Gelbvieh Cattle: Origin of a Cattle Breed

The Gelbvieh cattle is a German bovine breed, originally from Franconia in the North of Bavaria. This breed is the result of crosses made in the 18th century between the  Holstein, Deutsches Rotbunte, Simmental, and Brune. The characteristics of the race that was wanted to obtain were defined in 1872, of uniform color, strength and good capacity to work. In World War II, Danish Red blood was introduced.

They are good producers of milk and meat, it is used as a double-purpose animal with the highest meat yield. It is also called “Blonde of Germany” and in the United States “German yellow”. In the nineteenth century the intensification of agriculture made in this hilly area and heavy soils the need to use draft animals, strong and good capacity for walking.

Gelbvieh Cattle

From 1810 on the initiative of some large farms, a cross was starting between some races. The most effective influence came from a unicolor bovine from the Heilbronn area and from the Simmental breed. The Charolais and Shorthorn breeds were also used. You may also like to read Angus Cattle.

Characteristics of Gelbvieh Cattle

This biotype produces channels according to market demands. Young animals, with the weight at the time of sacrifice of up to 380 kg. And a cherry red meat, with fine fibers and an excellent flavor. In intensive fattening based on balanced, you can gain a daily weight of 1,200 g on average. It has a uniform light brown coat like wheat and short horns. His mucous membranes are pink. It is medium in size, with good musculature and a robust skeleton.

Adult bulls weigh between 850 and 1100 kg, and adult cows weigh between 450 and 650 kg. They have a bone structure of good length, width, and depth. The bodily form is long, wide and deep; with back, loin and ankle well united and straight. The skeleton is broad, well defined and strong, which allows correct muscle insertion. In addition, the head is proportionally wide and deep, of a medium length, with good separation between the eyes.

The skin around them is thick, flexible and slightly wrinkled and pigmented. The nasal bone is oval, broad and strong. With a big nose, wide and strong, his lips are thick. There are state and mocha varieties. The neck of the Gelbvieh cattle is moderately short with well-developed muscles in the bulls and smooth in the cows. Joining harmoniously the head and the paddles. The skin of the neck is loose, with folds that go from the lower part of the jaw to behind the edge of the chest.


Gelbvieh cattle tend to be a hearty breed that can survive on less food than many other breeds of livestock. The types and quantities of foods are utterly dependent upon the climate, geographical location, seasonality, availability/cost in relation to forage quality as well as what is being grown nearby at any given time. Gelbvien cow’s diet typically consists primarily of hay and grains like corn or barley with supplemental feedings during winter months when grass production is limited by snowfall levels not allowing plants enough access to sunlight (the primary source) needed for photosynthesis


Gelbvieh cattle is used mainly to produce meat. Since it produces up to 650 kg. of live weight and 60% yield on average, low adiposity and a high portion of valuable cuts. In addition, the meat is a veined homogeneous and outstanding quality of meat. Another advantage is that the females of this breed are maternal, which is why they are highly appreciated.

This breed is also produced by its precocity, longevity, good temperament and high milk productivity. The latter ensures the development and weight of the calves. Which are above the average at the time of weaning. High milk production, good milking, udder couple and tense, high daily weight gain. In addition muscular channels, ease of birth, high fertility, good limbs, rapid growth and the maternal ability of this breed. There are many reasons to produce this breed.

Special Feature

The Gelbvieh cattle adapt to the different climatic and driving conditions. Its pigmentation protects it from strong solar radiation in tropical and subtropical regions. Strong limbs with dark and hard hooves. As well as good maternal characteristics. You may also like to read Galloway Cattle.

They convert it into a commercial crossing base with native species; as well as with Brahman, Nellore, Hereford, and Angus. The mestizo animals are earlier, more fertile and improve the growth capacity and daily weight gain during the waiting period. Gelbvieh cows are excellent mothers. Thanks to their genetic characteristics they are capable of producing more milk. Which is of better quality for its calves than most American and European breeds.

Producing a healthy calf and of good weight at weaning. However, the females do not have problems of difficult calving of large calves at birth. The good milk yield of the cows guarantees rapid development of the calves’ initiation. In addition to generating high weights above the average at the time of weaning. You may also like to read Charolais Cattle.

It also makes possible in some cases its use as nurses of a second calf. More and more substituted for the production of milk by dairy breeds of better performance. Also, its milk is used to breastfeed high-calving calves, sometimes crossed with purebred meat breeds. You may also like to read Hereford Cattle.


Gelbvieh is a cattle breed that originated in Franconia, Bavaria. They were originally known as “red-yellow Franconian cattle” and were developed from several local breeds including the Braunvieh, Simmental, Red Pied Cattle of England, Marbled White of Scotland, Brown Swiss and Ayrshire. If you have any questions about this article or want to learn more about Gelbvieh please let us know!

As a reference: Wikipedia

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