Breed standard

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In the breeding of domestic animals and farm animals, the breed standard or breeding standard is the characteristic features of a breed that are defined and laid down by breeding associations and which are aimed at as a breeding goal. The breed standard primarily relates to the phenotype , but indirectly also to the genotype . Its aim is to describe the appearance of an ideal representative of the breed represented.

Breed standards exist only for domesticated animal species, such as domestic horses , domestic dogs , domestic cats , pedigree poultry , domestic rabbits and ornamental fish .


There are various forms of animal exhibitions for breeds of different domestic animals, such as bees , dogs , cats , rabbits and pet birds . At such exhibitions, breeders and livestock owners present their animals to a breeding judge who evaluates them according to the criteria set out in the relevant breed standard. Those animals whose phenotype, in the judge's opinion, most closely corresponds to the standard, are awarded prizes at such exhibitions.


The one-sided fixation on phenotypic characteristics can lead to health problems during breeding according to the specifications of a breed standard, some of which are relevant to animal welfare . Such practices are known as torture breeding and are prohibited by law in many countries. The film Pedigree Dogs Exposed deals with cases in which anatomical features defined in the breed standard are harmful to the dogs concerned. In Germany, such practices are prohibited under Section 11b of the Animal Welfare Act.

From the cattery a number of genetic defects are known to have evolved as a result of the breed standard, such as in the Persian cats the deformed nose and mouth, as well as hereditary cystic kidney disease ( polycystic kidney disease , PKD ). In the Maine Coon , hip dysplasia often occurs in the so-called show lines .

See also


  • Th. Bartels, W. Wegner: Wrong developments in domestic animal breeding. Ferdinand Enke Verlag, 1998, ISBN 3-432-28131-5 .
  • Hellmuth Wachtel: Hundezucht 2000. Healthy dogs through genetic management (...) The undoing of genetically caused diseases. Verlag Gollwitzer, Weiden 1998, ISBN 3-923555-10-5 .

Web links

  • FCI model standard (Annex to the FCI circular 50/2013): FCI specifications for breed standards for dog breeds. On the first page the document contains a description of what a breed standard (the FCI) is.

Individual evidence

  1. Hip Dysplasia in Cats (HD). In: Retrieved June 28, 2015 .