The breed originated from the Netherlands, it traces back to the Dutch landrace breed. Export began from the ancestors of the present-day version to North America in 1852. The dairy farmers on both continents have formed alliances, from 1880 on, so breeders could defend their interests. The past 150 years of breeding resulted in today's dairy Holstein-Friesian, the most common world type. This is the most common breed in modern large-scale milk production and ideal for unbound, group housing. It has the largest populations in Europe and North America. Cutting-edge genetic, biotechnology and computer equipment serve the already cooperating practitioners, researchers and farmers for development. Today, a broad international collaboration is taking place in the milk production of biological and technological modernisation. The Holstein-Friesian breeds’ selection are serving the needs of husbandry and feeding industry of very high international level.
Dominant colors are black and white pied. The red and white variation is inherited by a recessive manner. Some lines are characterised by the black-red color, where red coloration appears at the black base on the back, the ears and around the muzzle. The largest selection base population is, however, the black and white colored variety. Color variations between the individuals have no significant genetic differences in ability; the color is purely of formal significance. During the breeding different bloodlines are mixed continuously.
The adult cow has a shoulder height of around 140 cm and a body weight of 650-750 kg. The version held in large-scale milk production houses has a more moderate weight. The types bred for exhibition purposes belong to larger size ranges. The breeds’ body capacity and its strong chest, broad and deep body result in large production and high feed intake. In the initial phase of lactation, energy and protein need is particularly significant.
The structure of its leg is strong, but the hoofs need regular care. The udder and teats in the past decades was one of the most important breeding sublimation, therefore nowadays the breeds’ characteristics are proportional, balanced, it is easy to milk the udder, which is also suitable for automated milking. Breeding starts at an average of 350 kg live weight under 15 months of age. The age of first calving is from 24 to 26 months. The newborn calf body weight is 40-45 kg. Difficult birth rate is 8%. Birth process depends on the bloodlines, but is primarily a function of housing and feeding. The proper management and comfort of the cows is very important around the so-called transit period of calving.
Common dairy cow is usually producing 40 kg per day, which has its first newborn calf. The standardised milk production of adult cows is close to 10 000 kg with 3.5 to 4.0% fat and 3.2 to 3.5% protein content. Stocks with average production rates of 11,000 to 12,000 kg can be found in many countries. The breeding program puts emphasis these days on the increasing of the useful life span and lifetime production.