Genetic parameter and breeding value estimation of donkeys’ problem-focused coping styles

Francisco Javier Navas González, Jordi Jordana Vidal, José Manuel León Jurado, Ander Arando Arbulu, Amy Katherine McLean, Juan Vicente Delgado Bermejo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Donkeys are recognized therapy or leisure-riding animals. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that more reactive donkeys or those more easily engaging flight mechanisms tend to be easier to train compared to those displaying the natural donkey behaviour of fight. This context brings together the need to quantify such traits and to genetically select donkeys displaying a neutral reaction during training, because of its implication with handler/rider safety and trainability. We analysed the scores for coping style traits from 300 Andalusian donkeys from 2013 to 2015. Three scales were applied to describe donkeys’ response to 12 stimuli. Genetic parameters were estimated using multivariate models with year, sex, husbandry system and stimulus as fixed effects and age as a linear and quadratic covariable. Heritabilities were moderate, 0.18 ± 0.020 to 0.21 ± 0.021. Phenotypic correlations between intensity and mood/emotion or response type were negative and moderate (−0.21 and −0.25, respectively). Genetic correlations between the same variables were negative and moderately high (−0.46 and −0.53, respectively). Phenotypic and genetic correlations between mood/emotion and response type were positive and high (0.92 and 0.95, respectively). Breeding values enable selection methods that could lead to endangered breed preservation and genetically selecting donkeys for the uses that they may be most suitable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-76
JournalBehavioural Processes
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Equus asinus
  • Flight
  • Freeze
  • Genetic correlations
  • Heritability
  • Selection index


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