The Black Simmental is one of the more dominant 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
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 SimAngus cows that are registered. To be registered as a member of the SimAngus
breed the animal must be ¼ Angus and ¾ Simmental or vice versa.
Black Simmentals Are 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.