Morphological measurements of Lipizzan horses from state-owned studs in seven European countries (Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovkia and Slovenia) were recorded to characterize the base population of Lipizzan horse breeding. A total of 37 distance and angular measures were taken on each of the 368 breeding mares and 145 stallions from eight studs.
Significant differences between studs were found for most of the traits, 34 of 37 for mares, 29 of 37 for stallions. Repeatabilities of measurements, based on two repetitions in 100 horses, varied from 0.23 to 0.95. Some measurements, most frequently taken in horse breeding showed high repeatability. 0.95 for hight at withers and cannon bone circumference, but chest girth showed a rather low repeatability of 0.45.
Heritabilities of the traits varied from 0.00 to 0.55. Estimates were comparable to literature results and they were partly inconsistent. The results partially reflect different breeding goals and they are a useful tool for these studs to optimize their further breeding strategy.
equine body measurements / Lipizzan stock population / evaluation of equine exterieur / breeding selection / repeatability / heritability