Meet the Belgian Blue, the cattle version of Arnold Schwarzenegger! Contrary to what you may think, these bovine bodybuilders aren’t the result of intensive steroid use.
Similarly to the featherless chicken, this man-made monstrosity is a prime example of the genetic power that selective breeding holds.
As suggested by its name, the breed originates from central and upper Belgium. Its history tracks back in the nineteenth century, from crossing local breeds with a Shorthorn breed from the U.K. Possibly, the Charolais cattle (a heavy breed from France) was cross-bred as well.
The modern version of the breed was developed in the 1950s by Professor Hanset, who worked at an artificial insemination center in Liege province.
The gene mutation responsible for the breed’s heavily muscled stature (more on this later) was maintained through line-breeding, to the point where the condition became a fixed property of the Belgian Blue breed.
The breed was introduced in the United States in 1978, by Nick Tutt, a farmer from central Canada who immigrated to west Texas and exhibited the Belgian Blue to the local universities and breeders.