Originating in Salzburg, Austria, The Pinzgauer is a domestic breed of cattle which has multiple uses.
The first mention of the breed in record books was back in 1846 when the breed was first officially listed. In it’s prime, the breed was amongst the most popular in Hungary and Austria. By the year 1890, the Pinzgauer population had grown to a whopping 101,880 head in Bavaria alone, though after World war one it witnessed massive declines. By 1930 there were just over 85,000 head remaining in the area and less than 1.3million across the globe.
It is thought that these cattle descend from a single, almost totally white calf that was born in 1834 in the Tyrol area. The Pinzgauer breed is now considered to be endangered, with population decreases of approximately 10% per year.
A large breed, they were once used for draught practices due to their strength. At full maturity, cows can weigh up to 700kgs, while bulls can weigh in excess of 1,100kgs! This is what makes the breed best suited to beef production.
They generally have smooth coats, while they are usually chestnut brown in colour. This brown colour usually covers the sides, while their tails, udders, undersides and backs are usually white.
It is rare, though in the past the breed could even be found in black, though this is virtually unheard of nowadays. The breed is horned, which was the only real scientific difference between the Pinzgauer breed and the similar Jochberg Hummel breed.
A very docile breed, they are also very hardy and disease resistant! This is due to their russet coat, which also acts as protection from UV rays, while they have flexible skin to prevent parasitic attacks. They are also a very fertile breed with excellent maternal instincts. They produce plenty of highly nutritious milk for their calves, which enables them to grow quickly.
The breed was once a popular triple-purpose breed, having been used for milk, beef and draught purposes.
Although once used for milk production, their milking abilities do not compare to the more popular dairy breeds. When used in the dairy sector, the breed is usually crossed with Red Holsteins as this has been found to improve their milking qualities.
Meat-wise, they are used due to the superior flavour of the meat. It is also noted as having excellent marbling and is very succulent. Some studies carried out recently found that Pinzgauer meat equals the Simmental equivalent for carcass weight and daily weight gain. The quality of the carcass is without question, with a 57.1% dressing percentage. The beef is also ranked high for redness, which suggests superior flavour, meat-quality and tenderness.
A triple-threat in every sense of the word, though now solely sought after for its excellent meat quality. The Pinzgauer still continues to thrive to this day.