Brown Swiss

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Brown Swiss


(also Schwyz), a breed of dairy and beef cattle. The breed was developed in Switzerland through the long-term selection of descendants of Shorthorn cattle brought there in ancient times. The animals are light gray to dark brown. A characteristic feature is the light coloring around the dark gray nose. The coloration is lighter along the upper torso, from the withers to the tail head. The males weigh 800–950 kg, sometimes reaching 1,200 kg; the females weigh 550–600 kg, sometimes reaching 800 kg. Calves raised for meat weigh 260–300 kg at the age of one year. The milk yield is 4,000–4,500 kg, with the most efficient cows producing more than 10,000 kg. The fat content of the milk is 3.7–3.8 percent.

The Brown Swiss was first imported into Russia in the mid-19th century to improve local breeds. In the USSR, it is bred for both milk and meat. By crossing local cattle from various regions with the Brown Swiss and by reproducing the crosses, large groups of brown cattle were developed that later became the basis for various indigenous breeds, such as the Kostroma, Alatau, Lebedin, and Caucasian Brown cattle.

The Brown Swiss is bred in the German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, and Czechoslovakia, in the countries of North and South America, and in southern Africa. In the USSR it is bred in the central part of the RSFSR and in the Northern Caucasus.


Vsiakikh, A. S. Shvitskaia poroda i melody ee sovershenstvovaniia. Moscow, 1970.
Skotovodstvo. Edited by E. A. Arzumanian. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.