Galloway Cattle at a Glance

The Galloway breed has been in North America for over 150 years. At one time it populated the Plains states, back in the days when cattle were exposed to the rigors of the environment with little assistance their owners. The Galloway thrived in these circumstances, because that is the story of the breed’s development. They were the cattle on the British Isles that were left on their own in the roughest of locales. The Galloway is today recognized as the oldest and purest breed of cattle from the British Isles. The Shorthorn breed tapped the Galloway gene pool to improve their stock, and subsequently the Angus breed tapped the Shorthorns for improvement. The Red Poll breed drew on the Galloway gene pool as well. But interestingly enough the Galloway was maintained as a pure breed. They populated the Southern Lowland regions of Scotland, a region hammered with hard, moistureladen winds, poor soils and poor grazing. Probably in response to this environment, the Galloway adapted with a double haircoat. The long silky outer hairs may reach 6 inches in length, and repel great amounts of moisture, while the soft, downy undercoat traps heat. The haircoat sheds in summer, either completely or to a nap of felt that frustrates biting insects including flies. They also adapted by becoming non-selective grazers. Any owner of Galloway cattle will attest to their willingness to consume undesirable forages, weeds and browse. Historically the Galloway breed has been known for its performance on the butcher’s block. And in light of today’s currently stagnant beef improvement (choice carcasses having plateaued out at around 60%), an infusion of some ‘old blood’, tried and proven, might be just what the beef industry needs. Got Galloway?