In the 1960’s, a tame fox was developed in Russia using genetic selection (Belyaev, 1979.). Simultaneously with increasing tameness, favourable changes occurred in reproductive performance (Belyaev, 1979 ; Plyusnina et al., 1996). Genetic gain in confidence tended to contribute to a decrease in stress hormone levels indicating an increased welfare (Osadschuk, 1992 ; Plyusnina et al., 1996 ; Rekilä, 1999). Based on data from 30 Finnish farms, Nikula et al. (2000) found moderate heritability estimates (h2 = 0.22 on an average) in confidence of blue fox and silver fox adults and cubs. In addition, positive genetic and phenotypic correlations occurred between confidence of adult females and litter result as well as between confidence of cubs and skin size and quality. In studies with blue foxes selected for confidence in Finland and Norway, a selection response was achieved (Kenttämies et al., 2001). The aim of the present study based on the Finnish selection experiment was to find out if genetic changes in litter result and fur traits coincide with increasing confidence.

H. Kenttamies, K. Smeds

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 14, , 14.21, 2002
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