The Swangus

The Swiss Angus - crossbred for quality, consistency, and docility

Swangus cattle are a heritage crossbreed between the Angus breed and both the Brown Swiss and Braunvieh breeds. These Swiss breeds are known for their hardy nature and large muscular frames. When paired with renowned Angus genetics and traits, the result is a nurturing, docile, maternal, and well muscled animal. 

The Cow Spectrum

To the novice person, a cow is simply a cow and the variety of breeds and purposes of these breeds is not widely known. Despite their similar appearances, different breeds are purposed for separate industries and require vastly different environments and accommodations in order to thrive. To best describe the various breeds and their traits we will use the following “cow spectrum.” At one end of this cow spectrum would be a typical dairy cow, and for this example, we will use the Holstein breed. At the opposite end would be a typical beef cow, and for this example, we will use the Angus breed. The following graphic will help explain the natural characteristics and care requirements of cattle from different industries.

DAIRY

BEEF

SWANGUS

the holstein

  • Naturally large in stature

  • Produce large amounts of milk

  • Requires a high level of care

The BROWn Swiss

  • Nurturing and motherly

  • Large body

  • Ample milk production

  • Calm disposition

  • Strong natural fortitude

  • Can survive in wider range of environments

  • Native to Switzerland 

The SWAngus

  • Known as the "Golden Cross" for exceptional beef quality

  • Large muscular body

  • Very nurturing

  • Rugged and tough

  • Able to sustain on a diet of foraging and grazing

  • Feed efficient 

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The BRAUNVIEH

  • Muscular body

  • Calm disposition

  • Healthy feet and legs

  • Even temperament

  • Adaptable to various conditions

  • Considered a true dual purpose (dairy / beef) breed in their native country of Switzerland 

The Angus

  • Compact and stocky body

  • Primary function is to raise a healthy calf 

  • Can adapt to a variety of climates

  • Able to sustain on a diet of foraging and grazing

The most interesting part of the cow breed spectrum that we have just described is the middle. The common ground that blurs the line between the industry specific breeds. Some of the breeds you will find in the middle are Shorthorns, Norweigin Reds, and Brown Swiss. The Brown Swiss, a descendant of the Braunvieh (German for “Brown Cow”) breed which is native to the Alps of Switzerland and arguably one of the oldest purebred breeds on earth. The Brown Swiss and Braunvieh breeds are known for their hardiness and strong nurturing abilities. Their natural fortitude gives them the ability to adjust to a wide variety of climates and environments. Dating back to the 1700’s in the Alps region, Braunvieh cattle were used for dairy production, beef production, and large adult cattle were used for draught work on the farm. Braunvieh were imported to the United States around 1870 where they were bred and raised primarily for dairy use. These cows developed into what is now known as the American Brown Swiss (declared a dairy breed in 1890). The Brown Swiss exists today as a prominent dairy breed with a unique set of traits and benefits. Braunvieh cattle, called Original Braunvieh by some, have continued to flourish as a beef breed throughout the world. They are renowned for their well balanced attributes and adaptability. 

Walnut Grove Farm strives to foster both the Brown Swiss and Braunvieh breed as they are incorporated into our Swangus cattle. Our Swangus offsprings represent a cohesive union of traits from these Swiss based breeds and the revered Angus breed. 

CROSSBREEDING FOR QUALITY

Crossbreeding cattle is certainly not a new idea, in fact with the exception of a few founding heritage breeds, many cattle breeds we know today have originated from a crossbreed. One of the most common reasons to crossbreed cattle is to achieve heterosis or “hybrid vigor”. This can simply be observed as lively and healthy animals. When two complementing breeds are crossed, the offspring naturally retains the positive traits from both original breeds. This results in healthier animals and avoids combing negative recessive traits that present themselves in pure breeding. Other positive influences are increased productivity, longevity, and feed efficiency. The particular cross breeding of the Swiss cow breeds with American commercialized beef cows has even been labeled the “Golden Cross” by some breeders. 

THE SWANGUS

Frame | Foundation | Fortitude

Now native to Walnut Grove, South Carolina, the Swangus is a harmonized cross of the highly optimized and efficient Angus and the time tested and maternal Brown Swiss and Braunvieh. The Swangus is known for its quality in the pasture and on the platter.

 

What started as an innovative pursuit for quality brood (adult mother) cows, has led to conceptualization and implementation of the Swangus breed. The selection of the Swiss breeds was made on the basis of their hearty nature and dairy heritage. The Brown Swiss and Braunvieh, in particular, allowed us to introduce dairy ancestry without sacrificing beef quality. Thanks to their unique composition and characteristics that seemingly defy the traditional dairy and beef breed norms. The introduction of this strong dairy foundation to the well established Angus breed results in improvements in the live cattle and their carcass quality. The dairy influence gives the Swangus females improved milk production over traditional beef cows. This additional nourishment for newborns results in stronger and healthier calves. These quality calves give our herd a strong foundation for many generations to come. 

 

Along our journey, the inherent benefits of Swangus beef were also realized. Enhanced muscling from the Swiss genetics coupled with the unprecedented traits of the Angus gives us efficient gains on live animals and superb marbling in the beef. This renowned marbling makes for a tender and flavorful end product. From larger than average ribeyes to our top quality ground beef, taste the Swangus difference for yourself!