The Dutch Belted Breed
Dutch Belteds are efficient animals of moderate size between Holsteins
and Jerseys. Cows weigh from 900-1500 pounds with bulls bulls
weighing 1350-2000 pounds. They are black, or occasionally
red, with a dazzling white belt around the middle. This belt
should begin a little back of the shoulder and extend not quite to the
hips and entirely around the body. Intelligence and friendly
disposition make Dutch Belted cattle an excellent choice for family
farms, rotational grazing, and other systems where ease of handling is
valued. Their milk tests 3.5 to 5.5 per cent butter fat making it
an ideal drinking milk. It is logical to believe that the same
knowledge of breeding that produced the world's most beautiful cow also
was used in producing a natural soft curd, easily digested milk.
They never heard of the term "Homogenized", but nevertheless bred it
into their cows. The fat globules are exceptionally small.
·The breed retains excellent grazing ability and forage
·Optimum calving interval is an
important trait for seasonal dairy production.
·Many cows produce over 20,000 pounds of milk, primarily on
·Longevity reduces replacement costs, and there are many teenage
cows still in production.
·Moderate frame size results in high dairy beef yield.
·Heifers breed early and produce a calf every year.
·Conception rate far exceeds the average 2.7 services required
·An average birth weight of 70 pounds assures calving ease and
less postpartum stress.
The value of any breed is what's on the inside.... it's genetics.
The Dutch Belted offers remarkable genetic consistency resulting from
centuries of pure breeding and selection. Dutch Belted bulls are
prepotent, and their offspring are highly predictable and
uniform. Dutch Belteds can impart significant hybrid vigor when
crossed with other breeds. These crossbreds have found great
favor in grass-based dairy production. Due to the rarity of the
breed, crossbreeding can be recommended only if using Dutch Belted
semen on dairy cows of other breeds. Pure Dutch Belted cows must
only be bred to pure Dutch Belted bulls.
Dutch Belted History
The Dutch Belted breed traces directly to the original belted cattle
which were described in Switzerland and Austria. The breed was
then established in the Netherlands in the 17th century. From the
records obtainable, it seems they were bred by the nobility who
conceived the idea of breeding animals of all kinds to a particular
color, mainly with a band of white in the center and both ends
black. For over 100 years they and their descendants worked upon
this striking color marking until they produced belted cattle, rabbits,
goats, poultry, and swine. We have as a result of their labor the
Dutch Belted cattle, Dutch rabbits, Dutch belted goats, Lakenvelder
poultry of England and America, Lanche swine of Holland and Germany,
and Hampshire swine of America.
The first importation into the United States was made by the U.S.
Consul of Holland, D.H. Haight in 1838. In 1840, the great
showman, P.T. Barnum, imported several head from a nobleman. It
is said they were secured with the understanding that they were to be
used principally for exhibition as a feature of his great circus.
It is a fact that Mr. Barnum's herd was exhibited for several years as
"a rare and aristocratic breed." He soon found that their
attractive appearance and peculiar markings was not their best
recommendation, as they proved to be excellent milkers. Later Mr.
Barnum placed his herd on his farm in Orange county, New York.
In 1906, Mr. W.H. Lance, of Peapack, New Jersey, imported "Peapack
Dutchess" No. 1390. It is from these early importations that
Dutch Belted Cattle spread throughout the United States. The
herdbook of the Dutch Belted Cattle Association of America was
established in 1886. This is the oldest continuously registering
herdbook for belted cattle in the world, as even in Holland there has
not been a continous herdbook, with the most recent being established
in 1979 after a lapse of almost 50 years.