This hardy and productive breed originates in the Netherlands and Germany.
In the Netherlands, it was developed in the region of the three rivers from which it gets its name. In Germany it comes from the regions of Westfalia, Rhineland and Schleswig Holstein, and is known there as the Rotbunt.
The Dutch Herdbook was formed in 1874 and the German Breed Societies in 1900. They were run as one breeding area across the border until 1914. During the 1920s, the Dutch bull 'Sjoerd 1 925' was used extensively in the Rhineland area and played a large part in establishing a good M.R.I. type there.
Between 1920 and 1950, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Denmark founded their own Red & White Dual Purpose breeds, based on the Dutch and Geman stock.
M.R.I. cattle were first imported into the U.K. and Ireland in the early 1970s. Current milk pricing structures ensure a huge demand for this extremely profitable breed, where yields of 8,000 to 9,000kgs at 4.0% protein are not uncommon.