Animal breeding

This article is about breeding of animals by humans. For breeding of animals in the wild, see Breeding in the wild. For other uses, see animal breeding (disambiguation).

Animal breeding is a branch of animal science that addresses the evaluation (using best linear unbiased prediction and other methods) of the genetic value (estimated breeding value, EBV) of livestock. Selecting for breeding animals with superior EBV in growth rate, egg, meat, milk, or wool production, or with other desirable traits has revolutionized livestock production throughout the world. The scientific theory of animal breeding incorporates population genetics, quantitative genetics, statistics, and recently molecular genomics and is based on the pioneering work of Sewall Wright, Jay Lush, and Charles Henderson.

Breeding stock

Breeding stock is a group of animals used for the purpose of planned breeding. When individuals are looking to breed animals, they look for certain valuable traits in purebred animals, or may intend to use some type of crossbreeding to produce a new type of stock with different, and presumably superior abilities in a given area of endeavor. For example, when breeding swine the "breeding stock should be sound, fast growing, muscular, lean, and reproductively efficient."[1] The "subjective selection of breeding stock" in horses has led to many horse breeds with particular performance traits.[2]

Purebred breeding

See also: Purebred

Mating animals of the same breed for maintaining such breed is referred to as purebred breeding. Opposite to the practice of mating animals of different breeds, purebred breeding aims to establish and maintain stable traits, that animals will pass to the next generation. By "breeding the best to the best," employing a certain degree of inbreeding, considerable culling, and selection for "superior" qualities, one could develop a bloodline or "breed" superior in certain respects to the original base stock.

Such animals can be recorded with a breed registry, the organisation that maintains pedigrees and/or stud books. The observable phenomenon of hybrid vigor stands in contrast to the notion of breed purity.

Backyard breeding

Main article: Backyard breeder

In the United States, a backyard breeder is someone who breeds animals, often without registration and with a focus on profit. In some cases the animals are inbred narrowly for looks with little regard to health.[3] The term is considered derogatory. If a backyard dog breeder has a significant number of breeding animals, they become associated with puppy mills. Most puppy mills are licensed with the USDA.[4]

See also

Plant and animal breeding


Other topics


  1. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (n.d.). "Selection of Swine Breeding Stock" (PDF). pp. 1–4.
  2. James Warren Evans (1992). Horse breeding and management. Elsevier Health Science. ISBN 978-0-444-88282-0.
  3. The Obama family dog saga. LA Times.
  4. Rescue groups paint a sad story of Iowa’s puppy mills. The Messenger.

Further reading

The seven biggest breeders[1][2]

External links

Academic centers



  1. Meat Atlas 2014 – Facts and figures about the animals we eat , page 24, download Meat Atlas
  2. ETC Group, Putting the Cartel before the Horse ... and Farm, Seeds, Soil, Peasants, etc. , page 17, chapter: Livestock Genetic, September 2013
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