Swedish Friesians are black with white markings. They stand 145–150 cm tall at the withers and weigh around 600–650 kg when fully grown. The breed yields high levels of milk. The cows have many calves, and are characterised by a calm temperament.
About the Swedish FriesianScientific name:
Even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla)Family:
Hollow-horned animals, domesticated animals (Bovidae)Weight:
700 kgHeight at the withers:
150 cmSexual maturity:
1–1.5 yearsBreeding season:
All year round, but usually in the autumnGestation:
9 monthsNumber of young:
PlantsNumber in Sweden:
Approx. 50 cows
Origins in Germany and the Netherlands
Swedish Friesians were originally imported from German provinces and the Netherlands as part of an effort to increase milk production in Sweden during the 1870s. They were mainly imported into the southern parts of Sweden.
Initially, these imports consisted of typical dairy cows. In Sweden, a cow was bred with shorter legs and a broader body than the cow that characterised the original Swedish Friesian cow. In the 1970s, Sweden began importing Holstein Friesian cattle from the United States. This large cow has a different udder shape. The Holstein Friesian cow has changed the appearance of the Swedish Friesian breed, but has also increased its milk production.
Mixed with Holstein cattle
Importing North American Holstein bulls and using them in breeding has meant that only a very small number of cows of the old Swedish Friesian type now remain. In total, there are only about 300 cows and heifers that have not been mixed with Holstein cattle to any significant degree, and there are only about fifty cows in Sweden that are completely original Swedish Friesians.
Native breeds are populations of domesticated animals that have lived for so long in the same area that they have adapted to the local environment and its specific conditions. Swedish native breeds have declined in number, but there is a growing focus on efforts to preserve them as they are an important genetic resource and part of our cultural heritage.