Galloway cattle

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Galloway cow and calf

The Galloway is one of the world's longest established breeds of beef cattle, named after the Galloway region of Scotland, where it originated. It is now found in many parts of the world.

The Galloway was introduced in Canada in 1853, first registered in 1872, and the first Galloway registry was introduced in the USA in 1882.

The Galloway is naturally hornless, and instead of horns has a bone knob at the top of its skull called the poll. This breed's shaggy coat has both a thick, woolly undercoat for warmth and stiffer guard hairs that help shed water, making them well adapted to harsher climates.

The Galloway breed comes from the cattle native to an entire region of Scotland, and originally there was much variation within this breed, including many different colours and patterns.[1] The original Galloway herdbook only registered black cattle, but the recessive gene for red colour persisted in the population, and eventually dun Galloways were also allowed into the herdbook. As a result, although black is still the most common colour for Galloways, they can also be red and several shades of dun.

There are several varieties of the Galloway maintained as consistent strains or breeds.

  • The Belted Galloway features a wide white stripe around its midriff, and is often affectionately referred to as a ‘Beltie’. It was created by crossing Galloways with Belted Dutch cattle, a dairy breed. Belted Galloways are often smaller than Galloways, and often have more of a dairy or aesthetic focus than Galloways.
  • The White Galloway is mostly white, with dark points: ears, feet, and around the eyes. They may also have colour on their poll, tail, or udder. The genetics for this colour pattern were introduced from an unknown source, and has happened at least three times - once each in Britain, the USA, and Canada.[citation needed]
  • The Riggit Galloway has a colour-sided or finch-backed (riggit) pattern, with a white stripe along the line of the back.[2]

In 1906, the American frontiersman Charles "Buffalo" Jones bred Galloway cattle with bison to produce cattalo but found the mixed breed lacking in fecundity.[3]

Galloways have a thick double-layered coat that is wavy or curly. This thick coat of hair insulates their bodies so well that they have a minimal outer layer of fat on their bodies, which would otherwise create waste at slaughter.[4][full citation needed] This coat sheds out in the summer months and in warmer climates. A 1997 study by the U.S. Belted Galloway Society looked at the weights and sizes of a sample of Belted Galloways in all regions of the United States, finding mature bulls to weigh 730–860 kilograms (1,600–1,900 lb), mature cows 410–570 kilograms (900–1,250 lb), and calf birth weight to be about 33 kilograms (72 lb).[5]

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