The Black Simmental Breed of Beef Cattle
The Black Simmental possesses one of the more dominant hide colors
found among the American Simmental cattle breed. These cows have become more popular with ranchers, cattlemen and
small farmers after the cross breeding and insemination work during the 70s-90s. These large, stocky animals have
the shiny, black hides that clearly show the Angus line in their own lineage. The Simmental cattle breed was
derived from stock found in Switzerland and there are records of some Simmental cows being brought to the US shores
as early as the 1870s.
History of the Original Simmental Breed
The first evidence of a herd of known Simmental cattle is
recorded in herdbooks in Berne, Switzerland that date back to 1806. The Simmental had a red and white coloring and
has always been famed for its quick growth curve. This breed is also outstanding when it comes to producing milk.
The milk of the Simmental cow has a very high butterfat content, which can be used for drinking or to make large
amounts of high quality butter and cheese.
The Simmentals Fail to Attract American Attention
Although this breed of cattle has some very desirable qualities they failed to
make an impact on the American public during the early part of the 20th century. It was only as the 60s drew to a
close that the cattle farmers began to take a closer look at what these cows had to offer. Steve McGuire who works
at the American Simmental Cattle Association stated that “Characteristics of the Holstein and Angus breeds were
infused into the Simmental line.” This created the animals that became the foundation for the modern American
Simmental stock”. According to Mr. McGuire, “The Black Simmental has only become popular during the last 10-15
The Simmental is a Top Four US Cattle Breed
Now you will find a high number of Simmental cattle in any of the world’s
agricultural countries today; and this includes Canada and the United States. There are close to 100, 000 listings
that are registered each year in the official Simmental/Simbrah cattle books, and this breed is one of the top four
for cattlemen in the United States.
Characteristics of the American Black Simmental
The Black Simmental is separate from other Simmentals only because of its color.
This dominant gene was obtained through careful cross breeding and artificial insemination using many of the best
Simmental specimens. The heads of Simmentals are heavy and blocky with distinctively larger ears that set low on
their heads. These ears are one of the quickest ways for most people to differentiate between Simmental cattle
lines and stock that comes from other breeds. There are also several folds of hide in the dewlap and brisket body
areas of Simmentals that has a noticeably loose appearance. These body traits have been continued in the expansion
and production of the American Black Simmental line.
American Simmental –Different Color and No Horns
American Simmental breeds have some genetically transferred characteristics that
set them apart from their ancestors. One of these is the coloring of the animals. The original Simmental is red and
white but the US introduced other colors in their breeding program and today almost any color for the breed is
acceptable. The Black Simmental has the shiny, healthy color that is becoming more popular with many Americans.
This breed is also more resistant to “sunscalding” on the open range. The US breeders also used the dominant
“polled gene” and today this is what most ranchers want to see in the Black Simmental line.
According to Steve McGuire, of the American Simmental Association, the
Black Simmental is not an official registered breed. The term is only used to make references to the American
Simmental cattle that have this black coloring. It was the ASA that decided not to create a separate designated
listing; however, there are American Sim-Angus cows that are registered. To be registered as a member of the
Sim-Angus breed, the animal must be ¼ Angus and ¾ Simmental or vice versa.
Black Simmentals Are Proven Winners
The Black Simmental cattle share the same quality traits as their original
Simmental ancestors but they have been bred for size and health. These animals are extremely docile and good
natured. Even the very large bulls are easy to raise and handle on a farm or ranch. This breed is long lived and
experience good health throughout their years. The female Simmentals are wonderful mothers and are gentle with all
of the calves that may be in the pasture. When you factor in their ability to gain weight quickly and reproduce
early, it is easy to see why these animals have become so popular around the world.