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TDK conference 2017

Up-to-date conformation study in Hungarian Fallow Donkey
Lénárt Zoltán - year 4
University of Veterinary Medicine, Department for Animal Breeding, Nutrition and Laboratory Animal Science
Supervisors: András Gáspárdy, László Szabára


The Hungarian Fallow Dunkey is our single protected native donkey breed as described in joint decree 4/2007. (I. 18.) FVM KvVM. This study deals with the body measurements, conformation traits and constitutional faults of a selected pool of donkey population registered by Hungarian Fallow Donkey’s Association (HFDA). The reason for this investigation is the lack of type information about this very heterogeneous population without specific breed characteristics manifested in its every individuals.

Altogether there were 129 individuals included from 10 farms and 8 counties in the study (from 727 registered donkeys of the HFDA 2017). On the course of the field investigation there were 15 body measurements taken down and 21 functional traits were described in the frame of linear conformation scoring system first applied in this breed. Then, body indices were calculated from body measurements, and these were processed using general linear models taking the gender, the colour and the age into consideration (Statistica ver. 13).

In general, the effects put into the models did not play a significant role in the manifestation of body measurements. In case of height at withers and cannon girth the impact of gender was confirmed by us: the mares were smaller (p<0.050), and of fines boned (p<0.001) than the stallions.

According to the colour it were find significant differences in height at withers, sacral height, and chest depth (in each, p<0.001): the brown coloured individuals were larger, and the grey ones smaller the average.

Even for body indices the effect of age was not confirmed. In index of strength and index of long-leggedness the stallions and the grey coloured animals shown larger/largest values (in each, p<0.001).

Almost without exemption the median value of the conformation traits was identical with the score 5 which is being on the middle of the scale, although all points of the scale (from 1 to 9) was used on the course of individual description. Deviation was caused by cow hocked (X-legged), sickle hocked, toeing out individuals, and individuals with weak breast.

Regarding the constitutional faults the following five major defects occurred in the donkey population studied: X-leggedness (cow hocked hind limbs) in 88%, toeing out in 78%, steep croup (goose rump) in 51%, sickle hocked hind limbs in 41%, and weak breast in 23%.

The results reflect the remarkable heterogeneity of sub-population investigated. Despite of this fact based on individual records the current size and appearance with constitutional defects of our native donkey breed can be outlined which can serve as a basis for the improvement.

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