The Belted Galloway cattle breed have been thought to have originated from an area located in the southwest regions of Scotland known as Galloway.
The breed over the years has been bred mainly for the production of beef.
They have been found living in the poorer hilly areas and windswept temperate grasslands of southern Scotland. To date the precise location of origin of the breed is still unknown, however it has often been speculated that the definitive white belt often used to identify the breed from the native black Galloway breed cattle may be as a direct result of crossbreeding with the renowned Dutch Lakenvelder belted cattle breed.
This has resulted in the given name Belted Galloway.
The Belted Galloway cattle breed have been mainly bred for their production of a high quality marbled beef. Occasionally cattle men have been purchased the breed for their dairy properties in addition to decorating their pastured with their remarkable image.
Within the United States of America, the Belted Galloway bred cattle have often been referred to as Oreo cows specifically due to their distinctive color pattern as a bearing a direct resemblance to the renown Oreo cookie, which is typically a cookie sandwich comprised of two chocolate cookies with a cream filling.
In 1852 a Polled Herd-book was implemented in order to begin actively registering the Galloway as well as the Aberdeen-Angus breed cattle.
However in 1878 the Galloway breeders started their own herd-book specifically for the purpose of registering the Galloway breed cattle.
In 1921 the Dun and Belted Galloway Association was founded in Scotland. The Association in 1951 amended its name and was changed to the Belted Galloway Society in recognition to the fact marking the discontinuation in registration of the dun cattle breeds.
The Belted Galloway Society through its organization is responsible for the record keeping of Belted Galloway pedigrees in addition to maintaining the registration of the Red and White Galloway breed cattle located overseas.
Through its association, the Belted Galloway Society monitors and guides one of the most successful cattle breeding programs within the United Kingdom today.
Harry A. Prock, formerly of White Marsh, in the state of Pennsylvania was the first person to successfully import the Belted Galloway breeds into the United States of America during the latter part of the 1940’s.
The recognition of the bred by cattle men and herders within the United States, resulted in the formation of the Belted Galloway Society of the United States by the 1950’s.
Today the Belted Galloway cattle breeds are commonly referred to as Belties. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy today lists the Belted Galloway cattle as a “watched breed” due to the low existence in their numbers to be less than 2,500 in annual registrations within the United States and as having a total global population of no more than 10,000.
The United Kingdom Breeds Survival Trust officially removed the Belted Galloway breed cattle from their watch list in recognition of their successful recovery from the devastating effects of the foot and mouth disease which plagued more than 1500 registered breeding females during the early 2000’s.
The Belted Galloway cattle breed is generally observed as a polled breed of cattle. Characteristically the breed is found to have a long haired double coat with a distinctive broad white belt girding their entire body.
The outer coat acts as a protective measure against rainfall, with a soft undercoat providing as an adequate means of waterproof and insulation during colder climate seasons.
The Black Belted Galloway breeds are more distinguished members of the Galloway breed cattle; however the Red Belted Galloway and the Dunn are still recognized by the various breed societies with the Red Belted Galloway breed highly sought after because of their unique appearance.
Belted Galloway breeds have been found to have a mild quiet temperament, often found as a preferable trait desired in cattle breed by ranch handlers and breeders.
The average Belted Galloway bull weighs between 1,700 pounds to 2,300 pounds. Galloway females will maintain an average weight of between 1,000 pounds to 1,500 pounds often giving birth to calves weighing anywhere between 40 to 60 pounds.
The Belted Galloway cows have been observed as having a strong maternal instinct, and are highly protective of their offspring in the presence of danger.
The breed are effectively suited for grazing on rough landscape with the ability to effectively exploit coarse texture grasslands occasionally shunned by other cattle breeds.
The Belted Galloway breed is highly adaptable to the less than ideal pasture and has been found to produce an excellent quality of beef while solely grazing on grass.
The majority of the Belted Galloway cattle breeders within the United States of America are actively located on the eastern borders of the continent with selective herds found in the Midwest, Southeast and New England.
The breed has been observed to be gradually moving towards the western regions of the United States as they can now be found in Oregon, Texas and California.
The Belted Galloway Society Incorporated houses a listing of active breeders and their respective state through the Canadian based Livestock Corporation’s in addition to the United States Belted Galloway Society,
Some of the registered breeders found within the Northeast regions of the United States include:
Midwest United States is recognized as the home to some Galloway breeders including,
Breeders located within Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom can be found mainly in the Dumfries and Galloway regions which are recognized as home to the Galloway breed cattle.
The Belted Galloway Cattle Society in Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway during the month of October each year holds their Annual General Meeting and Breed Society Show where breeders and cattle men are able auction their respective breeds to potential buyers and cattle men.