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The cows are small, only 115 to 125 centimetres (45 to 49 in) tall and weighing 380 to 480 kilograms (840 to 1,060 lb), making them the smallest breed of cattle still extant in Central Europe.[full citation needed] The head is mostly white, the remainder of the coat being pied light yellow to dark red-brown. Having been bred to cope with extreme conditions, such as cold winters, steep pastures and a frugal diet, they are well adapted to the Alpine climate. They are used for both beef and milk production and are noted for their thriftiness, longevity and lack of calving difficulties.
These qualities have led to a significant rise in the number of Hinterwald cows in the Swiss Alps since the introduction of a breeding programme initiated by Pro Specie Rara, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of endangered domestic species. However, the breed is still endangered. The government of Baden-Württemberg pays husbandry bonuses to conserve it.
The breed was "Domestic Animal of the Year" in Germany in 1992.
- Pro Specie Rara (German, French, Italian)
- Oklahoma State University breed description
- Macaulay Institute study of Black Forest farming
- Gefährdete Nutztiere - Informationen der Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen e.V.
- Informationen eines Landwirtes
- Etliche Fotos von Tieren der Rasse Hinterwälder Rind