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Holsteins are bred in the shades of black-white and red-white. They can also be solid black, red or white coated. The eyes are always surrounded by pigmented skin. In recent years, the proportion of white skin areas and white markings on the head has grown. The body is long and wide and equipped with a characteristic body depth. Holsteins have a fine skeleton, fine limbs, flat bones and they are horned.

Holsteinkalbinnen auf der Alm

Direction of use

Holstein Friesian and Red Holsteins are high-performance cows and have their focus on milk. Their functional, easily milkable udders enable high daily performances over many lactations and meet the requirements of modern milking technology.

The breed is perfectly suited for high-milk production and is characterized by its special adaptability to all types of livestock farming in the dairy sector.

The current breeding goal consists of 45% milk, 40% fitness and 15% fitness. The aim is to breed an efficient dairy cow that is available over many lactations and that satisfies the housing conditions in question. The requirements for this are a good adaptability, a high feeding capacity, good health, good fertility and a good fundament. The genetic performance potential should be at least 10,000 kg milk with 4.0% fat and 3.4% protein.

Statistics & Distribution

Worldwide: 30 mill. registered cows (Herd Book)- 100 mill. animals

Europe: 15 mill. registered cows 

Austria: 125,000 animals

Breed proportion: 6.3%

Holsteins are spread worldwide and they are proportionately the largest dairy breed.


Ø Milk performance: 8,483 kg – 4.09% F – 3.27% P (305 days)

Ø Beef performance:

  Daily weight gain (g)
  200 days 365 days
M 1.043,20 1.092,00
F 1.083,00 664,8

Control farms (Herds): 4,949

Height (cm, Ø): 150

Weight (kg, Ø): 775

Animals in Control farms: 85,102

Registered cows: 41,587

Origin: USA, Canada


1930   Establishment of the first breed association in Upper Austria

1965   Establishment of a breed association in Carinthia

1971 Establishment of the „Arbeitsgemeinschaft Österreichischer Schwarzbuntzüchter“

2010: Introduction of genomic genetic evaluation for Holstein cattle