The Belted Galloway is a heritage beef breed of cattle, originating from Galloway in the west side of southern Scotland, adapted to living on the poor upland pastures and windswept moorlands of the region. The exact origin of the breed is unclear, although it is often surmised that the white belt that distinguishes these cattle from the native black Galloway cattle may be as a result of cross breeding with Dutch Lakenvelder belted cattle. It is the belt that gives them their name.
Belted Galloways are primarily raised for their quality marbled beef, although they are sometimes milked and purchased to adorn pastures due to their striking appearance.
In the United States, Belted Galloways are often nicknamed Oreo cows because their color pattern is reminiscent of an Oreo cookie, the sandwich cookie consisting of two chocolate disks with a cream filling in between.
The origin of the white belt is unknown, but generally presumed to come from cross breeding with Dutch Belted cattle, also known as Lakenvelder. A Polled Herd Book was started in 1852 which registered both Aberdeen-Angus and Galloways.
Galloway breeders acquired their own herd book in 1878. The Dun and Belted Galloway Association was formed in Scotland in 1921, and in 1951 the name of the organization was changed to the Belted Galloway Society and dun cattle were no longer registered. It keeps and records pedigrees for Belted Galloways and oversees the registration of White and Red Galloways.