Hérens cows

A native breed

Robust, well adapted to the climate and to the topography of the country, the cow of the Hérens breed is a true symbol of mountain life in the canton of Valais.
This native breed originated in the Val d’Hérens, hence its name. A mountain animal with short legs, it can easily climb to 3,000 metres altitude.

Combat of the Queens

Cows from the Hérens breed have a lively and aggressive nature. Every spring during the climb to the high mountain pastures, they fight each other relentlessly, horn locked against horn. The cows are not trained for this, these confrontations are quite natural. The strongest one, “the queen”, will walk at the head of the herd during the summer.

This aptitude has given birth to the organisation of the “Combat of the Queens” which attract numerous stockbreeders and keen spectators. They take place in the plains, before the climb to the mountain pastures and also in the pastures themselves. The cows are taken away in groups and divided according to their age and weight on a relatively flat grassy area. There they will choose amongst themselves each of their opponents and stop the fight when the defeated one turns away.

The winner will go and fight another one. Injuries during these fights are extremely rare.

At the end of the day, the cow which has not been defeated is crowned queen. She is the one who will lead the herd to the pastures, until another one comes and tries to dethrone her….

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