What is a Hinterwälder?

Breed History

The Hinterwald (German: Hinterwälder-Rind) is an old local breed of cattle from the Black Forest. There is a breed association in Germany and one in Switzerland. The scientific name is Bos primigenius f. taurus.


The cows are small, only 115 to 125 centimetres (45 to 49 in) tall and weighing 380 to 480 kilograms (840 to 1,060 lb), making them the smallest breed of cattle still extant in Central Europe. The head is mostly white, the remainder of the coat being pied light yellow to dark red-brown. Having been bred to cope with extreme conditions, such as cold winters, steep pastures and a frugal diet, they are well adapted to the Alpine climate. They are used for both beef and milk production and are noted for their thriftiness, longevity and lack of calving difficulties.


These qualities have led to a significant rise in the number of Hinterwald cows in the Swiss Alps since the introduction of a breeding programme initiated byPro Specie Rara, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of endangered domestic species. However, the breed is still endangered. The government of Baden-Württemberg pays husbandry bonuses to conserve it.


The breed was "Domestic Animal of the Year" in Germany in 1992.


Breed Characteristics

Through a century-long process of selection on extreme slopes, with an at times meager fodder supply, these sure-footed, healthy and easily satisfied animals came into being, a breed which in a comparison to body weight (ca. 350 to 450 kg) produces a substantial amount of milk (ca. 3200 kg). Also remarkable is its very fine-fibered flesh. Further characteristics of this fine-featured mountain cow are: good health, undemanding, fertility, easy calving, sure-footed in mountains, longevity and a good roughage utilization. In comparison to the high milkfat breeds, many fewer foot injuries are suffered in the back woods and mountainous regions. The animals are pale-yellow to red speckled, variegated or solid; the head is white, frequently with eye spots. The height of the whithers of the cow is approx. 118 cm, and of the bull 125 cm. 

Breeding Organization: Since 1983 Pro Specie Rara has built up a maintenance breeding program for the Hinterwald. In 1988 the Swiss Hinterwald Breeding Society was founded which today organizes the whole breeding program under its own direction. The main emphases of the activities consist of animal judging, milk production tests and the supply of breeding animals. The compiling of the breeding and herd book is the real centerpiece of its work.


Hinterwälders in New Zealand

Our Herd Lineage


Bull from Germany (AI)

Kaponga Dundee

Recent addition to the family, Dundee is a 15/16th Hinterwälder bull bred by Werner Gutt, the man originally responsible for getting us into breeding Hinterwälders.


Bull from Germany (AI)


Bull from Germany (AI)