The Larson Blue coat color phenotype in Holsteins: Characteristics and effects on body temperature regulation and production in lactating cows in a hot climate

DİKMEN S., Dahl G. E., Cole J. B., Null D. J., Hansen P. J.

JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE, vol.95, no.3, pp.1164-1169, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 95 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.2527/jas.2016.1148
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1164-1169
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Here we report a previously undescribed coat color phenotype in Holstein cattle. Larson Blue Holsteins, located on a dairy in south Florida, exhibit a coloration pattern that is similar to that of black and white or red and white Holsteins except that, instead of being black or red, darker regions of the body vary in color from gray to taupe. The Larson Blue phenotype was readily apparent in young calves. The phenotype is not due to inheritance of known mutations causing coat color variation in cattle, including dominant red, Telstar, silver color dilutor, or Dun color. Three variants with moderate effects on the melanophilin (MLPH) gene were identified in 2 Larson blue cows. Despite being lighter in color, there was no difference in daily variation in vaginal temperature between Larson Blue and other Holsteins when recorded during the summer for cows housed in free-stall barns with shade, fans, and sprinklers. Similarly, there was no effect of the Larson Blue phenotype on seasonal variation in milk yield. Therefore, the phenotype confers no advantage in terms of response to heat stress when cattle are housed in facilities with extensive cooling.