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Genetic analyses of herding traits in the Border Collie using sheepdog trial data

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of the data provided from sheepdog trials in Norway, estimate heritabilities, repeatabilities and genetic correlations for the traits included in the trial and make recommendations on how sheepdog trials best can be utilized in the breeding of Border Collies in Norway. The analyses were based on test results from sheepdog trials carried out in Norway from 1993 to 2012. A total of 45 732 records from 3841 Border Collies were available, but after quality assurance only a third was left. The results demonstrated little information in the data. Heritabilities varied between 0.010 and 0.056 with standard errors ranging from 0.010 to 0.023, while repeatabilities ranged from 0.041 to 0.286. There is a need to assure the quality of data to improve the information in the test results. We recommend adding new traits based on the Herding Trait Characterization scheme evaluated in Sweden, and on traits from the predatory motor pattern, regarded as common for all dogs. These new traits may be scored across the elements that make up the current trial system, which should be kept in place to stimulate participation in the genetic evaluation scheme.
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Keywords: Behaviour; breeding; dog; predatory motor pattern; sheep

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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