About the Galloways
We first brought Galloways to the farm in the January of 2015. It was immediately obvious that here was an incredibly docile and well-grounded breed, that spoke of things well-earthed.
They adapted to their new environment remarkably quickly and were approachable right from the very beginning. The most notable impression they made, soon after their arrival, was one of safety. They brought a quality of acceptance and an unhurried acknowledgement of things exactly as they are.
If the Castas are by nature a very reserved breed, the Galloways appear to naturally express a great joy for living. Not for them the well ordered hierarchy that is the foundation of herd-life for the Castas – no, with the Galloways, although a strong social structure exists, it seems to be expressed in a much more physically-direct way.
Origins and history
This ancient breed of cattle were said to be dark, smooth-polled and wavy-haired and for centuries they went unnamed, referred to only as the black cattle of Galloway. From the south western most region of Scotland, a land of winds and damp cold, combined with an undulating terrain of moors, granitic hills, heathery mountain ranges and fertile glens emerged the Galloway breed of cattle.
They became important during the Scoto-Saxon period, and the breeders of Galloways enjoyed the export of cheese and hides. Later the cattle were sold in considerable numbers to English farmers who sent them to Smithfield market after a fattening period on English grass. It is said that the Galloway breed was never crossed with the other breeds.
The most visible characteristic of the Galloway is their long coat. Serving a dual purpose, the coarse outer coat sheds wind and rain, while the soft, fur-like under coat provides insulation and waterproofing. The color of the coat ranges from the more popular Black, to Dun (silver through brown), Red, White (with dark pigment about the eyes, nose, ears and teats), and the Belted (black, dun or red, with a white band around the middle).
"Galloway cattle are generally very docile," quotes William Youatt, (English researcher, scientist, veterinary surgeon, historian & standard writer on cattle in the early 1800s.) He goes on to say, "This is a most valuable point about them in every respect. It is rare to find even a bull furious or troublesome." Galloways are very courageous however, and if annoyed by dogs or wild animals, they will act in concert, by forming a crescent and jointly attacking. This is something we’ve witnessed firsthand when our dogs have at times passed too close to them.