Dutch Belted

The Dutch Belted or Dutch Belt is an American breed of dairy cattle. It derives from the Lakenvelder of Germany and the Netherlands, of which examples were imported to the United States from 1838.[4]: 171 [5]: 96 [6] It became an important dairy breed in the early twentieth century, but could not compete with the Holstein-Friesian. By 1970 it was close to extinction; from 1993 the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (later The Livestock Conservancy) was active in the recovery of the breed.[7] In 2021 it was listed as "critical" on the watchlist of the conservancy.[2]

Dutch Belted
Dutch Belted Cow.jpg
Conservation status
Other names
  • American Dutch Belted
  • Dutch Belt
Country of originUnited States
  • Male:
    average 760 kg[3]
  • Female:
    average 544 kg[3]
Coatblack or red, with broad white belt
Horn statususually horned; may be polled
  • Cattle
  • Bos (primigenius) taurus


The first importation of Lakenvelder stock into the United States was in 1838, when D.H. Haight brought some to Goshen, New York; others were brought to Orange County and to Pennsylvania in 1848, and a single cow was imported to New Jersey in 1906.[7][4]: 171  In the 1840s P.T. Barnum exhibited some in his travelling circus.[7] Sixteen of the cattle were shown in Chicago in 1893 at the World's Columbian Exposition.[8]: 181  A breed society, the Dutch Belted Cattle Association of America, was formed in 1886[7] or 1901;[4]: 172  it was incorporated in New Jersey in 1909.[8]: 179 

By 1916 the Dutch Belted, as it was now known, had spread to some twenty-five states and had reached about 1500 in number.[4]: 172  It became well-known as a useful dairy breed, but numbers never rose very high. With the rapid spread of the Holstein in the mid-twentieth century, numbers fell and in the 1970s the breed association became dormant.[4]: 172  In the 1980s, further pressure on the breed came from the policy of the Department of Agriculture to encourage the sale of dairy cattle for beef, with the aim of increasing the price of milk.[7]

From 1993 the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (later The Livestock Conservancy) was active in the recovery of the breed[7] and conducted a survey, which found that between 1981 and 1995 the average number of annual registrations had been 28 (21 cows and 7 bulls); in 1995 the total number of registered purebred stock was 34.[9][6]: 286 

By 2010 the population had increased to total of about 1500 head, including some 70 bulls and 700 breeding cows.[4]: 172  The breed association resumed registrations in 2013.[7] In 2016 the total Dutch Belted population was reported to DAD-IS at 464;[3] in 2021 the breed was listed as "critical" on the watchlist of the Livestock Conservancy.[2]


The cattle are either black or red, with a broad white belt encircling the back, flanks and belly.[4]: 172  Average weights are approximately 760 kg for bulls and 545 kg for cows.[3]



  1. ^ Barbara Rischkowsky, Dafydd Pilling (editors) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Archived 23 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Conservation Priority List. The Livestock Conservancy. Archived 20 October 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e Breed data sheet: Dutch Belted / United States of America (Cattle). Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed August 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J.G. Hall, D. Phillip Sponenberg (2016). Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding (sixth edition). Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 9781780647944.
  5. ^ Marleen Felius (1995). Cattle Breeds: An Encyclopedia. Doetinchem, the Netherlands: Misset. ISBN 9789054390176.
  6. ^ a b Janet Vorwald Dohner (2001). The Encyclopedia of Historic and Endangered Livestock and Poultry Breeds. New Haven, Connecticut; London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300088809.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Dutch Belted Cattle. The Livestock Conservancy. Archived 19 October 2021.
  8. ^ a b Raymond Brown Becker (1973). Dairy Cattle Breeds; Origin and Development. Gainesville: University of Florida Press. ISBN 9780813003351.
  9. ^ Janet Vorwald Dohner (August 2010). Dutch Belted Cattle: Heritage Livestock Breeds. Mother Earth News. Archived 13 May 2011.