The origins of Braunvieh cattle are traced back to central Europe, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where the breed was developed for centuries. Records trace back to 800 B.C as Braunvieh cattle are descendants of short-horned, neo-lithic cattle known as the Auroch. During the 18th century, major development of the breed occurred in the mountain valleys of Switzerland In the late 1800's, stock was exported to the USA, which would later emerge as the Brown Swiss. ‘Braunvieh' is a German term that translates to ‘brown cow'.
Braunvieh cattle were first introduced in Australia after 1972, when import bans had been revoked. A breeding program ensued using Braunveih semen, and the first purebred was born in 1984. Live cattle did not actually enter the country until 1989 (coming from New Zealand). Since then, cattle, semen and embryos have been imported from Canada, Denmark, Switzerland and the United states, allowing the Australian Braunvieh population to flourish.
Braunvieh cattle have medium-sized frames and long bodes. Typically, mature females will weigh around 700 kilograms, while mature males will generally weigh between 1000 and 1100 kilograms. Coat colour is shades of grey and brown with cream markings on the ears and/or muzzle. Although the breed is naturally horned, polled or dehorned animaled are also acceptable.
Braunvieh cattle are known for the efficient feed conversion, high return carcase weight, sound bone structure, climatic adaptability, high milk production, early maturity, and maternal ability. Climatic adaptability is achieved by their sleek, fine coat during warm times, that can develop into a heavy coat in response to colder temperatures. These traits have made this breed an ideal candidate in cross-breeding programs. For example, Braunvieh have been crossed with Brahman cattle to create Braunbra cattle.
The Australian Braunvieh Association was incorporated in 1994 after the Australian Brown Swiss and Braunvieh Association had been restructured - which had been established in 1974.
Braunvieh cattle are distributed throughout Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, South Africa, India, Canada, France, Yugoslavia, Russia, Mexico, North and South America.