The Dutch Friesian was breed for many years as a dual-purpose, it is now a prime milk-producing breed with milk yields highest in the cows of North Holland with a yield per lactation of 5,222 kg with a fat yield of 4.09%.
The exact origins of the breed are difficult to determine but it is known that in the 18th century, herds of small black-and-white cattle were brought into northern Holland and Friesland from northern Jutland to replace animals that had fallen victim to disease and flooding. These animals were crossed with the existing Dutch cattle and formed the basis of the Dutch Friesian. Before the establishment of the Netherlands herdbook in 1873 and the Friesland herdbook in 1879, both black-pied and red-pied animals were maintained separately.
Production levels of this breed declined during the 1950s when excessive emphasis was placed on correct color pattern. During the 1970s Holsteins were imported from the United States and used to improved the milk production.