The arms are a combination of : the lion of the Pfalz, representing the area of the Oberpfalz ; the arms of Franken (Franconia); the panther of the Counts of Ortenburg in Niederbayern; the three lions of the Dukes of Schwaben and the escutcheon with the arms of the Wittelsbach family (the longtime ruling family in Bayern)
The arms of Wittelsbach were taken from the arms of the counts of Bogen, who became extinct in 1242. The Wittelsbach family was related to the counts of Bogen and inherited their possessions along the Danube between Regensburg and Deggendorf. The first members of the family to use the arms were Ludwig and Heinrich, sons of Duke Otto, who used the arms in their seals around 1240. (see fig.) The arms have ever since been the arms of the family and thus appear in numerous arms in Bavaria, but also in surrounding States and even abroad (f.e. in Nieuw-Beijerland in Holland, a possession of Jacoba of Bavaria). The number of fields was already in the 15th century fixed as 21, but in 1806 the number was increased to 42 to symbolise the larger Kingdom of Bavaria at that time. The colors are also already known and unchanged since 1330.