Animal breeding is a branch of animal science that addresses the evaluation (using best linear unbiased prediction and other methods) of the genetic value (estimated breeding value, EBV) of livestock. Selecting for breeding animals with superior EBV in growth rate, egg, meat, milk, or wool production, or with other desirable traits has revolutionized livestock production throughout the world. The scientific theory of animal breeding incorporates population genetics, quantitative genetics, statistics, and recently molecular genomics and is based on the pioneering work of Sewall Wright, Jay Lush, and Charles Henderson.
Breeding stock is a group of animals used for the purpose of planned breeding. When individuals are looking to breed animals, they look for certain valuable traits in purebred animals, or may intend to use some type of crossbreeding to produce a new type of stock with different, and presumably superior abilities in a given area of endeavor. For example, when breeding swine the "breeding stock should be sound, fast growing, muscular, lean, and reproductively efficient." The "subjective selection of breeding stock" in horses has led to many horse breeds with particular performance traits.
Mating animals of the same breed for maintaining such breed is referred to as purebred breeding. Opposite to the practice of mating animals of different breeds, purebred breeding aims to establish and maintain stable traits, that animals will pass to the next generation. By "breeding the best to the best," employing a certain degree of inbreeding, considerable culling, and selection for "superior" qualities, one could develop a bloodline or "breed" superior in certain respects to the original base stock.
Such animals can be recorded with a breed registry, the organisation that maintains pedigrees and/or stud books. The observable phenomenon of hybrid vigor stands in contrast to the notion of breed purity.
In the United States, a backyard breeder is someone who breeds animals, often without registration and with a focus on profit. In some cases the animals are inbred narrowly for looks with little regard to health. The term is considered derogatory. If a backyard dog breeder has a significant number of breeding animals, they become associated with puppy mills. Most puppy mills are licensed with the USDA.
Plant and animal breeding
- Artificial insemination of livestock and pets
- Artificial selection
- Agricultural science
- Backyard breeder
- Genomics of domestication
- Plant breeding
- Progeny testing
- Selective breeding
- ASReml, a software package for animal breeding statistics
- Veterinary medicine
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- Domestic Animal Diversity Information System
- Guidelines For Uniform Swine Improvement Programs, National Swine Improvement Federation, 2003
- Implementing the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources
- Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre, Wageningen University, Netherlands
- Animal Breeding and Genetics Group, University of Georgia, USA
- Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, University of Guelph, Canada
- Animal Breeding & Genetics, Cornell University, USA
- Animal Breeding & Genetics, Iowa State University, USA
- Breeding and Genetics Program, Colorado State University, USA
- Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit, University of New England, Australia
- European Graduate School in Animal Breeding and Genetics (EGS-ABG), AgroParisTech, France ; Wageningen University, Netherlands ; Aarhus University, Denmark ; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
- Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Australia
- Roslin Institute, Scotland
- Animal Breeding, Genetics & Genomics, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, USA
- Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, USA
- Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit, Australia
- INRA, Institut National de la Recherché Agronomique, France
- INIA, Instituto Nacional Investigación Agraria, Spain
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