Simmental cattle are a versatile breed of cattle originating in Western Switzerland. The Simmental has historically been used for dairy, beef and as draught animals. They are particularly renowned for the rapid growth of their young, if given sufficient feed. Simmental provides more combined weaning gain (growth) and milk yield than any other breed.
The traditional coloration of the Simmental has been described variously as "red and white spotted" or "gold and white", although there is no specific standard coloration, and the dominant shade varies from a pale yellow-gold all the way to very dark red. The face is normally white, and this characteristic is usually passed to cross-bred calves. The white face is genetically distinct from the white head of the Hereford.
Today approximately 80% of the Simmental cattle in the United States are black, with the remaining 20% being red. Most Simmental cattle are solid in coloring. In the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a large push to rid Simmental cattle of the spots and diluter genes. Because of this push a large number of traditionally colored Simmental cows were bred to purebred Angus bulls. Over the next decade progressive breeders worked to breed their Simmental Angus cross cattle back up to a 7/8 blooded Simmental, also known as a purebred. Today it is common for Simmental cattle in North America to be both Homozygous Polled and Homozygous Black.