The Belgian Blue breed was created in Belgium at the beginning of the 19th century by crossing the British Shorthorns or Durhams, the French Charolais and cattle breeds from the Ardennes. Unfortunately the crossbreeding of the Shorthorns did not lead to the expected results, so around the end of the 19th century the crossbreeding was stopped. However, the Belgian Blue breed still has traits of the Shorthorns such as: the fertility, the line and the different colors. Not only did people stop crossbreeding, they also started breeding out lesser traits of the Shorthorns from the Belgian Blue. During World War I, the cattle improvement project was put on hold, but in 1919, the government issued an efficient cattle selection through a royal decree, with the goal of improving Belgian cattle. Once selected, the animals had a triple purpose: milk, meat and work. The animal must be buff, the right size, moderately muscled and give good milk production. This goal was maintained until 1950. The period 1950-1960 was a period of transition, when it was clear that new avenues would emerge with the introduction of artificial insemination in cattle and the consumer demand for more luxurious cuts of beef. This new avenue was in effect from 1960 to 1970. The Belgian Blue breed was originally a mixed form that was responsible for the production of both meat and milk. First with the bulls and then with the cows, the preference was given to a development of muscle. The result is a new type, with characteristics of highly developed muscularity (shoulders, withers, back, loin, hindquarters), large size, fine but firm bone structure, beautiful alignment harmony with round ribs, curved but firm hindquarters, concealed hips and loose tail. The Belgian Blue was created in 1973, the breed was divided into two types: the meat type and the dual-purpose type.
Meat type The added value given for meaty cattle prompted breeders to focus on the muscling. As a result, the Belgian Blue breed has become a true meat breed. The main qualities are: impressive development of muscling, meat quality, size, obedience and uniformity.
Dual purpose type Double purpose type or mixed type is bred for both meat and milk. This selection is parallel to the selection of meat type, due to the use of completely different bull lineages. The type is further divided into 2 genotypes.
Genotype mh/mh The genotype mh/mh is genetically identical to the animals of the pure meat type. The selection here is more on easy calving and milk production. They produce a 4200 to 4800 liters of milk per year. Animals of genotype mh/mh are really thick-boned.
Genotype mh/+ or +/+ Animals with genotype mh/+ or +/+ has more milk production potential, they produce between 5400 and 6000 liters of milk per year. Animals that have +/+, have no defect. Animals that have mh/+, have one mutation that can be transmitted through the father or the mother.