Belted Galloway Handbook
The unique appearance of Belted Galloway cattle
inspires many questions about their origins. With a white
middle sandwiched with black, red or dun color, they are
familiarly known as 'Belties'. The Belted Galloway's first
recorded history indicates that they developed during the 16th
Century in the former Galloway district of Scotland, a rugged
and hilly seacoast region where hardiness was necessary for
Although it is impossible to affirm with certainty whether Belted Galloways
were bred from cattle imported to Britain, native cattle, or a combination of the two, the
logical conclusion is that they originated from a cross of Black Galloway beef cattle and
Dutch Belted dairy cattle. Though no documentation is available to substantiate the
assumption, the known prepotency of the Dutch cattle lends weight to this view. The
frequent trafficking between Scotland and the Low Countries in the 17th and 18th
Centuries may have also provided opportunities for the importation of a few Dutch
Early standards for the breed remain valid today, except that the body should
have less depth and the legs should be longer. The cattle of the breed are of typical
meat-animal conformation. A good head, especially in bulls, is considered important,
and this should be broad with the crown low and flat. The nostrils should be wide and
the eyes large and prominent; the ears moderate in length, broad, pointing forwards and
upwards with a fringe of long hair. The neck should be fairly long, blending into the
shoulders smoothly. The body should be deep and full through the heart with a level
top and straight underline; the shoulders fine and straight; the breast full and deep, with
the ribs well sprung and the hindquarters long. The flank should be deep and full. The
thighs should be deep and fairly straight; the legs short and clean with fine bone and the
tail well set on. The skin should be mellow and moderately thick, covered with soft,
wavy hair and a mossy undercoat. The coat is most important, as it protects the animal
from severe wintry weather.
Weights for mature Belted Galloways in North America vary in accordance with
their environment. In general, the mature Belted Galloway bull at age 5 weighs within
the 1800-lb. to 2000-lb. Balance and conformation should be considered before mature
weight, when using a bull for breeding. The Belted Galloway heifer is generally bred at
age 14 to 18 months, with many breeders electing to breed at 700 to 800 lbs. without
regard to months of age. The mature Beltie cow, at age 4 to 5, averages from 1100 to
1300 lbs. She can be expected to annually produce a healthy calf well into her teen
years. At birth, bull calves usually weigh 70 to 80 lbs., heifer calves about 10 lbs. less.
The Beltie, as a beef animal, produces exceptionally lean and flavorful meat, with
carcass dressed weights well in excess of 60 percent of live weight. Winter warmth is
provided by the double coat of hair, rather than the layer of back fat most breeds
require. The Belted Galloways' heritage has conditioned them to survive in very harsh
climates, and U.S. breeders have discovered that the thrifty, medium-sized animals more
than earn their way in any beef herd.
General Anatomy of bos taurus
1. You are to work only with your assigned animal. That also means that you are
only to enter the pen of the animal that you are assigned.
2. Do not run with your animal on a halter. This will teach them that they are
allowed to run on a halter and can be dangerous for both handler and animal.
3. Never allow your animal or any animal to place their head parallel to your body
or place their head on any part of your body. This could result in injury and
teach your animal bad habits.
4. Be respectful to your animal and they will respect you back; implement proper
disciplining and rewarding procedures.
5. Be cautious of the behavior of your animal. They will normally show signs of
stress or fear before their actions result in harm; be aware of this.
6. Only stay in the free stall area of the barn. Other wings of the barn are rented
out for research and you are not allowed to enter these areas without permission.
7. You are allowed to walk your animal anywhere outside, but implement caution
with weather conditions.
8. Always reward your animal with grain at the end of working with them. This
will make them more willing to come out of their pen next time.
9. Be respectful of the UMass Belted Galloway Group, you are a guest in their
facility. Please pick up after your animal and only use the equipment assigned to
you. If you are unsure about anything, please ask!
