Belted Galloways

An Important and Distinct Breed

The Belted Galloway is a hardy breed of Scottish Cattle with its distinctive white band around the mid section of the otherwise totally black animal. The belties might be better known as “Oreo-cookie” cows.

Galloways have a long and distinctive heritage as being considered one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world. Belted Galloways belong to the family of Galloway Cattle which today include solid whites, and blacks. The Belted coloration became popular around the turn of the 19th century, and in 1921, a registry was established for the belted coloration of Galloways.

Belted Galloways are very hardy, covered in a dual hair coat.  A short, velvety and water resistant undercoat acts like a downy insulation, protecting these cows from dampness of any kind. The long, course, and curly outer guard hairs protect them from cold, making these animals a wonderful breed for adaptation in Northern climates. Even their ears have unusually long fur resembling attractive fringe, protecting their ears from frostbite.  This efficient double coat of hair markedly reduces energy need in the winter resulting in lower winter feed cost.

Belted Galloways are considered to be extremely superior and efficient feed converters, who will consume less and forage independently well on more varieties than many other cattle breeds. Their meat is well marbled and known to be considerably low in saturated fat content.

Belted Galloways are also considered to be excellent milkers as well. Their superior mothering abilities and the activeness of the newborns succeed in making for a high survival rate and Belted Galloway calves only rarely fall victim to coyotes and other predators.   They are also distinguished for their docility and ease of handling, and for their genetic predisposition and resistance to diseases such as pink-eye, as well as the many foot problems experienced by other breeds of cattle.

One drawback of the breed is that Belted Galloways do take a longer time than other commercial cattle breeds to mature and gain their fully grown weight range of 1000 to 1100 pounds. Because of their slower growth, cows should not be first bred until the age of two years as they will likely experience birthing difficulty resulting from their small size as a yearling. Average single-calf weight is around 70 lbs.

Belted Galloways offer an attractive alternative for healthier, tastier and more natural beef that is more cost-efficient to produce than the more traditional beef cattle such as the Black Angus.   However in order to enable the Belted Galloways to make a contribution to the overall food supply the number and consistency of the cattle need to be improved.  Additionally, selective cross breeding with Angus may create a new breed of superior beef cattle that could one day replace the Black Angus as the backbone of the US beef supply.