Pedigree Primer

LeoPedHave you ever read an article related to pedigrees and wondered what those numbers mean? 3 x 3, 4 x 3, 4 x 3 x 5 … what do numbers have to do with bloodlines? Keep reading, as Quarter Horse News pedigree analyst Larry Thornton explains the meaning behind the numbers.

These numbers represent the place in the pedigree a common ancestor will be located when there is line breeding or inbreeding in a pedigree. For example, let’s say that Doc Bar appears twice in the pedigree. This tells us that the horse is inbred or line bred to Doc Bar.

If Doc Bar appears twice in the third generation you have a breeding pattern of 3 X 3. Thus, Doc Bar is found twice in the pedigree and each time he is found in the third generation.

Here is how the numbers correlate to the generations:

  • The sire and dam represent the first generation (1)
  • Grandparents represent the second generation (2)
  • Great-grandparents represent the third generation (3)
  • Great-great-grandparents represent the fourth generation (4), and so on.
  • 5th generation = 5
  • 6th generation = 6
  • 7th generation = 7
  • 8th generation = 8

So in our example, the horse has Doc Bar twice as a great-grandparent.

The great stallion Leo was inbred to Joe Reed P-3. Leo’s sire was Joe Reed II, by Joe Reed P-3. His dam was Little Fanny, by Joe Reed P-3. Joe Reed P-3 was his double grandsire. Leo was 2 x 2 inbred to Joe Reed P-3.

Sometimes, you will see the 3 x 3 with an S or D after the number. For example, 3S x 3D. This means that the common ancestor is found on both the sire (S) and dam (D) side of the pedigree. 3S x 3S means that the common ancestor is found on the sire side of the pedigree.

The more you know about the pedigree, the better job you will do selecting and breeding horses. To that end, Quarter Horse News is unveiling Larry Thornton’s new column, “In the Blood,” in the new QHN Insider, debuting the week of Sept. 21. Sign up to have it delivered to your inbox every two weeks for free!