10. Have fun! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!
Preparations for the Show
Here is a list of suggestions on ways to clip your animal and as you begin to clip, you
will find what suits you best.
1. Always bathe your animal before clipping as shavings, hay, and grease that may
be contained in your animal’s hair will dull the clipper blades.
Tie your animals head up. Get all the hair wet, even the
undercoat. You can use any shampoo that is available for your use. Use
a brush to scrub the belt and any stains on your animal. When washing
the face you may use no tears shampoo or avoid getting soap in their
eyes. Please rinse all the soap out because the soap will cause the
animal’s skin to dry out.
2. When you are done bathing, brush your animal’s coat downward first. Then,
going at a 45 degree angle towards their head, brush their fur back up again.
This will help train the hair to stay like this. In the show ring this will make
your animal appear larger and cover any imperfections.
3. Use the blower to dry your animal off. The hair should be blown at the same 45
degree angle used when brushing. Make sure the animal is completely dry.
Keep in mind that Belties are extremely shaggy, this might take well over half
4. Clip the face and neck practically bare down to the shoulder. When doing this
you can either use the clippers with or without a block. If using a block you can
use either the 1/16 or 1/8. Leave their ears shaggy, as this is a breed attribute.
5. Clip their whole body using a 1 ¼ in. block. Avoid the area between their hip
bones and barrel. This point is sucked in and the hair will be left longer there to
cover it up.
6. Blend the neck into the shoulders. The shoulders should appear smaller to
accentuate the rest of the body.
7. For the top line you want to make it wider by creating a large rectangle. Clip
the hair so it is all even. Normally the hips and shoulders need to be taken down
more than the middle of the cow. (Sounds confusing, best shown by example)
8. The tail needs to be clipped to create a 90 degree angle at the hind end of the
cow. It is also clipped to fill in the space between the hind legs. (Again, best
shown by example.)
9. The last thing to do is to even out the coat. Look at the animal and clip off any
long hairs that aren’t blending with the rest of the animal.
10. Have fun and remember that fitting is tedious for both you and the animal, take
breaks and don’t try to do it all in one day.
Showing in the Ring
When you first walk into the ring, look at the judge for cues on where to go.
Always watch the judge, he/she will tell you what to do! Always smile and keep
constant eye contact, even when the judge is not looking at you. Walking into the ring,
hold your lead in your right hand and your show stick in your left. Keep your right
hand close to the cow's face, so that you have a tight grip on the cow. Hold your cow's
head high and walk at a good pace. Keep about a cow’s length in between you and the
person in front of you. You can keep your show stick in front of you cow's nose to
prevent her from walking too fast or misbehaving. When she starts to act up, just hit
her on the nose with your show stick with appropriate strength.
When asked to set up your cow, do so accordingly. You may be asked to set up
in profile or facing the judge. When you prepare to set up your cow, switch your show
stick to your right hand and your lead to your left. For both positions, females are set up
differently than males. For heifers and cows, square the front legs with your show stick
and offset the hind legs, so that the hind leg furthest from the judge is forward. This is
done to give the heifer or cow a look of femininity. For bulls and steers, square both the
front and hind legs. You can scratch your cow's belly to relax her and keep her standing
calmly. When setting up your cow, don't take too long. If you cannot get her to set up
correctly, simply give up and smile at the judge. Knowing when to stop will tell the
judge you are a good showman.
Know your cow's sire, dam, age, and whether or not she is pregnant. If she is
pregnant, know who she is bred to, when she is due, and how many calves she has had
previously. It is also beneficial to know general things about the Belted Galloway breed,
such as history, purposes, and characteristics. Finally, don't be a sore winner or a sore
loser. Listen to the judge’s final comments and use the information he/she gives you to
Show Attire: Don’t forget! Proper show attire includes clean khaki pants
and a tasteful, preferably collared, white shirt. NO OPEN TOED SHOES! Footwear
should be hiking or work boots if possible.