The Dutch Belted Qualities and History
Tracing its heritage back to the originally canvassed or belted cattle
breeds found in Austria and Switzerland, the Dutch Belted cattle breed
otherwise known as Lakenvelder are bred mainly for their production of dairy
The breed was reportedly relocated by the Dutch nobles from within the
mountainous farms of the northeastern regions of Switzerland known as the
canton Appenzell and the Mountain areas of the Italian regions of the County of
Tyrol shortly after the feudal period.
The Dutch who were highly protective of their belted cattle herds were
found to be less likely to have parted with their herds after moving. The Dutch
Belted cattle breed was most recognized for their milking and fattening
During the 1750 period the Dutch Belted breed were observed as one of the
thriving breeds found in the Netherlands. Today, in their fewer numbers, the
breed has become a rare commodity to be used as an adequate source of beef.
During the 17th century the Dutch Belted cattle were highly demanded
within the Netherlands mainly for their belted color pattern. Dutch nobles who
bred the Dutch Belted cattle were reported to have also bred this desired
belted trait into their Dutch rabbits, Lavender chickens and Hampshire pigs.
During the 1830’s the Dutch Belted Cattle were imported within the United
States of America where they were used as exhibition animals of a rare breed by
American showman and entertainer P.T. Barnum in his renowned traveling circus.
The Dutch Belted Cattle Association of America was founded in the year
1886 which recognized the newly established Dutch Belted Cattle herd-book.
Still actively registering the Dutch Belted cattle today, the Association is
observed as the oldest continual registry for the Dutch Belted breeds located
The Dutch Belted breed was widely recognized and accepted as one of the
more popular breeds within the United States of America until the 1940’s.
However prior to this adoption by the American society, the Dutch Belted
breed during the 9000’s observed a worldwide decline in their numbers near to
the point of extinction.
Within the United States the decline of the Dutch Belted cattle was only
compounded by a buyout program initiated by the United States government which
promoted the sale of dairy cattle for beef production to maintain the current
price of milk during this period.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy still recognizes the Dutch
Belted Cattle on the Conservation Priority list as critical having a total
nationwide population of no more than 300 and a worldwide total of less than
Dutch Belted cattle crossbred with other cattle breeds found in the
Netherlands has resulted in a severe dilution of the original herds resulting
in the current stock found in the United States to be more purebred to the
original genetic type than the Dutch Belted breeds found in the Netherlands
The Dutch belted breeds found today are found to be more productive than
the previously bred cattle; however the incentives which would suggest the
preservation of the breed are insufficient to effect immediate action.
As a primary dairy breed cattle, the average Dutch Belted cow will often
weigh between 900 to 1500 pounds with the bulls having a weight of more than
The Dutch Belted cattle are mainly black in color and can be occasionally
found to have a dusky red coat with the breed’s most unique characteristic to
be the distinguished wide white belt around the middle of its body located
between the hips and the shoulders. Additionally the Dutch Belted cattle are
horned cattle breeds.
Due to the Dutch Belted cattle as a dairy breed they have been found to be
able to produce with a greater level of efficiency while grazing on grass and
forage when compared to other traditional breeds without the supervision of
intense management practices.
The Dutch Belted cows have been found to produce more than 20,000 pounds
of milk annually. The quality of the produced milk has been observed to contain
much smaller fat globules which results in the milk as having a more natural
homogenized characteristic allowing easier digestion when consumed with a
butterfat content of more than 5 percent.
The Dutch Belted cattle has been known to exhibit a higher fertility rate
and efficiency when compared to the Holstein bred cattle in addition to having
little of no difficulty during calving, a trait readily welcomed by cattle men
Due to the Dutch Belted breed’s brawny built frame, they have been found
suitable in crossbreeding to produce a greater yield of beef content than
achieved by the typical dairy cow.
This particular trait has additionally allowed the Dutch Belted breed to
be a realized as an all-purpose breed.
The genetic consistency offered by the Dutch Belted cattle breed has been
developed through years of selective pure breeding. The bulls produced are
often very influential with their offspring sharing similar traits.
When cross bred with other breeds the Dutch Belted breeds will produce
highly vigorous hybrids which have been found to effectively produce dairy milk
when grazing on grass.
The Dutch Belted
Cattle Association of America maintains the conservation of the
Dutch Belted Cattle through a variety of sound genetically based principles and