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n. (context often attributive English) Any local variety of a domesticated animal or plant species that has adapted over time to its ecological and cultural environment (including, in some cases, its work).


A landrace is a domesticated, regional ecotype; a locally adapted, traditional variety of a domesticated species of animal or plant that has developed over time, through adaptation to its natural and cultural environment of agriculture and pastoralism, and due to isolation from other populations of the species. Landraces are generally distinguished from cultivars, and from breeds in the standardized sense, although the term landrace breed is sometimes used as distinguished from the term standardized breed when referring to cattle. The -race in this word refers to the taxonomic definition of race in biology, not the ethnographic sense of the word.

Specimens of a landrace tend to be relatively genetically uniform, but are more diverse than members of a standardized or formal breed. Some standardized animal breeds originate from attempts to make landraces more consistent through selective breeding and a landrace may become a more formal breed with the creation of a breed registry and/or publication of a breed standard. In such a case, the landrace may be thought of as a "stage" in breed development. However, in other cases, formalizing a landrace may result in the genetic resource of a landrace being lost through crossbreeding. Landraces are distinct from ancestral wild species of modern stock, and from separate species or subspecies derived from the same ancestor as modern domestic stock. Landraces are not all derived from ancient stock largely unmodified by human breeding interests. In a number of cases, most commonly dogs and horses, domestic animals have escaped in sufficient numbers in an area to breed feral populations that, through evolutionary pressure, can form new landraces in only a few centuries. In other cases, simple failure to maintain breeding regimens can do the same. For example, selectively bred cultivars can become new landraces when loosely selective reproduction is applied.

Increasing adoption of and reliance upon modern, purposefully selected plant strains, considered improved – "scientifically bred to be uniform and stable" – has led to a reduction in biodiversity. The majority of the genetic diversity of domesticated species lies in landraces and other traditionally used varieties, a "reservoir of genetic resources".

Landrace (disambiguation)

A landrace is a type of domestic animal or plant adapted to the natural and cultural environment in which it originated, with minimal selective breeding. Some have "landrace" in the names:

  • Danish landrace duck
  • Danish landrace goose

The term is also used informally in reference to cannabis plants to designate specific varieties, e.g. Colombian Gold, etc.; these are more properly cultivars, not landraces.

Capitalized, the term is also used in the name of several "Landrace breeds", selectively-bred, standardized breeds, derived wholly or in part from actual landraces:

  • American Landrace pig
  • Belgian Landrace pig
  • British Landrace pig
  • Bulgarian Landrace pig
  • Canadian Landrace pig
  • Danish Landrace pig
  • Dutch Landrace pig
  • Finnish Landrace pig
  • French Landrace pig
  • German Landrace pig
  • Italian Landrace pig
  • Norwegian Landrace pig
  • Polish Landrace pig
  • South African Landrace pig
  • Swedish Landrace pig
  • Swiss Landrace pig
  • Twente Landrace goose
  • British Landrace goat, better known as the British Primitive goat or Old British goat; it subsumes earlier classifications:
    • English Landrace goat
    • Irish Landrace goat
    • Scottish Landrace goat
    • Welsh Landrace goat
  • Danish Landrace goat
  • Dutch Landrace goat
  • Finnish Landrace goat
  • Swedish Landrace goat
  • Danish Landrace sheep
  • Finnish Landrace sheep, or Finnsheep
  • Old Norwegian Short Tail Landrace, or Spælsau