Welsh Black cattle

Welsh Black cattle 

The Welsh Black is the only breed of cattle native to Wales. As with most native breeds, the origins of Welsh Black cattle are a little unclear. That being said, Welsh Black cattle have been bred in Wales for over a millennium and it is highly likely that the breed was roaming the hills and mountains in pre-Roman Britain.

In ancient Britain, Welsh Black cattle were a highly prized commodity. Often used as currency, the breed was referred to as, ‘the black gold from the Welsh hills’. Having successfully sold the animals at English markets, drovers would return to Wales laden with money. The drovers were targeted by thieves and the fear of robbery led to the formation of the ‘Bank of the Black Ox’. This establishment eventually became Lloyds Bank.

Today, Welsh Black cattle are still very much at home in rough, rocky high ground or in green lowland pastures. This dual purpose breed is now established throughout the UK and you will find herds of Welsh Black cattle in a diverse range of countries which include; Australia, Canada, Germany, Jamaica, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and Uganda.

Welsh Black cattle – Characteristics 

For many, many years there were two distinctive strains of Welsh Black. For beef there was a stocky north Wales and for dairy, a south Wales (or Castlemartin) animal. The present day animal combines the best of both with an emphasis on beef production.

Welsh Black cattle
Pic: Pinterest

Most Welsh Blacks vary from rusty black to jet black in colour. The appearance of the red recessive gene can sometimes lead to a red animal being born. (It will have no black genes.) The number of naturally polled Welsh Blacks is increasing.

Their thick winter coat provides protection against the elements and this hardy breed is happy to graze in rain and snow. Welsh Black cattle perform well in a variety of situations and are able to thrive on upland and marginal areas.

Welsh Black cattle – Good temperament & mothering ability

The breed is known for its ease of calving. Cows make excellent mothers (typically producing 4,000 litres over 9 – 11 months in an even lactation) and Welsh Blacks are one of the fastest growing British breeds.

Welsh Black cattle
Pic: Pinterest J Sherron

Cows can calve regularly at 15 – 20 years of age. Medium sized suckler dams are capable of rearing strong pure or cross bred calves. Calves suit traditional and intensive systems. Bulls are renowned for their fertility. They typically have a high sperm count and work in all weathers.

The high quality meat is generally marbled and low in fat. Welsh beef has Protected Geographical Indication status. It is a breed that has much to offer modern day farming systems.

If you are interested in purchasing Welsh Black cattle, please get in touch.

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Welsh Black cattle for sale and many other breeds 

David Clarke Livestock supply many other breeds of dual purpose cattle. These include; Brown Swiss, Danish Red, Fleckvieh / Simmental, Montbéliarde, Norwegian Red and Rotbunt.

Beef cattle include; Aberdeen Angus, Aubrac, Blonde d’Aquitaine, CharolaisDevon, Hereford, Limousin, Parthenais and Salers.

As Ireland’s largest exporter of dairy cattle to the UK, our extensive range of contacts enable us to supply breeds such as; British Friesian, Guernsey, Holstein, Kerry and Jersey. Beef and dairy Shorthorn can also be sourced as can Longhorn.

Find out more about our beef cattle service and our dairy cattle service.