Origin of Breed
Galloway cattle originated in the Province of Galloway in Scotland. The name “Galloway” is derived from the words “Gallovid”, or Gaul. The Gauls were the first to inhabit this part of Scotland. Galloway emerged as the beef breed of choice in the 15th and 16th Centuries and continued to dominate England and Scotland's beef trade for hundreds of years. It is believed that the Galloway breed was never crossed with the other breeds. Confusingly, there were polled Galloways in existence, although many of the original ones were horned. However, literature and art during1700s and early 1800s mentioned polled Galloway cattle. Galloway breeders soon decided that they liked the polled characteristic and started incorporating that characteristic into their herds. Most of the early cattle in the Galloway district were black, but red, brown, brindles, and cattle with white markings were not uncommon.
A fire at the Highland Agricultural Museum at Edinburgh destroyed all the historical records and pedigrees of the Galloway in 1851. In 1862, a Polled Herd Book was published, including the Galloway, Aberdeen, and Angus breeds. In 1878, the Galloway Cattle Society of Great Britain began its own record of pedigrees.
The moderate framed Galloway breed is mainly black with a brownish tinge. They can be bred in dun and black or dun belted. Galloways are all hornless or polled. They have a long, soft wavy coat, which serves a dual purpose. Their coarse outer coat shields them from the wind and rain, while the soft, fur-like undercoat provides insulation and waterproofing. Due to the breed’s dense, insulating hair coat they do not layer on excessive outside fat. In confirmation, the Galloway will be found to carry its meat from behind the shoulder along the back to the tail, through the buttock and deep into the hock. For this reason, Galloway breeders have concentrated on this type of confirmation in their cattle for centuries. Butchers have found that Galloways, in regard to their curability, marbling and color of meat, they tend to mature earlier than most other breeds of cattle.
Mature bulls weigh from 1,700 to 2,300 lb. while a mature cow generally weighs from 1000 to 1500 lb. Calf birth weights average from 75 to 80 lb.
The Galloway are known for their docility, hardiness and their maternal qualities. Galloway cows are easy calvers, while the calves themselves are robust and reach desirable weaning and yearling weights. The Galloway breed possesses longevity, as many cows produce regularly into their teens and beyond. Though considered a breed for northern climates, the Galloway has been found to acclimate amazingly well to warmer regions. As a grazing breed, the Galloway utilizes coarse grasses and can gain efficiently on pastures. It is not necessary to feed grains to finish them.
Development in America
In 1853, Galloways were first imported to North America to the Graham brothers of Toronto, Canada. Michigan State College in Lansing imported the first Galloways to the United States in 1866. In 1882, the American Galloway Breeders' Association was established. Volume I of the North American Galloway Herd, published in 1883, kept a record of American and Canadian Galloways.
Registry and Improvement Programs
The American Galloway Breeders' Association is headquartered in New Castle, PA.The American Galloway Breeders' Association offers purebred registry program, a computerized EPD program, a National Show and Sale, ultrasound measurements for carcass traits, as well as measurements for frame size, pelvic capacity and scrotal circumference.