Do Swiss cows have names?
Whether it be videos of cattle being airlifted by helicopter, or painted bovines marching down from the mountains with bells clanging, cows are an integral part of culture and tradition in Switzerland. Now, the latest data from the Swiss government has revealed what farmers like to name their cows.
Swiss cow population begins to rise
According to Identitas, the public registry service for cats, dogs and other animals in Switzerland, there were 1,5 million cows registered in Switzerland in November 2023 - more than one cow per eight people. This means that the cow population declined slightly after growing between 2020 and 2022 - although the population did decline steadily in the decade before 2020.
The Swiss canton with the most cows is Canton Bern, with more than 290.000 head of cattle calling the area home - not surprising as Bern is home to a large number of top Swiss cheeses. Lucerne (147.908) and St. Gallen (137.241) rounded out the podium - the figure means there is roughly one cow for every three people in Lucerne.
Interestingly, the most popular cow breeds have changed dramatically in the last 10 years. The Rotfleckvieh and Braunvieh, two Swiss varieties, have slowly been replaced by more robust mixes and crossbreeds. As of the end of November 2023, there were 247.488 Braunvieh cows in Switzerland, compared to 238.797 Holsteins and 245.966 crossbreeds. The median herd size in 2023 was 36 animals.
The 10 most popular cow names in Switzerland
For most farmers, registering a cow with the authorities also means giving it a name. According to the latest data, the most popular name for a cow in Switzerland is Bella, with farmers giving 4.459 bovines the "beautiful" name. In all, the most popular names for Swiss cows are:
Interestingly, much like the most common dog names in Switzerland, each language region has its own idea of what an ideal name is. In German-speaking areas, the top three are Bella, Fiona and Sina, west of the Röstigraben the three are Bella, Tulipe and Etoile and in Ticino, the top three are Luna, Stella and Bella.
For all the statistics about Swiss cows that you could possibly desire, check out the official website.