Kreis Gütersloh was made in 1973 when all of the districts in North Rhine-Westphalia, where changed. The old districts of Halle and Wiedenbrück were joined, and parts of the districts of Bielefeld, Paderborn, Beckum and Warendorf were added to the new district.
The coat of arms was adopted with the creation of the district in 1973 by joining symbols from the arms of the old districts Halle and Rheda-Wiedenbrück. The three elements are from the medieval counties in the area now covered by the district.
The golden eagle in the bottom of the coat comes from the duchy of Rietberg. The wheel in the middle comes from the sign of the city of Osnabrück, which owned the Amt Reckenberg. The chevrons in the top part are the symbol of the duchy of Ravensberg.