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Forskningsartikel2016Vetenskapligt granskad

The relationship between coat colour phenotype and equine behavior: A pilot study

Finn, Jessica L.; Haase, Bianca; Willet, Cali; van Rooy, Diane; Chew, Tracy; Wade, Claire M.; Hamilton, N. A.; Velie, Brandon


tMutations in the genes influencing melanocytes not only affect the colour of an animal, but are alsobelieved to impact physiological and behavioural functions. When this is taken into consideration,the common perception among horse owners that the chestnut coat colour is associated with adversebehaviours seems plausible. The aim of this study was to explore this perception by providing insightinto any potential genetic associations between coat colour and adverse behaviours in horses. Data wereacquired through an internationally accessible online questionnaire. Respondents provided informationon their horse's behaviour during general handling, whilst being exercised, towards different stimuli intheir environment and when isolated from other horses. Analyses considered behavioural data on 477horses that represented a range of breeds, ages, and event disciplines. The breed, sex, and age of thehorse significantly (P < 0.05) influenced many of the equine behaviours assessed in the questionnaire.Significant differences in behavioural responses between bay and chestnut horses were only present forfour questions. No evidence was found to support that chestnut horses are more likely than bay horses todisplay behaviours often associated with training difficulties. However, chestnut horses were more likelyto approach objects and animals in their environment, regardless of their familiarity. This suggests thatselection for the chestnut phenotype in horses may have inadvertently involved selection for boldnessand altered the way horses interact with their surroundings.


Genetic; Chestnut; Colour; Horse; Red; Sorrel

Publicerad i

Applied Animal Behaviour Science
2016, Volym: 174, sidor: 66-69

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