The first traces of domesticated cattle in Switzerland were discovered in the Valais in the form of old bones approximately 6000 years old. The descendants of these cattle are animals from the Hérens and Evolène breeds, which have only been reared as two separate breeds since 1885. Studies have shown that these cattle, unlike the other bovine breeds, were brought to Switzerland earlier from Italy, not the Celts. Animals of both breeds are sure-footed and undemanding in terms of fodder, and are well suited to grazing on steep alpine meadows.
The dark-brown to black Hérens cattle with their sturdy horns are world-renowned for their aggressive temperament, which they display in combats to assert their domination as well as in organised cow fights.
Evolène cattle differ above all in colour from their more famous sisters. Typical colouring consists of white spots on the forehead and often also on the belly, tail and along the spine.