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 milk.
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 qualities.
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 worldwide.
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 doing 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 1,000.
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 today.
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.
There are some Dutch belted cattle breeds which have been known to produce more than 9,000 liters of milk during their period of breastfeeding.
The Lakenvelder breed is observed as one of the rare domestic breed of cattle having a similar appearance to the Dutch Belted cattle with a solid colored neck hackle and tail typically black but with an almost perfect white body.
As a primary dairy bred cattle, the average Dutch Belted cow will often weigh between 900 to 1500 pounds with the bulls having a weight of more than 2,000 pounds.
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 based anti-bubbles sometimes referred to as 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 and ranchers.
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 precise documentation.
They provide an active list of breeders where cattle men and ranchers can purchase their seed stock to develop their Dutch Belted cattle herds,
Ranchers and can additionally purchase stock from a number of farms found within the United States such as: