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Belted Galloways have been bred in Scotland for many years with
their origin obscured in the mists of cattleman's folklore. The cattle have
the same general characteristics as the solid coloured Galloway but are noted
for the broad belt of white coat encircling the body.
Belted Galloways are regarded as having a superior milking quality. This
milking ability may be the clue to the origin of the Belted Galloway. In
the northern areas of Holland, noble families have bred a fine milking cow, the
Lakenfeld. This has a broad white belt similar to the Belted Galloway.
The Lakenfeld was imported into the USA in 1840 by PT Barnum, of circus and Wild
Bill Hickock fame. In 1909 the Dutch Belted Cattle Association was incorporated
in New Jersey, registered cattle were black with a white belt.
Herds of black Galloway cattle have been managed for the Royal families in the
United Kingdom for many centuries. It is not inconceivable that when William
of Orange came from Holland to take the English throne in 1689 some Lakenfeld
milking cows were imported and that at some time a crossing with solid coloured
Galloways provided the genetic basis for the Belted Galloway.
The white belt is inherited as a dominate trait, just like the whiteface of the
Hereford. The belt can be expressed over all solid colours, black, dun,
red and even silver dun where the belt can only be distinguished by the pigment
variant of the skin. The most popular Belted Galloway, however, is the black
where the contrast of black and white is so distinctive and attractive.
Apart from the unique attractiveness derived from the coat colours, the Belted
Galloway has the valuable qualities of carcass type, hardiness and fertility for
which Galloways are renowned. They also have the ability to mark crosses
with other breeds which permit ready identification. Crossing over red cattle
of the red centre of Australia has made air mustering easier through the application
of a white belt or patch. The Hereford cross will produce a black baldy
with a distinctive white belt or patch, enabling the breeder to recognise river
and creek crossers.