Belted Galloway Cattle

The Belted Galloway is a breed of beef cattle developed in Galloway, Scotland. The exact origin is unknown, but the white belt of the breed sets it apart from the native black Galloway. Which may be a result of being crossed with the Dutch Lakenvelder belted cattle.

A herd book was started in 1852 that included the Galloway, however breeders established their own herd book in 1878. The Dun and Belted Galloway Association was formed in 1921, but the name changed to the Belted Galloway Society in 1951. Belted Galloways were imported into the United Sates in the late 1940s and the Belted Galloway Society was established in the early 1950s in the US.

The current status of the breed is “watched” by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, with fewer than 2,500 annual registrations in the US and a global population of less than 10,000. In the early 2000s a foot and mouth crisis decreased the population tremendously, but since have recovered greatly.

Most of the US herds and breeders are in the east. New England, the Midwest and Southeast contain most of the population. However, there are a few herds in California, Oregon and Texas. There are Belted Galloway breeders Throughout Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. Australia has herds throughout the country and there are a small number of herds in New Zealand and Canada also.

The Galloway is naturally polled (hornless) and a characteristic of the breed is a white belt that circles the body. It has a coarse outer coat and a soft undercoat for insulation and waterproofing, allowing the breed to be outside during the winter months.

Black coats with a white stripe are most prominent, but dun or red coats are also recognized by the breed societies. Restrictions for registration of a Belted Galloway include, the breed cannot have any white other than the belt.

A bull can weigh from 1,700 to 2,300 pounds and the cow from 1,000 to 1,500 pounds. The calf at birth weighs between 40 and 60 pounds. It is a calm tempered breed, but will instinctively protect its calf if felt threatened.

The Galloway is a hardy breed and can graze on coarse grass that other breeds leave alone. The also produce high quality beef using just grass for food. The beef products have been rated high quality by the USDA for its flavor, juiciness and tenderness.

Image Caption: Belted Galloway Cattle. Credit: Amanda Slater/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)