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Welsh Black -cow- Wales

Welsh Black
(most common name)
(transboundary/brand name)

local/other name (Welsh):
• Gwartheg Duon Cymreig

The Welsh Black is believed to have originated from Celtic cattle that were driven from the Iberian Peninsula during various Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Jute invasions.

The extremely variable conditions under which they were maintained in each locality led to native Welsh cattle in the 1700s ranging in type from large to the ‘lowest runt’. It was not until the 1800s that they began being crossed with other breeds, including:
• Dutch cattle (maybe)
• Alderney cattle (maybe)

1873 - Welsh Black Cattle Society formed; colored varieties excluded from registration
1883 - society divided into north and south societies due to different types of dual-purpose horned cattle in each area, including:
- Anglesey (northern; short-legged and blocky; now extinct)
- Pembroke (southern; taller, longer coarser body, thicker hide, rougher coat, slower maturation; now extinct)

Both types were taken down the drove roads to fattening pastures in the English Midlands. The Anglesey and Pembroke (and its varieties) evolved into the Welsh Black.

1904 - the two societies recombined to form current Welsh Black Cattle Society
late 1940s - polled Welsh Black animals noted
1981 - Ancient Cattle of Wales (Gwartheg Hyfanol Cymru) formed to conserve and promote colored varieties found in Wales that had been excluded from the Welsh Black breeding societies

The Welsh Black is described as:
• black (usually)
• chocolate brown-black
• red recessive has emerged in recent years
• small amount of white in tail switch or on the udder is permitted
• medium-sized (varies according management conditions)
• short-legged
• deep-bodied
• short-headed
• horned

The Welsh Black can be found in:
• Australia (breed society)
• Canada (breed society)
• Germany (breed society)
• Jamaica
• New Zealand (breed society)
• Uganda
• Saudi Arabia
• Tristan Da Cunha (aka Tristan, a remote group of volcanic islands in the south Atlantic Ocean)

(English Midlands) Welsh runt = Welsh Black bullock

This page was last updated on: 2023-05-21

You can also go to:

My Daily Cow® Wales and read about other Welsh cattle breeds.

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