The Belted Galloway is a very distinctive breed with its characteristic white belt which encircles the body, the rest of the body being black, dun or red in colour. The distinctive white belt found in Belted Galloways often varies somewhat in width and regularity but usually covers most of the body from the shoulders to the hooks. The white contrast to the black coat, which may have a brownish tinge in the summer, sets the breed apart with its striking colour pattern.
They are naturally polled hill cattle are eminently suited for converting rough grazing into lean meat. Their double coat of long hair, to shed the rain, and soft undercoat, for warmth, eliminates the need for expensive housing.
The cows are long living (17-20 years), regular breeders noted for the amount of rich milk they produce, therefore rearing a good calf. They can be used to breed a good Blue Grey by putting them to a Whitebred Shorthorn. These Blue Greys and the pure bred cows cross well with Continental sires, such as Charolais, Simmental, Limousin and Salers.
It is claimed that the Belted Galloways are larger, milk heavier, and grow more rapidly than the parental breed.
A mature Belted Galloway Bull can weigh between 815 and 955 kilograms although some are smaller and others larger. A cow ranges from 400 to 600 kilograms, new born heifers weigh, on average around 30 kilograms and a bull calf can be 35 kilograms and sometimes more. “Beltie” calves weaned at 205 days, were about one half their mother’s weight.
The Belted Galloway as a beef animal produces exceptionally lean and flavoursome meat, with carcass dressed weights well in excess of 60 percent of live weight.
These calves, having hybrid vigor, grow rapidly and produce the quality of beef without excess fat similar to purebred Belties. Their most important trait, the economical production of beef under range conditions, stems from the fact that Galloways have been bred from their origin for beef production.