Randall or Randall LinebackAngelique2021-07-22T20:43:54+00:00
1600 – 1100 lbs
Originally triple purpose: beef, plowing, milk, few milk them today
Country of Origin: United States
RANDALL OR RANDALL LINEBACK CATTLE
The Randall Lineback is a purebred remnant of the lineback-patterned cattle once common in New England. Though their origins aren’t clear, they’re likely to have originated in New England from a combination of Dutch, English, and French cattle. Historically, Linebacks were multi-purpose, having been used for dairy and beef production, as well as oxen. This made them an integral part of rural New England life for several centuries. The population was not formally organized, except for the brief existence of the Columbian breed association in the early 1900s. Most of the Lineback’s population was lost over the last century through crossbreeding with Holsteins.
Randall Lineback Cattle
The “lineback” part of the breed’s name describes their lineback color pattern. The cattle are blue-black with a white line down their backs. The roan coloring on their sides varies from almost black to nearly white, with black noses, eye rings, ears, feet, and teats. Between the extremes are many animals that are blue roan or speckled. All of the variants are stunning, especially against a background of green grass.
The name Randall comes from the Randall family in Vermont, who kept a closed herd of Linebacks for over 80 years. The Randall herd was one of the few herds of Linebacks that weren’t crossbred with Holsteins. However, after the death of Everett Randall, their herd was dispersed and most of the animals were lost to slaughter. Through a convoluted pathway and with the efforts of Livestock Conservancy members, a small part of the herd was saved and has been the foundation for conservation efforts.
Randall Linebacks are medium-sized cattle. Some variation in conformation does occur, but the majority of cows have dairy conformation and well-developed udders. Bulls are large and demonstrate good growth rates. A few steers have been trained as oxen, a task they’ve excelled at. Their unusual color, willingness, and ability make them attractive and capable draft animals.
The Randall Lineback breed is distinct from the American Lineback, which includes any dairy animal with the lineback color pattern. Though the American Lineback registry includes some animals of historic breeding, this population falls short of the genetic definition of a breed.
Randall Lineback cattle are critically rare, and the cattle are being closely managed for increasing numbers and maintaining genetic health. With more than 500 in 2015, the breed is more secure now than in the recent past, although additional breeders would ensure its continued survival.
Did you know:
The Livestock Conservancy is America’s leading organization working to save over 150 heritage breeds from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants, and donations from the public to raise the $700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare breeds of farm animals. Click here to learn how you can help.