The Mahibere-Silassie composite: A new cattle breed type in north-western Ethiopia uri icon


  • This study was conducted to identify and describe the cattle genetic resources in South and North Wollo zones of Amhara Region, North Eastern Ethiopia based on their descriptive morphological characteristics. A total of seven sampling sites were selected based on the information obtained about the distributions of cattle types in the area. Quantitative and qualitative characters were taken from 1,321 mature animals and subjected to multivariate analysis of variance. The results showed significant (p<0.0001) differences in quantitative traits between sites for both female and male populations. Chi-square tests also showed very strong (p<0.0001) associations between qualitative variables and sites. Horn length and navel flap were the best discriminating variables from quantitative and qualitative variables, respectively. The canonical discriminant analysis applied to calculate the Mahalanobis? distances between sites using quantitative variables showed significant (p<0.0001) distances between the sites. The maximum and minimum distances were obtained between Were-Ilu and Afar sites (46.96) and Gimba and Kutaber sites (0.49) for female populations. The validity of discriminant analysis was assessed by reclassification statistics putting equal a priori probability levels for all sample populations and the results showed the overall classification rate (hit rate) was 55.2% and 60.1% for female and male populations, respectively. Sample populations from Kobo and Afar were highly divergent from other cattle populations in the other sites. Based on results of cluster analysis, it is concluded that, morphologically, at least three distinct cattle types are found in the area, namely the Wollo Highland Zebu (comprising of cattle from Gimba, Were-Ilu and Kutaber sites), the Raya Sanga (Raya/Kobo site) and the Afar Sanga (Afar site). The fourth cluster is considered as intermediate cattle that are found in the adjacent areas of Sanga and highland zebu cattle types. The Wollo highland zebu cattle type comprises compact animals with short legs, ears and horns with coat color being dominantly black. On the other hand, the Raya and Afar Sanga cattle types found in lower altitude areas have longer legs, ears and horns reaching to maximum measurements for the Afar cattle

publication date

  • 2008