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Belgian Blue -bull- Belgium

Belgian Blue
(transboundary/brand name)

(most common name):
Blanc-Bleu Belge
local/other name (Danish):
• Belgisk Blåhvidt kvæg
local/other name (Dutch):
• Belgisch Wit-Blauw
local/other name (English):
• Belgian Blue-White
• Belgian Roan
• Belgian White and Blue Pied
Belgian White-Blue
• Blue
• Blue Belgian
British Blue
• Central and Upland
• Mid-Belgian
• White Meuse and Schelde
local/other name (Flemish):
Witblauw ras van België
local/other name (French):
• Blanc-bleu belge
local/other name (German):
• Weissblaue
historical breed name (English):
• Central and Upper Belgian (until 1971)
historical breed name (Flemish):
• Ras van Midden-en Hoog-België (until 1971)
historical breed name (French):
• Race de la Moyenne et Haute Belgique (until 1971)

The Belgian Blue is a locally derived beef breed that has been very successful commercially. ‘Locally derived’ means that local cattle were improved in stages. It is calculated that the double-muscling mutation took place as breed formation began.

Breed origination stories for the Belgian Blue vary.

Felius (Encyclopedia 1995): Belgian Blue
1840–60 - local red pied and black pied cattle of central Belgium (especially Hesbaye and Condroz provinces) were crossed with Dutch and Shorthorn bulls resulting in better conformation and well-fleshed hindquarters
1890 - Shorthorn influence ended; Charolais introduced and preferred type became less blocky
1920–50 - selection was for a rounded, dual-purpose animal; double-muscled calves were born regularly
1960–70 - cesarean birth became more widely practiced; most breeders switched to double-muscled beef type
1983 - 97% of breeding bulls were double-muscled beef type

Mason (Dictionary 2002, 2020): Belgian Blue
• Belgium Blue originated in central and south Belgium
1850–1890 - Shorthorn bulls × local red or red pied Belgium cows
1840–1890 - Dutch Black Pied bulls × local red or red pied Belgium cows
1919 - Belgian Blue herdbook established

Mason (Encyclopedia 2016): Belgian Blue
• local cattle in southern Belgium in the Région Limoneuse were crossed with Shorthorns and became Bleu du Limon cattle; double-muscling was observed in these cattle (known as culard, croupe de poulain or doppelender)
1896 - Bleu du Limon herdbook established
1949 - veterinary antibiotics became available; bovine caesarean sections became more practical
1969 - herdbook society decided double-muscled cattle could not be registered
1973 - new herdbook formed with formal separation of mixte or dual-purpose line (DP-BBB) and beef line (BBB)
1998 - DP-BBB considered endangered
2007 - DP-BBB population stabilized

Mason (Dictionary 2002, 2020): Bleu du Limon
• local cattle in southern Belgium were crossed with Shorthorn, occassionaly including double-muscled types
1896 - Bleu du Limon herdbook established
1969 - double-muscled cattle excluded from Bleu du Limon herdbook
1973 - new Bleu du Limon herdbook formed with formal separation of dual-purpose line (DP-BBB) and beef line (BBB)

Mason Encyclopedia seems to mash two breeds together. It’s very confusing and it is not made clear if the Bleu du Limon simply equals the Belgium Blue, or even when that happened because they both have different ‘herdbook established’ years.

DP-BBB are also known as:
• Bleue Mixte
• Blanc-Bleu type mixte
• Dual Purpose Blue

Belgian Blues can be described as:
• blue-roan, blue pied, black pied or white coat
• colorsided (frequently)
• very large-bodied
• large carcass size with high percentage of valuable cuts

Countries the Belgian Blue has been exported to include:
• Denmark
• Canada (breed society 1986)
• France (breed society 1989)
• Germany
• Great Britain (breed society 1983)
• Ireland (breed society 1980)
• Netherlands
• USA (breed society 1988)

The Belgian Blue is used for crossbreeding with Black Pied and Red Pied cows in:
• Denmark
• Great Britain
• Netherlands

NOTE: Meuse and Schelde are rivers which flow through France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

(French) Région Limoneuse = silty region
(French) Bleu du Limon = Limon Blue
(German) doppelender = double
(French) culard = double-muscled
(French) croupe de poulain = rump of the foal (or colt)
(French) Blanc-bleu belge = Belgian White-Blue

This page was last updated on: 2023-06-06

You can also go to:

My Daily Cow® Belgium and read about other Belgian cattle breeds.

The Cow Wall® A-Z Cattle Breed Picture Reference to see other breeds of cattle in the world.