Braunvieh may be one of the oldest pure beef breeds in the world. Originating in the Swiss Alps, Braunvieh historically were developed as a dual purpose breed with selection emphasis for milk and meat quality at higher elevations. The Braunvieh Association of America was founded in 1984. The United States Herd Book began with imports of Swiss Original Braunvieh from Switzerland. Swiss Original Braunvieh are cattle deemed as pure in Braunvieh breeding by the Swiss Brown Cattle Breeders Federation, which means there is no American Brown Swiss blood. Braunvieh imported from Canada, Mexico and Europe have also contributed in the development of Braunvieh in the U.S. 

Braunvieh Brood Cow
However, the first Braunvieh imported to the U.S. occurred between 1869 and 1880 when 130 head were brought from Switzerland. These cattle were the genetic base used to develop the American Brown Swiss that, since the 1890s, has been selected for milk production. Braunvieh in the U.S. today can be confused with American Brown Swiss dairy cattle only in color, as the American Brown Swiss show a definite dairy phenotype while Braunvieh are well muscled and among the thickest of beef cattle.

A recent genotyping research project done by North Carolina State University found significant genetic distance between Braunvieh and Brown Swiss cattle with Braunvieh closer genetically to other European beef breeds originating in the Alps than they are to Brown Swiss.

Bear Lake Braunvieh