Cows of Switzerland – Part 3

Swiss cows are essential part of Swiss culture and landscape – so important, it is hard to imagine Switzerland without its cows. Did you know more than 700.000 cows live in Switzerland? Here are some of those amazing animals I’ve had a pleasure to meet on my trips around Switzerland accompanied with some interesting facts about them:


  • The most common cow breeds in Switzerland are Simmental cattle, Brown Swiss cattle, Holstein cattle and Eringer cattle.

Melchsee Frutt

  • The Eringer breed, also nicknamed “Swiss fighting cow” is used in traditional cow fights held in canton Valais.


  • The most popular names for the Swiss cows are Fiona, Bella, Nora, Sina and Nina.

Enroute to the Tällihütte, Grimselwelt

  • Average Swiss farmer owns 25 dairy cows, which is low compared to other countries: in the USA average farmer owns 187 cows, and in Italy 46.


  • Average Swiss farmer in the mountainous areas owns 20 dairy cows, while the farmer in the flatlands 29 cows.

Brienzer Rothorn

  • About 53% of milk is produced in the valley areas of Switzerland while 47% in the mountainous areas.


  • Swiss farmers hang bells around their cows’ necks to make it easier to find them in Alpine pastures. Even some concerns about the impact of the volume of the bell-ringing on the well-fare of the animals has been made, it doesn’t seem Swiss will soon give up this tradition. They perceive cowbells as an essential part of their culture. A Dutch woman was even refused her request for Swiss citizenship because of her campaigning against cowbells.


  • On average, one Swiss cow drinks daily cc. 50-100l water and eats 70-100 kg of fresh grass (15-20 kg of hay in the winter), 2 kg fodder (grains) and 200g salt.


  • On average Swiss cow gives daily between 20 and 25l of milk.

Melchsee Frutt

Sources: Swiss Milk, FDFAThe Local, Rick Steves.



35 thoughts on “Cows of Switzerland – Part 3

  1. thoughtsallsorts says:

    Great post. There’s something special about hearing those cowbells in Switzerland. When I was up the Rigi in June I found one of those “loungers” and just chilled out listening to bells in the distance. Was just relaxing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Noelle says:

    I have some of those cowbells in my house – they are definitely an important part of Swiss culture (my family is Swiss!). Love the photos… those cows have an amazing view!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Clare Thomson says:

    What an interesting post, Urska. I love your pictures and facts about cows in Switzerland. I grew up surrounded by cows in Wiltshire so really enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kat says:

    It’s true, I can’t imagine Switzerland without cows. But what, how and why some people think that the bells are a danger to the cows?? Pardon me for my ignorance but it’s not like the cows are tortured or chained like the elephants, so I fail to see the linkage between volume of the bells and harming the cows. Anyway, good post to share, at least now I know more about cows 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Urska - Slovenian Girl Abroad says:

      Thank you Kat. 🙂 Apparently, the volume of the bells is so loud, if a human would be exposed to it for 8 hours a day would have significant health consequences. Considering the cows are more sensitive to sound than humans the high volume of the bells definitely effects them. Especially if they have to wear bells for a longer periods. ETH Zürich made a study which discovered the negative effect of wearing bells on cows’ eating behaviour. When they wore bells they eat less.


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