Herens Cattle

The Herens cattle are a small sized and multi-purpose breed of cattle native to the Swiss Alps with a rage as far as Chamonix, at the foot of Mt. Blanc, in France.

It is among the old cattle breeds and named after the Val d’Hérens region of Switzerland. Total number of these animals have decreased since the Second World War due to a decrease in farming done in the higher mountain regions.

The Herens cattle are used primarily for meat production and cow fighting purpose, and also used for milk production purpose.

They were originally a sporting cattle breed with herd leaders received special care and are trained for the cowfight in which animals push against each other, head to head, until one backs away, the loser.

The Heren cows are well known for their high aggression, and currently cow fighting are a major tourist attraction in the Valais.

Blood typing shows the animals to be similar to the Tuxer breed from the Zillertal in Austria but distinct from other Swiss cattle breeds. A breeding standard was introduced for the breed in 1884, and a specialized breeding union was founded in 1917.

There is also a breed society in the United States. The Herens cattle were often cross bred with other cattle breeds in the alpine region.

Total population of the breed has decreased since the 1960s, and there were about 13,500 animals in 2000. Read more information about the breed below.

Table of Contents

Herens Cattle Characteristics

The Herens cattle are among one of the smallest sized cattle breeds in Europe. They are colored black, brown or dark red, often with a lighter stripe along the spine. Their fur is dark red to brown or black, with pied animals being very uncommon.

Newborn Herens calves are red with a dark stripe along the back, with the colors reversing as they grow. They have short and broad head with a concave front line.

Both bulls and cows have sporting strong horns and they are muscular. The cows typically reach a height of 118-128 cm, and the bulls about 125-134 cm. Average live body weight of the mature cows is about 500 to 600 kg.

And the bulls on average weight between 650 and 700 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


The Herens cattle are multi-purpose animals. They are used primarily for meat, cow fighting and also for milk production.

Special Notes

The Herens cattle are very strong and hardy animals. The cows are noted for their high aggression and used in cow fighting.

The animals are well adapted to the pasture in the Alpine altitudes. The breed was occasionally used to cross other cattle breeds in the Alpine region.

The Évolène, Tux and Pustertal Pied cattle may be partially related to the Herens cattle. They are very good for meat production and also for milk.

The cows on average can produce up to 2500 kg of milk per lactation. Review full breed profile of the Herens cattle in the following chart.

Breed NameHerens
Other NameValais, Eringer (German)
Breed PurposeMilk, meat, cow fighting
Special NotesVery hardy, active, well adapted to native climates
Breed SizeSmall
Bulls650-700 Kg
Climate ToleranceNative climates
Coat ColorBlack, brown or dark red, often with a lighter stripe along the spine
Milk YieldGood
Country/Place of OriginSwitzerland

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