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The Breed's Origin
Belted Galloway are among the oldest of the world's cattle breeds, first developed during the 17th Century in the Scottish province of Galloway, a rocky, mountainous seacoast area where hardiness was and is necessary for survival.  The province formerly known as Galloway includes the present day counties of Dumfries, Kirkcudbright and Wigtown, this area contains some of the coldest and most austere rough hill land in Britian.The breed evolved during the same period as Aberdeen Angus.  Historians noted in early texts, "The black hornless beasts of Galloway are much bigger and hardier of constitution than the blacks of Aberdeen."  Colors of the Belted Galloway are black, dun, or red, each with a distinctive white belt. They were referred to in early agricultural treatises as 'sheeted cows'.  Scotland remains home to both Belted and solid-colored Galloways.  Importations of Belted Galloway foundation stock to the U.S. were first recorded in the 1920s and continued intermittently until 1989 when importation was banned. Imports from the British Isles continue today via semen and embryo shipments.
 
A Very Special Breed
Belted Galloways are distinguished from other breeds by the unique white belt girdling each animals midriff - but this highly visible difference is only part of the picture.  Belted Galloways are polled (hornless) and have tractable natures, so are easily handled. Belted Galloways are exceptional foragers and can survive in marginal areas where other breeds would go hungry. On normal rations, Belties thrive! Belted Galloways have double hair coats, long and shaggy, which permit them to weather extreme cold without adding the backfat other breeds require for winter warmth. In warm climates the guard hairs are shed, but the thick undercoat remains to help ward off nuisance insects. Because of this double layer of hair in the winter, the Beltie can maintain its body weight in the winter with 20 to 25% less food intake. Belted Galloway dams produce a sufficient quantity of extra rich milk to raise husky calves which generally achieve half their adult weight by weaning at approximately 205 days. Belted Galloways are exceptionally long-lived, with dams often producing fine calves well into their late teen years. Disease resistance runs high in the breed as a result of having been bred for centuries under 'survival of the fittest' type environments. In addition to this resistance to diseases, they have a 'will to live' that is superior to most, if not all, other breeds of cattle. Congenital problems such as dwarfism are unknown to Belted and other Galloways.

Throughout history the Galloway was noted for its fine-textured meat, its hardiness and foraging ability. In 1573 it was written, "In the Galloway section of Scotland are oxen of large size, whose flesh is tender, sweet and juicy.” Today we are finding that this ancient breed of cattle is coming forward to meet our modern criteria.