The Murnau-Werdenfelser is a composite of Oberinntal Grey, Brown Swiss and Murboden. The animals are yellow with a white rim around a dark muzzle and black pigmented mucosa. Adult females weigh on average 525 kg and have an average wither height of 128 cm. There are 152 females registered in the herdbook. The breed was declared endangered by FAO in 1983, when the herdbook counted 485 heads. Today, with 152 heads registered in the herdbook, the breed is still considered in critical state. The Murnau-Werdenfelser is a very rustic cow that adapts easily to heath and marsh terrains. This breed also has a notable capability for breeding with a high birth rate. The average age reached by this breed is around 7 years (which contributes to environmental sustainability): this means that it lives longer than other breeds, due to the fact that Murnau-Werdenfelser is more resistent to illnesses, therefore antibiotics and medicines are not needed. Around 1870, in Garmisch district, there were 62,000 head of Murnau-Werdenfelser cattle, but the introduction of modern technologies in Bavarian lower Alps and the breed’s low milk yield led to a sharp decrease in population to the present-day 350 heads spread over 130 farms. Due to the low economical conditions of the farmers , the Murnau-Werdenfelser was utilized for milk and farm labor, and its meat was not eaten till the animals were no longer highly productive, that is, when they were old. The meat has an intense taste and was used to prepare soups and boiled meat.This cattle is a typical breed from the Werdenfelser Region, in the Bavarian Pre-Alps.
Image: © Stefan Abtmeyer