The aim of this paper was to estimate heritabilities and genetic, environmental and phenotypic correlations between conformation and coat traits of animals, and to determine on this basis the further direction of fox breeding improvement. 2072 individuals were studied. The model included a fixed effect of birth year of individuals and random effects of sire and dam mated in a given year with a given sire. Probit transformation was used because conformation and coat traits are evaluated on a discrete scale and their distribution strongly differs from the normal distribution. The obtained heritabilities of conformation traits show that selection on total conformation evaluation, hair length and general appearance of the animal should be characterised by a rather high effectiveness. Selection on body size and colour type of coat is the least promising. Genetic correlations between evaluation of total conformation and the other traits show that selection of this trait should improve (correlated response) all the other traits except body size and colour type. Body size is positively and relatively highly correlated genetically with the amount of silver and hair length, so inclusion of these traits, beside total conformation evaluation, can ensure indirect improvement of animal body size.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.