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The relationship between coat colour phenotype and equine behaviour: a pilot study

By Jessica L. Finn, Bianca Haase, Cali E. Willet, Diane van Rooy, Tracy Chew, Claire M. Wade, Natasha A. Hamilton, Brandon D. Velie

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Abstract

Mutations in the genes influencing melanocytes not only affect the colour of an animal, but are also believed 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 adverse behaviours seems plausible. The aim of this study was to explore this perception by providing insight into any potential genetic associations between coat colour and adverse behaviours in horses. Data were acquired through an internationally accessible online questionnaire. Respondents provided information on their horse's behaviour during general handling, whilst being exercised, towards different stimuli in their environment and when isolated from other horses. Analyses considered behavioural data on 477 horses that represented a range of breeds, ages, and event disciplines. The breed, sex, and age of the horse significantly ( P

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Tags
  1. Color
  2. Genetics
  3. Horses