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." The "subjective selection of breeding stock" in horses has led to many horse breeds with particular performance traits.

§Purebred breeding

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

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. 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.

§See also

§Plant and animal breeding

  • Artificial insemination of livestock and pets
  • Artificial selection
  • Agricultural science
  • Backyard breeder
  • Genomics of domestication
  • Plant breeding
  • Progeny testing
  • Selective breeding


  • Robert Bakewell
  • Arthur B. Chapman
  • James Hutton

§Other topics

  • ASReml, a software package for animal breeding statistics
  • Veterinary medicine
    • Veterinary surgeon
    • Veterinarian



  • Lush, JL (1937), Animal Breeding Plans, Ames, Iowa: Iowa State Press 
  • Kempthorne, O (1957), Introduction to Statistic Genetics, John Wiley & Sons 
  • Van Vleck, L. D., & Searle, S. R. (1979), Variance components and animal breeding: proceedings of a conference in honor of C.R. Henderson, Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University 
  • Henderson, CR (1984), Applications of linear models in animal breeding, Guelph, Ont: University of Guelph, ISBN 0-88955-030-1 
  • Hammond K. Gianola, D (1990), Advances in Statistical Methods for Genetic Improvement of Livestock (Advanced Series in Agricultural Sciences), Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. K, ISBN 3-540-50809-0 
  • Massey, JW and Vogt, DW (1993), Heritability and Its Use in Animal Breeding, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri 
  • Mrode, R. A. (1996), Linear models for the prediction of animal breeding values, Oxon: CAB International, ISBN 0-85198-996-9 
  • Cameron, N. D. (1997), Selection indices and prediction of genetic merit in animal breeding, Oxon: CAB International, ISBN 0-85199-169-6 
  • Dalton, C, Willis, MB (1998), Dalton's Introduction to Practical Animal Breeding, Oxford: Blackwell Science, ISBN 0-632-04947-2 
  • Bourdon, RM (2000), Understanding animal breeding, Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-096449-2 
  • Newman, S, Rothschild, MF (2002), Intellectual Property Rights in Animal Breeding and Genetics, Wallingford, Oxon, UK: CABI Pub, ISBN 0-85199-641-8 

§External links

  • Animal Breeding - The Genetic Basis Of Animal Breeding, Economic Considerations, Modern Methods In Biotechnology, Artificial Insemination 
  • Guidelines For Uniform Swine Improvement Programs, National Swine Improvement Federation, 2003 

§Academic centers

  • Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre, Wageningen University, Netherlands 
  • Animal Breeding and Genetics Group, University of Georgia, USA 
  • Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, University of Guelph, Canada 
  • Animal Breeding & Genetics, Cornell University, USA 
  • Animal Breeding & Genetics, Iowa State University, USA 
  • Breeding and Genetics Program, Colorado State University, USA 
  • Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit, University of New England, Australia 
  • European Graduate School in Animal Breeding and Genetics (EGS-ABG), AgroParisTech, France ; Wageningen University, Netherlands ; Aarhus University, Denmark ; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden 


  • Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, ISSN 0931-2668 


  • Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Australia 
  • Roslin Institute, Scotland 
  • Animal Breeding, Genetics & Genomics, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, USA 
  • Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, USA 
  • Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit, Australia 
  • INRA, Institut National de la Recherché Agronomique, France 
  • INIA, Instituto Nacional Investigación Agraria, Spain 
  1. ^ Meat Atlas 2014 â€" 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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