Landrace? What’s That?
Many of the heritage livestock breeds we spotlight in Hobby Farms are referred to as “landrace” breeds. Landrace breeds are what their name suggests: races adapted to thrive in a specific land or locality, such as Pineywoods cattle and Spanish goats in hot and humid regions of the South.
Landrace breeds are often divided into individual strains further adapted to a family or group’s intended use, such as the Griffen strain of dairy-type Pineywoods cattle developed by William Griffen in southern Mississippi and the meaty, cashmere-bearing Syfan line of Spanish goats shaped by Tom and Meta Syfan in Mountain Home, Texas.
Landrace breeds aren’t bred for uniformity in the manner of standardized breeds; they’re consistent enough to be recognized as distinct populations, but they vary in appearance more widely than individuals of standard breeds.
Most landrace breeds evolved in isolated, sometimes compromised environments outside the mainstream production of their species. Within the breed, human input into selection is frequently minimal. Apart from Pineywoods and Florida Cracker cattle and Spanish goats, examples include Rocky Mountain and Mountain Pleasure horses, Randall Lineback cattle, Mulefoot hogs and Gulf Coast (Native) sheep. — Sue Weaver