Interbreed variation in craniometrical parameters in sheep.
Owen, M. H.
Beard, C. E.
Olvera Ramirez, A. M.
McEwan, Neil R.
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OWEN, M.H., DAVIES, R., BEARD, C.E., OLVERA RAMIREZ, A.M. and MCEWAN, N.R. 2017. Interbreed variation in craniometrical parameters in sheep. Large animal review [online], 23(5), pages 177-182. https://cms.sivarnet.it/it/lar
This work is the first investigation to compare craniometrical parameters between different breeds of sheep. Nine breeds or cross-breeds of sheep were studied, with all measurements being carried out on live animals at times of routine animal husbandry. Although a number of the variables were not significantly different between breeds, examples of interbreed differences were found. This was true for both individual measurements of lengths and widths, as well as for indices derived by pair-wise comparisons of individual widths or lengths. In some cases differences indicated that the cross-bred lambs shared a greater similarity to one of the parental breeds relative to the other parental breed; e.g. the width between the ears relative to the length from the nuchal crest to the rostral aspect of the upper lip, where Texel x Wiltshire cross lambs had ratios more similar to the maternal Wiltshire than they had to the paternal Texel line. In other examples the cross-breeds had values which were intermediate between the two parental lines; e.g. the width at the rostral aspect of the diastema relative to the length from the nuchal crest to the rostral aspect of the upper lip, where Texel x Wiltshire cross lambs had ratios intermediate between the maternal Wiltshire and the paternal Texel lines. For one of the ratio values (the length from the nuchal crest to the rostral aspect of the upper lip, relative to the width at the caudal aspect of the diastema) it was particularly interesting to note that this was a trait where the male Suffolk x Brecknock Hill Cheviot cross lambs were more similar to the Suffolks (i.e. the paternal line), but the females cross lambs were more similar to the Brecknock Hill Cheviots (i.e. the maternal line). It is anticipated that this work will provide implications for using craniometrical parameters as a future husbandry tool.