Beefing up the Belt

June 5, 2003

How can a black cow catch the judge's eye in a herd of all black cows? Perhaps the pizzazz of a black cow with a complete white circular belt around the midriff would do the trick? That is part of a 20 year plan at Dickinson Cattle Company Inc. near Barnesville. The cattle breed is called BueLingo. This Dutch origin beef breed can have black, red, gray or gold coats, yet each one has a complete full circle white belt that wraps totally around the mid section. Normally no other white markings are visible.

Dickinson Cattle Co. LLC (DCCI) is a member of the BueLingo Beef Cattle Society which was formed in 1989. It is the official registry for this eye catching critter. Although few are aware of this relatively young composite breed, it's sketchily recorded history is truly ancient in origin.

Dutch Belted cattle originated in Holland prior to the 17th century. Historic documentation indicates Dutch nobility pursued development of these special cattle for hundreds of years. Select breed guidelines of rapid gain, correct conformation, abundant milk, minimal grain consumption, and the striking full circle belt were all essential.

Generations of royalty worked for hundreds of years to produce belted species of all types. As a result of these genetic challenges there were creations of Dutch Belted Rabbits, Dutch Belted Goats, Dutch Belted Dairy Cattle, Lakenvelder poultry of England and America, Lanche Swine of Holland, and Hampshire hogs of America. (Hampshire swine are said to have originated in Hampshire, England, but the earlier historic connection easily traces beyond England to a Netherlands birth.)

Dutch Swine, fowl and rabbits came early to America but the first recorded importation of Dutch Belted cattle was in 1838 by the U.S. Consul of Holland, D.H. Haight. In 1840, master showman P.T. Barnum imported a specimen breeding group to the United States. They were selected from a premier herd developed by one of the Dutch royal families. Barnum agreed that the cattle would be used exclusively for his world-famous circus exhibitions. Barnum billed the belted cattle as "a rare and aristocratic breed." So fascinated was he by his acquisition that Barnum continued to raise belted Dutch cattle on his farm in Orange County, New York the rest of his life. Thanks to Barnum's enthusiasm for these cattle, their progeny were sold and exported to Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, England and the Hawaiian Islands. Due to the cost of importing, only a few ever set foot on U.S. shores again.

During World War II, the unique appearance of the original Dutch herds took a back seat to human hunger. Nearly all cattle were butchered during German invasions. Hundreds of years of breeding were lost and only a few pure Dutch Belted cattle survived the war. Only the earlier U.S. importation preserved the purest family of these cattle. This military tragedy lost for posterity hundreds of years of selective Dutch genetics.

A few U.S. dairies specialized in Dutch Belted herds. A second tragedy struck the breed when the three major American herds were destroyed in the infamous Dairy Buy Out of the 1980's. By 1985 only a few pure Dutch Belt cattle remained in the North America.

North Dakota rancher, Russell Bueling and a handful of other adventurous ranchers began experimenting with crossing the Dutch Belted dairy genetics with prominent Angus blood lines. In the mid 1970's Russ Danielson, a North Dakota State University animal scientist, began performance testing the results. The additional milk provided by the Dutch blood brought calf weaning weights an impressive step forward.

The beautiful belt and enhanced performance added substance to the exciting genetic project. At this point, the BueLingo breed was born. The word "BueLingo" was derived from the Bueling name and he became the first president of the BueLingo Beef Cattle Society (BBCS). Today the BBCS has over 100 members and has registered over 3000 animals as breeding stock.

In the foundation days of BueLingo, Dickinson Cattle Co. LLC (DCCI) in Barnesville, Ohio, became a major producer. The BueLingo is an open breed, meaning offspring from other breeds can be interbred for specific superior attributes as long as the belt is perpetuated. DCCI utilized the foundation BueLingo bloodlines and selectively blended them with proven superior performance genetics. Prominent bloodlines of Limousin, Angus and Salers were commingled resulting in a huge forward leap. Today Dickinson Cattle Co. may be the leading preserver of the old Barnum lineage harkening back a full 160 years.

Darol Dickinson, general manager of DCCI, proudly claims a bit of Dutch ancestry himself. The BBCS policy of allowing outside blood in the BueLingo breed, he said, means "We can introduce the greatest performance blood in the world to make sure BueLingo are superior in every quality. Producers can utilize the very best of any great breed which is a tremendous advantage".

Many of the prominent BueLingo herd sires have been developed at DCCI. Numerous 4-H and Future Farmers of America exhibitors have selected BueLingo for show prospects.

At birth, BueLingo calves average under 75 pounds. Adult cows are moderate in size, 1100 to 1200 pounds, and the adult sires are 1900 - 2100 pounds. They grow fast and marble well. Fed steers grade choice at 1175 to 1300 pounds.

Watch for the striking BueLingo not only in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio, but the show ring and professional ranches all across North America. And...you sure can pick them out from any other cattle breed.

The DCCI herd now numbers 150 breeding age BueLingo cows. DCCI also raises huge horned Watusi and Texas Longhorn cattle. The ranch is open for public bus tours June 1 to September 1. For tour or BueLingo information, see www.dickinsonlonghorn.net.

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Caption #2055-33 BueLingo are mostly black with a full circle white belt. Some are belted with red, gray or gold colors. They are a composite breed with an ancient Dutch Belted ancestry. Dickinson Cattle Co. LLC of Barnesville, Ohio is a major producer of these flamboyant, fast growing cattle.

Caption #1893-7 Rush hour traffic is often bumper to bumper at Dickinson Cattle Co. LLC (DCCI) of Barnesville, Ohio. BueLingo cattle are herded to rotation pastures by ATV ranch hands right down the middle of Muskrat Rd. DCCI is one of the major BueLingo producers in the nation. For more info, see www.dickinsonlonghorn.net.


Registered Texas Longhorns since 1967

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