Randall Cattle or Randall Lineback Cattle are dual-listed by the American Livestock Breed Conservancy as a critically endangered American landrace breed. This cattle breed originated in Sunderland, Vermont.
Randall cattle are a rare breed of purebred cattle developed in Sunderland, Vermont, USA, on the farm of Samuel Randall, and later his son, Everett Randall. The Randall family kept a closed herd for over 80 years. Randalls are considered to be a landrace breed, descended from the local cattle common in New England in the nineteenth Century.
In 1985 the Randall cattle were rescued from the Randall farm after Everett Randall had died. The animals were widely dispersed but soon began to disappear. Cynthia Creech, then living in Tennessee, stepped in to purchase most of the remaining animals to preserve the genetics from extinction. During the following years the breed was called various names. There are now two separate breed associations charged with promoting and registering the Randall or Randall Lineback animals: the Randall Cattle Registry and the Randall Lineback Breed association.
Randall Linebacks are an all-purpose breed, meaning they originally served as dairy, meat, and draft animals. From fewer than 20 animals the breed population has increased to over 350 breeding females.
Randall cattle are quite variable in size and conformation and have a constitution that is suited to the New England climate. Randalls on average are medium in size with the cows weighing about 600-1100 lbs. and bulls weighing from 1000 to 1800 lbs. or more. Randall cattle have a "Colour-sided" lineback pattern, black markings on a white base, varying from almost white to very dark. Other subtle shades such as blue, mahogany, and gray have been observed, and there are now a number of recessive reds.
Randall meat characteristics can vary between different family lines, for example some produce a lean carcase with yellow fat and others produce a beefier well marbled carcass.
Calving difficulties are rare, and metabolic disorders have not been seen. They have strong maternal and survival instincts, high intelligence, and are very docile when handled regularly.
This breed is uniquely adapted to extensive or low input farming systems. Historically, the most suitable and natural environment for these cattle has been on small scale forage-based farms, subsistence farms, and homesteads. It is on such farms and homesteads that the unique genetic attributes of the Randalls can be fully expressed. .
Most Randall Lineback cattle are currently found in the Eastern United States and Canada, all on cool weather farms. The largest Randall Lineback herd is located at Chapel Hill Farm, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The second largest herd, and the Randall Registry, call South Kent, Connecticut home. Other, much smaller, herds exist, most of them dairying. While breed numbers are greatly improved, the breed remains critically endangered, according to the American Livestock Breed Conservancy.