The Belgian Blue is a breed of beef cattle from Belgium.
Alternative names for this breed include Belgian Blue-White; Belgian White and Blue Pied; Belgian White Blue; Blue; and Blue Belgian.
The Belgian Blue’s extremely lean, hyper-sculpted, ultra-muscular physique is termed “double-muscling”. The double-muscling phenotype is a heritable condition resulting in an increased number of muscle fibers (hyperplasia), instead of the (normal) enlargement of individual muscle fibers (hypertrophy).
The Belgian Blue is a large sized animal with rounded outline and prominent muscles. The shoulder, back, loin and rump are heavily muscled. The back is straight, rump is sloping, tail set is prominent and skin is fine. It has fine but strong legs and walks easily.
Their colour can range from white, blue roan, black or a combination of them, the colour red is present in some genotypes. The breed is known for its quiet temperament.
The weight of an adult bull ranges from 1100 and 1250kg for a height at the withers of 1.45m to 1.50m. It is by no means rare to see animals of more than 1300kg. Cows can reach a weight of 850 to 900kg and can exceed 1.40m.
The muscle is a natural development for the breed. They are not born with that extreme muscle, but start developing that muscle at 4 to 6 weeks old.
Belgian Blue Beef is famous for its impressive muscling which is commonly referred to as “double muscling”. Belgian Blue Beef outclasses all other beef breed in carcass yield (up to 80%). When used in crossbreeding programs of other dairy or beef breeds, it increases carcass yield from 5 to 7 % compared to the maternal line.
Extensive research has shown that Belgian Blues possess a gene which suppresses the production of myostatin, a protein that normally inhibits muscle growth after a certain point. Pure Belgian Blues carry two copies of this gene; in crossbreeding, one copy is usually transmitted and serves to increase carcass weight in the offspring of a cross-breeding program.
As a result the Belgian Blue carcass produces a high yield of sale-able meat with a boning out % in excess of 85%.