Morphometrical Characterisation of Karakachan Sheep from Stara Planina, Serbia

1 Center for Preservation of Indigenous Breeds, 11186, Zemun, Belgrade, Serbia
2 PI Veterinary Institute of Republic Srpska “Dr. Vaso Butozan”, 78000 Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
3 Stado Doo, 18320 Dimitrovgrad, Serbia
4 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Belgrade, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia


STOJILJKOVIC, M., O. STEVANOVIC, S. IVANOV, D. DROBNJAK, M. UROSEVIC and R. TRAILOVIC, 2015. Morphometrical characterisation of Karakachan sheep from Stara Planina, Serbia. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 21: 1278–1284

Karakachan sheep is small autochthonous three-purpose Zackel with black fleece and modest requirements. Population status of the breed is critical. This sheep, rarely described in the literature, is important component of cultural and biological heritage. Historically bred by Karakachan nomads, flocks of these sheep migrated throughout mountains of Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria during the summer and in Vardar valley and further South to Thessaloniki during the winter. Morphometric analyses were performed in aim to provide the data necessary for morphological characterization, estimation of variability and assessment of conservation importance of Karakachan sheep. The morphological evaluation can also encourage process of breed preservation by providing the data necessary for estimation of regression of the breed. A total of 105 Karakachan sheep: 8 rams and 97 ewes, divided into two groups upon age, were included in the evaluation. Morphometric parameters were estimated by tape measuring (250 cm zoo-technical ribbon). The following body parameters: Height at Withers, Body Length, Thoracic Girth, Thoracic Depth, Chest Width, Cannon Circumference, Tail Length, and several head and pelvic variables were measured; body indexes calculated and the difference between sexes and age related differences were tested. The correlation between the parameters obtained was also established. The basic descriptive population data together with age related and the sex related morphometric differences were established in the investigated breed. The mild body frame enlargement was observed in comparison with the literature data. Morphological characteristics of the Karakachan sheep in Serbia are stable and homogenous. The sex related polarization of the parameters was established. The observed increase of body frame could reflect improved breeding conditions. The growth is harmonious and completes after the third year of life. The data obtained provide foundation for future research and selection of the breed.

Key words: Karakachan sheep, morphometric parameter, characterisation
List of abbreviations: HWi - Height at Withers; BL - Body Length; TGi - Thoracic Girth; TD - Thoracic Depth; CW - Chest Width; HdL - Head Length; FL - Front Length; HdW - Head Width; BEH - Base of the Ear Height; CC - Cannon Circumference; HLr - Horn Length; EL - Ear Length; HpW - Hip Width; CfD - Coxo-femoral Diameter; BiW - Bi/ischial Width; PL - Pelvic Length; TL - Tail Length; x - Arithmetical Mean; SD – Standard Deviation; VI - Variation Interval; CV - Coefficient of Variation.

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