The Belted Galloway, or "Oreo Cow," is striking to look at.
Belted Galloways, sometimes called "Belties," or "Oreo Cows," originated in Galloway in the west side of southern Scotland. The breed is easily identifiable by its long hair and the white belt encircling its midsection. The origin of this white belt is unknown, but may have come from cross-breeding native black Galloway cattle with Dutch Belted cattle, or Lakenvelder.
The Belted Galloway is hardy, grazing on areas that other cattle would shun. This cow breed is rugged and well-adapted to the cold, growing a shaggy coat in the winter and shedding it in the summer. Because of this, it can tolerate warm climates better than most other cold-adapted cattle.
Despite its hardiness, the Belted Galloway was on the watchlist of the UK Rare Breeds Survival Trust until 2007 due to a foot and mouth crisis in the early 2000s. Today it is listed as a "recovering" breed with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, which means that there are more than 2,500 annual registrations in the United States and a global population that exceeds 10,000.
The cattle are often purchased as "pasture ornaments" due to their striking appearance.
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Belted Galloways are medium in size, with cows weighing anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 pounds and bulls weighing 1,700 to 2,300 pounds.
The Belted Galloway is deep and full through the heart with well-sprung ribs, a level top line, and straight underline. Its shoulders are fine and straight, flank full, and hindquarters long. It has deep and relatively straight thighs and short, clean legs.
While most Belted Galloways are black, dun and red Belteds are also recognized by breed societies.
A female Belted Galloway cannot be registered in the Herd Book if it has any white above the dewclaw other than the belt, but can be registered in the Appendix. A bull can only be registered in the Herd Book if it has no other white at all other than the belt.
Galloway cattle are naturally polled, meaning they are born without horns.
Belted Galloways generally have a quiet, gentle temperament toward humans, but they also have a strong maternal instinct and will protect their calves fiercely against perceived threats, such as dogs.
The Belted Galloway is a relatively sound and healthy animal. Its feet and legs are resistant to breakdowns and its lungs are strong and able to thrive even at high altitudes. Heat stress may be the biggest issue with Belted Galloways, as calves and yearlings do not shed their thick coats until they are about two years old.
It is also important to remember that the Belted Galloway is often considered a novelty animal and is not always bred for quality, so buying from a reputable breeder is especially important.
Body image: The Guardian