


Originally they were known in the right upper Rhine valley as “Deer cattle” and were forced back into the valleys of the southern “Hochschwarzwald”

19th century: Try to make the Hinterwälder more framed as a result of crossbreeding

1888: Establishment of the „Viehzuchtgenossenschaft für Wäldervieh“

1889: Establishment of the main breeding cooperative, first Herd Book

1905: Definition of a breeding goal

1914: The cooperative already has 1000 members

20th century: Decline in the population

1980: Import of a significant number of breeding animals to Switzerland by ProSpecieRara, the Swiss Foundation for cultural, historical and the genetic diversity of plants and animals