Belted Galloway Cattle

Belted Galloway cattle


Extremely hardy and adaptable to a wide range of habitats and environmental conditions, the Belted Galloway has proven value for both conservation and commercial use. A gentle, placid nature and attractive appearance makes the Belted Galloway a very useful animal for grazing sites with public access.

Hardiness: a very hardy breed, particularly useful in wet climates and in year-round grazing situations.

  • Extremely tolerant of wet weather – has a thick mossy undercoat & long wavy overcoat that sheds rain, enabling it to graze contentedly through the wettest weather.
  • Prefer to winter out-of-doors – not ideally suited to being housed during winter months and unlikely to grow a winter coat in this situation.
  • Supplementary feed – fares well on coarse grasses even during winter and may only need minimal amounts of hay or concentrate.

Physical Attributes & Husbandry: a good allround breed of cattle, which is placid, easy to handle and of good general health.

  • Handling – generally docile and easy to handle. Even animals in semi-feral situations quickly become used to handling if their circumstances change. Some individuals may have a tendency to kick. A polled breed.
  • Sure-footed – is particularly adept at grazing on steep slopes without causing poaching or erosion damage. Flatter areas are necessary for resting and ruminating.
  • Containment – standard stock fencing is ideal, but will respect electric fencing provided they are not short of keep and there is a strong charge.
  • Insects – not particularly susceptible to flies and ticks.
  • Breeding – good, milky mothers.
  • General health – very good. Cows will usually live at least 10-12 years.
  • Size – medium build, average weight of a cow 500-600 kg.
  • Appearance - an attractive breed with a broad white belt around its otherwise black or dun body and is classified as a Minority Breed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

Grazing Characteristics: adaptable to grazing and browsing a great range of species and habitats.

  • Preferences – not particularly selective. Appears to take a wide range of grasses, shrubs and coarse herbs.
  • Browsing – appears to take a wide range of shrub species. See table overleaf detailing sites where the breed has been used.
  • Grazing – see table overleaf for site-specific information.

Interaction with the Public: a gentle animal with high aesthetic appeal.

  • Placid nature – placid, gentle nature and unusual markings are helpful in achieving local support in potentially controversial grazing schemes (see example in site table overleaf).
  • Temperament in breeding situations – not such strong mothering instincts as the Galloway and so not as likely to be over-protective of calves. However, calving may best be avoided on well visited sites. Bulls very placid in a herd situation.
  • Curiosity – generally oblivious to visitors and unlikely to take any notice of walkers or dogs on a site.

Marketability: a breed with great possibilities for both conservation and commercial viability.

  • Commercial value – able to produce tasty, lean meat off rough grazing. Fattening on improved grassland to finish within 30 months may be necessary.