Clinical and biomedical studies have provided evidence for the critical role of n-3 fatty acids on the reduction of chronic disease risk in humans, including cardiovascular disease. In the current experiment, the potential to enhance milk n-3 content in two breeds with inherent genetic differences in mammary lipogenesis and de novo fatty acid synthesis was examined using extruded linseeds. Six lactating cows (three Holstein and three Jersey) were used in a two-treatment switchback design with 3 × 21-day experimental periods to evaluate the effect of iso-energetic replacement of calcium salts of palm oil distillate (CPO) in the diet (34 g/kg dry matter (DM)) with 100 g/kg DM extruded linseeds (LIN). For both breeds, replacing CPO with LIN had no effect (P > 0.05) on DM intake or milk yield, but reduced (P < 0.05) milk fat and protein yield (on average, from 760 to 706 and 573 to 552 g/day, respectively). Relative to CPO, the LIN treatment reduced (P < 0.01) total saturated fatty acid content and enhanced (P < 0.001) 18:3n-3 in milk, whereas breed by diet interactions were significant for milk fat 16:0, total trans fatty acid and conjugated linoleic acid concentrations. Increases in 18:3n-3 intake derived from LIN in the diet were transferred into milk with a mean marginal transfer efficiency of 1.8%. Proportionate changes in milk fatty acid composition were greater in the Jersey, highlighting the importance of diet–genotype interactions on mammary lipogenesis. More extensive studies are required to determine the role of genotype on milk fat composition responses to oilseeds in the diet.