Difference Between Holstein and Brown Swiss

There are a number of cattle breeds around the world. But when talking about the most famous ones, then the names of Holstein and Brown Swiss can be heard everywhere.


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Their popularity is a result of the unequalled yield of milk in a year. This even makes them very popular among cattle breeders as well as dairy owners.

Holstein vs Brown Swiss

The difference between Holstein and Brown Swiss is that while they both have a tremendous milk yield per year, the Holstein breed still has a slight upper hand in it over the Brown Swiss. The Holstein Breed stands in first place in the ranking list while Brown Swiss secures second place.

Holstein vs Brown Swiss

The Holstein breed of cow originates from the Netherlands. It has widespread popularity due to the quality as well as the amount of milk yielded per year.

It is also called the Holstein-Friesian cattle and is bigger, fuller and heavier than most of the cattle breeds out there.

The Brown Swiss cattle breed originates from Switzerland. To be very precise, they came from the Swiss Alps and gained great popularity due to a similar reason as the Holstein – substantial milk yield per year.

They have a beautiful brown and sometimes even silvery textured appearance. They are lighter and large but a little small compared to Holstein.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHolsteinBrown Swiss
OriginThe Holstein breed originates from the Netherlands.The Brown Swiss breed originates from Switzerland.
AppearanceHolstein usually has black and white spots.The Brown Swiss has a light brown or silvery appearance.
RankingHolstein tops the cattle breed chart.The Brown Swiss breed comes second after Holstein.
ButterfatHolstein milk has a 3.7% of butterfat.The Brown Swiss milk has a 4% of Butterfat.
SizeHolstein can be said to be larger and heavier than Brown Swiss.Brown Swiss is lighter and large in size.

What is Holstein?

The Holstein cattle breed unique and white live famous cow breed that has a lot of characteristics, making it the best cattle breed in the world. It originates from the Netherlands and is best known for its high milk yield in a year.

The tremendous amount of milk that the Holstein cattle breed yield every year help the daily owners as well as being a lot of ways.

Also known as the Holstein-Friesian cattle, this breed ranks first place in a worldwide chart of cattle breeds. With a bulky appearance, they are easy to identify due to the presence of black and white spots and reddish spots (although it is rare) on them.

The Holstein breed is quite large and so heavy that some of them can even weigh up to 580 kgs.

The Holstein breed is immensely popular among dairy owners due to a lot of reasons. Firstly, the breed yields so much milk that is enough to increase their sales by meeting more customers’ demands.

Secondly, the milk of Holstein cattle breed contains 3.7% butterfat which means that it can also be used to produce various other dairy products and increase their range of items to sell.

The breeders can make a lot of profit by breeding this high yielding cattle breed. 

What is Brown Swiss?

As the name suggests, the Brown Swiss cattle breed has its own differences from the Holstein breed. They originate from the Swiss Alps in Switzerland, and the harsh climate over there helped them gradually become adaptable to extreme climates and environments.

The Brown Swiss also ranks second in the milk production ranking, after Holstein. The Brown Swiss is a brilliant breed in terms of milk yield. They produce tremendous amounts of milk every year, just like the Holstein cattle breed.

Also, the butterfat content of Brown Swiss’ milk is 4% making it even more useful. The dairy owners prefer the Swiss Brown breed after Holstein. This high butterfat content also makes the Brown Swiss breed a magnificent cattle breed and a popular one too. 

It is pretty easy to identify the Brown Swiss breed due to their large bodies with a light brownish or silvery texture. They even have more ruffed ears than the Holstein breed.

Due to their friendly, docile nature, they become easy for rearing. Therefore Brown Swiss are preferred by cattle breeders more than Holstein since they are easier to breed and have no additional requirements for breeding.

Main Differences Between Holstein and Brown Swiss 

  1. Holstein basically originates from the Netherlands, while Brown Swiss originates from Switzerland (Swiss Alps).
  2. Holstein is way bulkier and massive than the Brown Swiss cattle breed, which is lighter and smaller in comparison.
  3. The Butterfat content of Holstein is only 3.7%, while that of Brown Swiss is 4%.
  4. To identify the breeds: Holstein has large and small black and white spots while Brown Swiss has a light brownish or silvery texture.
  5. On the one hand, Holstein comes first in the ranking of cattle breeds; on the other hand, Brown Swiss holds second place.
Difference Between Holstein and Brown Swiss


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00484-003-0194-y
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030269865938
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