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Galloway Cattle History

The Galloway is one of the oldest and purest of British native breeds coming from the Southwest corner of Scotland.

There are three main types of Galloway:

  • The Galloway, a solid coloured polled animal that may be black, red or dun including silver.
  • The Belted Galloway, a polled animal with a distinctive white belt while the rest of the animal may be black, red or dun including silver.
  • The White Galloway, a polled animal, mainly white with points of black, red or dun including silver.

    Galloway calfThe solid coloured Galloway was the first of the 3 types and have always been a beef breed with their superb meat being recorded over hundreds of years. The Galloway is unrivaled as a grazing breed, is a great feed convertor and utilizes coarse grass frequently shunned by other breeds.  Their ability to produce high quality beef directly from grass, has true economic value in that it is not necessary to feed grains to ‘finish’ them.

William McCombie (pioneer Scottish Angus & Shorthorn breeder) said, “The Galloway undoubtedly has many great qualifications.  On poor land they are unrivaled, on land so poor our Aberdeens could not subsist upon it.  There is no other breed worth more by the pound weight that a first class Galloway.”

The long coat serves a dual purpose, the outer coarse coat sheds wind and rain, while the soft inner coat provides insulation and waterproofing.  Due to this coat, the Galloway does not layer on excessive outside fat.

Belted Galloway cowThe Belted Galloway was developed in the 1600’s from the solid coloured Galloway.  It is believed that the introduction of the Dutch Belted or Lakenvelder gave the Belted Galloway the belted colour pattern and its milking characteristics.  These cattle were used for centuries in Scottish dairies.  Today there is a degree of selection pressure for the aesthetics of the belt and this can be detrimental to the other breed characteristics.

These Galloway cattle distinguish themselves by:

  • Having great adaptability to varying conditions of altitude, topography, climate, nutrition and management.
  • Have resilience to disease cope with feed shortages and recover quickly from drought and harsh winters.
  • Easy calving.
  • Calves that grow rapidly and efficiently on grass.
  • Dams known for their fertility, hardiness and proven ability to get in calf quickly and consistently.
  • Being great foragers with along life span and constant production.
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