Lakenvelder Cattle: Guide, Info & Facts

Lakenvelder cattle are a rare breed that is primarily used as dairy cows and were so named because “Laken” means sheet in Dutch. The wide white belt around the middle of their bodies gives them a distinctive appearance among farm animals.

This article takes a deeper look at this unique breed that few people have ever seen.

Where Does The Lakenvelder Cattle Come From?

Lakenvelder cattle are also known as Dutch Belt Cows and are a rare breed of dairy cattle from Holland in the Netherlands.

Their ancestors were the belted cows native to Austria and Switzerland which were first imported by Dutch nobility in the 17th century. D.H. Haight was responsible for the importation of Lakenvelders to the United States in 1838.

Dutch Belted breeds were quickly noticed in North America for their looks, and P.T. Barnum bought Dutch belted cows for his circus in America in the 1840s.

The Dutch Belted Cattle Association of America created a herdbook for the breed in 1886 and remains the oldest operating registry for Lakenvelders.

Lakenvelder cattle are listed as critical according to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, with a total worldwide population of less than 1,000.

Lakenvelder Cattle Breed Characteristics

Official Breed NameLakenvelder Cattle
Scientific NameBos (primigenius) taurus
OriginThe Netherlands
AppearanceThe most notable physical characteristic is their color pattern, featuring a thick white belt around their midsection which is flanked on either side by black or red.
Calf Weight70lbs
Mature Cow Weight900 to 1500lbs
Mature Cow Height4 feet
Mature Bull Weight1500 to 2000lbs
Mature Bull Height4.5 feet
Ready To Breed12 to 15 months
Gestation Period283 days
First Calvings2 years with 10 month lactation period
Time to Slaughter6 to 9 months
Expected Lifespan18 to 22 years
Productive Lifespan5+ years
Known ForProlific fertility, milk production and breed longer than most other dairy cows
WeaknessesVery few breeders due to rarity and a small gene pool
ClimateDo best in cooler climates with mild winters
A herd of lakenvelder cows on pasture

What Is So Special About Lakenvelder Cattle?

Lakenvelder cows are known to be more fertile than Holsteins and rarely have reproductive issues.

See Also:  Belted Galloway Cows: Guide, Info & Facts

They produce milk that is partially homogenized due to fat globules being naturally small and this makes their milk easy to digest. Their milk has a butterfat content of 3.5 to 5.5%.

In crossbreeding Lakenvelders with stockier breeds, a higher meat yield can be obtained than with other dairy breeds, making Lakenvelders a dual-purpose cattle.

Why Should I Raise Lakenvelder Cattle On My Farm?

  • Farmsteads will benefit from having Lakenvelder cattle because of their dual-purpose possibility
  • Known for milk production and producing milk that is desirable for drinking and making cheese
  • Breeders have strict breed standards they adhere to
  • Calves are known for being vigorous and healthy
  • Calves can continue to be produced by Lakenvelders into old age
  • Docile temperament makes for easy handling by novices
  • No known health concerns with Lakenvelder cattle
  • They are excellent foragers saving on food costs

Christina Pichler

A longtime resident of Southern California, Christina spent her childhood summers on a farm, raising and caring for cows owned by her grandparents, which prompted a lifelong love of cows, and other farm animals. Christina is passionate about writing, having written hundreds of articles for well-known websites, and uses her English degree in service of her love for animal welfare, most recently taking on a writing position at Cow Care Taker in 2022.

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