Herds of small black-and-white cattle were brought from northern Jutland in the 18th century into northern Holland and Friesland to replace cattle lost due to disease and flooding.
These animals were crossed with the existing Dutch cattle to create what we now know as the Friesian breed. Predominantly white with black patches, there was a white and red colour variation which now exists in small numbers. In the 1950s the American Holstein, a dairy breed with similar white and black markings, was imported to improve milk production; this cross-breeding with the Friesian has resulted in the modern Friesian breed that we see today.
The Friesian breed, although primarily dairy, naturally produces high quality lean meat so surplus male animals are valued highly.