Origin of Breed
The Belted Galloway's first recorded history indicates that they developed during the 16th century in the former Galloway district of Scotland, although references to “sheeted” cattle have occurred in art and literature as early as the 11th century. The Belted Galloway is essentially the same in origin and characteristics as the Galloway except the distinctive white belt that is thought to have been introduced by an infusion of Dutch Belted blood, probably in the 17th or 18th century. They are often referred to as “Belties,” and have been recorded in herd books since 1852.
The Belted Galloway is a very distinctive with its white belt that encircles the body. The rest of the body is black, dun or red in color. The distinctive white belt often varies somewhat in width and regularity but usually covers most of the body from the shoulders to the hooks. Belted Galloways are naturally polled cattle. Belties do not develop much fat under their hides; instead they have a double coat of hair consisting of a dense, soft, short undercoat and a long, shaggy overcoat, which is usually cast in hot weather. This double coat provides excellent protection in cold, wet and windy weather. The Belted Galloway cow has about 4,000 hairs per square inch making their coat resistant to severe cold conditions.
In general, the mature Belted Galloway bull weighs within the 1,800 to 2,000 lb. The mature Beltie cow averages 1,100 to 1,300 lb. At birth, bull calves usually weigh 70 to 80 lb. while heifer calves about 10 lb. less.
The breed is known for their grazing ability, longevity (17-20 years) and hardiness.
Belted Galloways have excellent calving ease, feed efficiency, and great marketability to consumers.
Belted Galloway carcasses have a total fat content of about 2%, a low percentage. Data collected in the U.S. has shown that the beef dresses out at 60 - 62% of live weight making it a profitable breed. Their meat contains only 1% saturated fat, which is fitting for health conscious consumers. Their meat can also be marketed in a variety of specialty niches, such as organic and grass-fed beef.
Development in America
The first recorded importation of Belted Galloway stock to North America occurred in 1939, when a bull and a dozen bred heifers were transported to a Mrs. McLean at East Kortright, NY. In 1950, Harry A. Prock's Hapwood Farm in Whitemarsh, Penn., began importing purebred stock. Mr. Prock founded the American Belted Galloway Breeders Association on July 1, 1951, with H. Gordon Green of Quebec, Canada, and Charles C. Wells of East Lansing, Mich.
On January 11, 1964, the Association incorporated in Niota, Tenn., under the name Belted Galloway Society, Inc. There have been limited importations of the breed since that time but the number brought have not been large.
Registry and Improvement Programs
The American Belted Galloway Society is headquartered in New Glarius, WI. The society offers a full directory of breeders and registrations, as well as a youth program, show and scholarships.