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Published on 23rd June 2022 by staff

Heck Cattle

Heck Cattle

The Heck cattle are a domestic breed meant to be a reconstruction of the extinct wild auroch. They are not used for conventional purposes but instead in breed-back projects.

Physical CharacteristicsAthletic body, short legs, and long, curved horns
Temperament/PersonalityAggressive
Coat ColorThe bulls are black, and the cows are reddish-brown, with a light-colored saddle.
SizeSmall to medium
WeightMale: 600–900 kg Female: 400–600 kg
HeightMale: 140 cm Female: 130 cm
UsesBreeding-back projects
DietHay, protein meals, and grains like corn, soybeans, and wheat
Lactation Period305 days
Gestation Period284 days
Lifespan20 years
Climate ToleranceNative climates
PriceNot for sale
Country of OriginGermany

History and Development

Heck Cattle Bull

The Heck cattle were bred independently by the brothers Heinz and Lutz Heck in the 1920s and 1930s to re-introduce the now-extinct wild auroch. The duo believed that they could reconstruct the species from its various descendants. Lutz Heck used the Spanish fighting bull, while Heinz Heck used a lot more breeds, including the Brown Swiss, Highland cattle, and the Corsican cattle.

Heck Cattle Picture

However, the resulting breed was highly aggressive, with objections being raised about re-wilding the Heck cattle as it could have a substantial negative impact on the fauna in the area. Currently, there are around 2000 cattle present worldwide, in zoos and various conservation projects.

Milk Production

While they produce specific quantities of milk, they are not used for dairy purposes.

Meat Production

These cattle are not bred for meat.

Interesting Facts

Heck Cattle Images
  • Despite the initial idea behind the breeding of the Heck cattle being the reconstruction of the wild auroch, the resulting breed is not a perfect recreation of the auroch. This is attributed to a lack of knowledge about the auroch and the speed at which the brothers bred them.

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