The Belted Galloway is currently experiencing an upsurge in popularity and it’s no wonder. One of the most visually distinctive breeds of cattle, its many merits lie not only in its unique appearance and good nature, but also in its hardiness and top quality beef.
Originating in the harsh upland climate of the Galloway hills in beautiful south west Scotland, the Beltie is well-equipped to thrive outdoors in any climate. This remarkable animal is slow to mature, which means its beef has a special flavour and texture which is the envy of many other breeds. The cows live far longer than other cattle often well into their twenties, producing more calves and reducing replacement costs.
No-one is absolutely certain precisely where the ‘Beltie’ originated. The most popular belief is that it resulted from crossing the ancient Galloway with the Dutch Belted cow – the Lakenvelder, in the 17th and 18th centuries when trading links between Britain and the Low countries were at their most lucrative.
The distinct and ancient Galloway cattle were in Scotland long before that and originated in the old counties of Kirkcudbright and Wigtown area of south west Scotland. While black was the favoured colour, they could also appear as brindle, red, dun, white, brocket faced and eventually as white middled or ‘belted.’
The Belted Galloway’s heavy, double hair coat means that heat loss is reduced, winter feed costs are significantly less and rain hardly penetrates in cold, wet weather. The Belted Galloway cow has about 4000 hairs to the square inch making the coat resistant to severe cold. “Belties” have, in fact, been used on stations with an annual rainfall as low as 150 mm and with their superior foraging ability, have thrived in these harsh, pastoral areas.
“Belties” are able to adapt to a variety of climatic conditions. They have good foraging abilities, ensuring that they thrive where other breeds fail. The coat is shed in hot weather, thus making the “Beltie” a highly adaptable and versatile breed for a variety of climatic conditions.
If you want to buy a Belted Galloway, check the links below with breeders: