Harz red cattle

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Harz cow
Harz red cattle

The Harzer Rotvieh or Harzer Rote Höhenvieh , as it is correctly called, is a monochrome red breed of cattle from the Harz region and is probably one of the oldest and most original breeds of livestock .


This breed of cattle came from the red cattle breeds of southern and central Germany and probably goes back to the red monochrome Germanic-Celtic cattle. From this an independent breed of cattle developed under the conditions of the Harz low mountain range .

This breed of cattle was a three-purpose cattle, ie suitable for milk production , meat production and for pulling performance.

In the 1950s, this breed of cattle was crossed with bulls of the Red Danish Dairy Cattle breed to increase milk yield. Later, anglers in particular cattle were crossbred. So the Harzer Rotvieh was only a variant of the Angler cattle since 1980.

In the mid-1980s, existing animals of the old Harz red cattle (which, however, had already crossed other breeds) were used to build up the new population of the red height cattle .

The Harz red cattle is threatened with extinction . In 1996 there were still 360 cows listed in the herdbook .

Special features

  • medium size
  • dewlap drooping far
  • light to pink-colored muzzle (cow nose)
  • solid red-brown fur
  • Light horns with black tips
  • light to white tail tassel
  • dark and hard claws

Cattle farming

The livestock husbandry in the Upper Harz consisted mainly of small farmers , mostly miners , with one to three cows in their herd. Only a few could afford more animals and the necessary space as well as the raw materials to care for the animals due to their better position. The miners only had small houses with corresponding stables, often without their own access, which is why the animals were led through the hallway via the house entrance onto the street (a popular postcard motif).

In most municipalities, the animals were herded to the pastures from the first Sunday in May to Bartholomäi on August 24th or Martini on November 11th - depending on the law and weather conditions. The cowherd in charge went through the towns in the morning and led the animals to pasture . In the evening they were brought back to the places where they found their way back to their stables partly independently through the open doors.

regional customs

Since the animals were particularly wild after the long winter months, they were first driven to a pasture near the respective village in spring. During this first shoot, the herd was accompanied by interested parties and festivities were held at the pastures.

The meadow blossom festival that takes place in Sankt Andreasberg , following the first cattle shoot every year, did not come about until the end of the 20th century; this probably also applies to the cattle drive in Wildemann on Whit Monday .


  • Christoph Steingaß, AG Harzer Rotvieh (Hrsg.): Harzer shepherds, Harzer cows in the past, present and future? Paper plane, Clausthal-Zellerfeld 1998, ISBN 3-89720-139-9 .

Web links

Commons : Rotes Höhenvieh  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Harzer Rotvieh  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Breed description at EAAP-Animal Genetic Data Bank (English)
  2. a b c Christoph Steingaß (Ed.): Harzer Hirten, Harzer Kühe in the past, present and future? Paper plane, Clausthal-Zellerfeld 1998, ISBN 3-89720-139-9 , p. 16-18, 210-211 .
  3. Meadow Blossom Festival in Sankt Andreasberg on: Oberharz.de
  4. Viehaustrieb Wildemann on: Oberharz.de