Comparative study of several Pyrenean breeds of sheep by means of the analysis of morphological characters
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The relationships between 32 breeds of sheep (or ecotypes) have been studied by means of qualitative and quantitative analysis of data from 42 morphological characters. The average difference among the breeds (morphological index of difference) takes a value of 1.142 (±0.207), with extreme values of 1.589 for 'Churra Tensina' and 'Peona' breeds; and 0.154 for 'Latxa (cara roja)' and 'Latxa (cara negra)' breeds. The morphological results obtained were similar to those reported by classical ethnology. The clusters obtained correspond to the ovine ancestral branches described ('Merino', 'Churro', 'Ibérico' and 'Celtiberian'). Spanish and French celtiberian sheep breeds are clearly delineated, probably due to the historical influence of English and Danish breeds, and Merinos de Rambouillet, Chatillonais and Soisonnas on the latter group.