Science & Equine

  • Logo Mono
Written by Anouk van Breukelen
Posted in Social behavior

Image by:

Variation in personality between horse breeds

Some horse owners believe that the personality of their horse shows characteristics typical to the breed. This has partly been supported by research on the heritability of personality characteristics in a range of species, which shows that certain personality traits are can be genetically transferred from parents to offspring.

The most variance between breeds was observed for anxiousness and excitability. The Thoroughbred, Arabian and Welsh ponies were ranked highest for both traits. These three breeds also received the highest scores for sociability and inquisitiveness, however between breed variability was moderately low. Dominance and protection showed little variance between breeds and on average all scores were negative.

Expert opinion by Anouk van Breukelen

The results of this study provide evidence for the presence of breed typical personalities, which raises further questions about the heritability of personality and behaviour in horses. This information may help in selecting a suitable breed when buying a horse for sport, recreation or other areas in equation. However, individual personalities within breeds can always deviate and should therefore be individually assessed.

> From: Lloyd et al., Applied Animal Behaviour Science 112 (2008) 369-383. All rights reserved to Elsevier B.V.. Click here for the online summary.

Image by: Anouk van Breukelen

About the author of this summary:

More summaries from this author