What is the typical Valais cow breed?

The Hérens cow (pronounced érein) or eringer in German, is a Swiss cattle breed originating from the Val d'Hérens, in Valais.  A short-legged mountaineer, it easily climbs up to 3,000 meters in altitude. His ancestors were present in Valais around 3000 BC, as evidenced by a skull fragment found in the archaeological site of Sion.

Her dress is monochrome, dark red or black, chestnut. His head is wide and short, topped with a slightly lighter bun and a pair of black-tipped bicycle handlebar-shaped horns. She has a powerful neck and broad forehead, deep chest. Her limbs are short, making her a very stocky cow.

How are queen fights going?


Hérens cows belong to an old and traditional breed of Valais. They have a highly developed sense of hierarchy and a combative temperament. Their black dress, muscular body and short limbs give them a special charm.

During the inalpe (ascent to the mountain pasture) which takes place in the spring and since 1922, they have been engaged in combats which continue during their stay at the mountain pasture. The cow classified into categories (according to weight, age and number of calves)  must prove during the summer that she deserves to be decorated as a "queen" on the occasion of the désalpe (descent from the mountain pasture).

It is from this particularity that the tradition of queen fights was born, which attracts many breeders and spectators. Divided into several categories according to their age and weight, they fight instinctively in the arena. Cows that run away from their rival or lose their fight are eliminated. The fights take place under the supervision of the beaters to guarantee the well-being of the animals. The cows fight each other by pushing each other with their heads and horns but rarely hurt each other. A beast is defeated when it turns away from its opponent or refuses combat as a sign of submission.

During the afternoon, the strongest cow in each category is finally elected "queen". The queen fighting season ends in apotheosis in May with the National Final at Aproz in Valais, Switzerland. The finalists of the first four categories then fight for the title of “Queen of Queens”.

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