Fair enough, it didn't "feel" like a lining though, just felt like the back of the leather (i.e it was in no way soft as you describe), and I bought them as unlined. Weird.
Still, I can't see cowhide being stiffer then those things, they were stiffer and more brutal than any other leather option I've had.
That is interesting, regarding the softness of the lining. I'm actually wearing my lined bullhide BHs right now, and when I put them on this morning I checked the lining and it is extremely soft and smooth. It may be that there is some variation to the lining thickness (it is leather afterall) and maybe that is why your boots felt so stiff? The uppers on my BHs felt almost broken-in right out of the box. Much softer than either pair of my other White's using the standard black and brown smooth leather. In fact I was worried they would not be as durable as the smooth cowhide, but that is definitely not the case. The bullhide uppers look the same today as they did almost 4 years ago. No wear, just a few more wrinkles.