Matching in Livestock Breeding

Matching in Livestock Breeding


the selective mating of animal parental pairs in order to breed offspring with desirable characteristics. Matching is the most important factor in any breeding method. It is closely associated with selection in livestock breeding and has as its goal the qualitative improvement of existing breeds and the creation of new breeds.

Matching may be homogenetic (inbreeding) or heterogenetic (crossbreeding). Inbreeding refers to mating sires and dams with similar anatomical characteristics and levels of performance and often with the same origins. Crossbreeding refers to mating individuals with differing anatomical characteristics, origins, and levels of performance.

Homogenetic matching, conducted over several generations, preserves, strengthens, and intensifies positive traits in the offspring. The heterogenetic matching of individuals with desirable characteristics creates a new type of animal without the defects of the parents. This type of matching enriches or develops heredity selectively and raises the coefficient of heritability in succeeding generations.

In the breeding selection process there can be individual matching, group matching, or individual-group matching; in poultry raising there is also family-group matching. In individual matching, each dam is mated with a sire that has been evaluated through his offspring and proved in his combining ability; mating may then be expected to yield offspring with the desirable qualities. With group matching, a group of similar dams of a certain merit and pedigree value is matched with a group of sires usually of a much higher merit. For individual-group matching, the dam livestock is divided into several groups, each consisting of animals that are similar in anatomical characteristics, levels of performance, and origins. A male of a higher merit is then matched with the females of each group. With family-group matching, a group of specially selected laying hens with high levels of performance are mated with brother-roosters obtained from a father-rooster that has been evaluated according to his offspring.

The principal conditions that influence the results of matching in livestock breeding include the purpose for the matching, the superiority of the sires over the dams, the avoidance of unsubstantiated matings between related animals, the correction of defects in offspring, the obtainment of an intermediate type, the creation of a new combination of characters by means of heterogeneous matching, the conversion of the merits of an especially outstanding animal to group qualities by means of linebreeding, and the work done with families. Matching in livestock breeding is not limited to obtaining just the first generation. Only a series of purposeful matchings over a number of generations produces the desired changes.


Kravchenko, N. A. Plemennoi podbor, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1957.
Borisenko, E. Ia. Razvedenie sel’skokhoziaistvennykh zhivotnykh, 4th ed. Moscow, 1967.