A very interesting article on the particular inbreeding practice of Arabians and their resulting consistent type: http://www.desertarabian.org/PDFs/re...ing_Quotes.pdf
Selected Excerpts Discussing Inbreeding and Linebreeding in Arabian
Horses The fact that pure breeding over long periods was impossible without inbreeding has its
explanation in the fanatic insistence of the Bedouin on the purity of the blood…In spite
of their utmost refinement Arabian horses are at the same time notorious for their
persistent disposition, which is mainly due to the following reasons: Inbreeding and
selection have not only removed bad characteristics from the heredity…but have almost
led to inbreeding resistance. Without inbreeding the pure bred Arabian would not have
become what it is today. Most of the outstanding breeding qualities of this race are the
consequence of inbreeding. Because of the special conditions under which the horses
were raised, inbreeding did not only do no harm, but also led to a homozygosity of
characteristics and a consolidation of the breed which is unknown to any other
thoroughbred race…so that the Arabian reproduces his characteristics, i.e. his virtues
more faithfully and effectively than any other race.
H. Seydel, quoted in Asil Arabians VI, Olms
Verlag, Hildesheim, 2007
Breeding Arabians is not so different genetically speaking from raising other breeds of
horses, or for that matter, pure-bred cattle or dogs. Every breed has certain strains with
predominant qualities and characteristics, which breeders seek to unite in a single
individual. Whenever a perfect (distinctive) specimen was created, incest-breeding was
adapted to fix the type. The man of the desert arrived at the same means for establishing
distinctive types within certain strains as the civilized man in the creation of modern
C.R. Raswan, The Raswan Index. William
Byrd Press, Richmond, Virginia, 1969
INBREEDING IS NECESSARY:
The word inbreeding embraces the mating of father to daughter, brother to sister and son
to mother – only three relationships. However, inbreeding is also referred by breeders
as the mating of animals more closely related than the average of the breed. If like begets
like, which is the beginning theory of breeding, it is truest where the relationship is
Many people can tell quickly by glancing at a horse…who bred it or whose type it is,
because certain breeders have developed a specific type which is easily recognizable.
Usually this has been accomplished through some form of inbreeding.
The word linebreeding does not encompass nearly the broad coverage for which it is
commonly used. It is breeding within the family so that the relationship of the dam and
sire is not more distant than second cousins, or great great grandparents. Linebreeding is
also referred to as a form of inbreeding in which the blood of particular individuals is
concentrated in the herd without an attempt to rapidly inbreed.
The basic rule of all geneticists, scientists and successful animal breeders is that the best
breeding results are obtained by breeding close relatives to each other.
Judith Forbis. Authentic Arabian
Bloodstock. Ansata Publications, Mena,
Let us summarize. Inbreeding leads to the more frequent recurrence of parental allele
combinations in children. Line breeding results in the reduction of the number of alleles
(per gene locus) in a breeding group, which increases the frequency of the remaining
alleles and thus the recurrence of allele combinations of parents in their children. All this
leads to a higher genetically determined similarity between the generations. Now it is
clear that a top animal is a top animal because it is rare. Why does a breeder spend one
million dollars for a particular stallion? Because he knows the animal has something the
others lack. Top animals always have rare alleles, especial on the highest level of the
genom hierarchy. That’s why these breeding methods are so very important.
It’s not merely a question of displacing average values, as the quantitative geneticists
imply. We breed individual animals, not average values. Hence, the point is to
reproduce the hereditary make-up of top animals in their offspring, and this is only
possible by inbreeding and line breeding – that’s the consequence. Now you understand
why the most magnificent horse of all time – the Arabian – reveals so much inbreeding in
F. Bakels. The Asil Arabian in the Light of
the New Genetic Knowledge. Olms Verlag,
I believe by virtue of centuries of Bedouin breeding, due to their stringent requirements, Arabians have evolved in a unique way no other breed has, therefore making the breed highly prepotent. In the case of Arabians, inbreeding and linebreeding were not only highly successful, but demonstrably consistent in their results.
Is this to say everyone should go out and linebreed/inbreed? Of course not. But we can learn how a culture- so different than ours- created a breed standard that no other culture has. And they did this by inbreeding. The existence of the breed itself speaks to the method's undisputed success.