Heck Cattle Characteristics & Breed Information
9948 Heck Cattle Characteristics & Breed Information

Heck Cattle Characteristics & Breed Information

Heck Cattle Characteristics & Breed Information

The Heck cattle are a hardy breed of domestic cattle which are raised for grazing projects, in zoos and for agricultural works. The breed is a result of an attempt to breed back the extinct aurochs from modern aurochs-derived cattle in the 1920s and 1930s. But there are considerable differences between Heck cattle and the aurochs. The breed originated in Germany in the attempt to breed back domestic cattle to their ancestral form. Heinz and Lutz Heck independently started their extensive breeding-back programs. Their motivation behind that was to rescue the aurochs from oblivion. Because it was constantly confused with the wisent which is other large bovine of Holocene Europe.


Heck Cattle Characteristics & Breed Information

Heck Cattle Characteristics

Heck cattle are small to medium sized animals and they are bulky like many other domestic cattle breeds. They have shorter legs and trunk much longer than in the aurochs. Their head is comparatively small and short. Both bulls and cows usually have horns. And horns of the Heck cattle are curved upwards and outwards. The bulls are of overall black color with a light eel stripe and cows displaying a reddish-brown color.

Although some bulls may have a light saddle on the back. And the gender dimorphism in color is unclear in most cases. Cows and bulls may have a dark color with a lightly colored saddle. Black cows appear regularly and also lightly colored bulls are not rare. Average height of the heck bull is about 140 cm and about 130 cm for the cows. The mature cows on average weight between 400 and 600 kg. And average live body weight of the mature bulls vary from 600 to 900 kg.


The Heck cattle are not used commercially for milk or meat production. They are used in grazing projects, in zoos and agriculture.

Special Notes

Heck cattle are very strong and hardy animals. They demonstrate a high amount of heterogeneity, higher than in any wild animal or most other domestic cattle breeds. They are well adapted to a wide variety of climates. They are capable of coping in the wild with very cold temperatures or nutrient-poor food. They are comparatively aggressive in temperament. Currently they are available in Europe, especially in the Central and Western Europe. However, review full breed profile of the Heck cattle in the following chart.

Heck Cattle | Breed Profile

Breed Name Heck
Other Name None
Breed Purpose Grazing projects, in zoos, agriculture
Special Notes Very hardy, active, well adapted to almost all climates
Breed Size Medium to large
Weight Bulls 600-900 kg
Cows 400-600 kg
Climate Tolerance Native climates
Coat Color Varied shadings of red, brown and black
Horned Yes
Milk Yield Poor
Rarity Common
Country/Place of Origin Germany

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