Dwarfism (Friesian Type)

Dwarfism (Friesian Type)

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Price: $40.00Price: £35.00

Breeds: Appaloosa/Friesian, Arabian/Friesian Cross, Baroque Pinto, Friesian, Friesian Cross, Mixed Breed, Moriesian, Stonewall Sporthorse, Unspecified, Warlander


A genetic condition in Friesian horses results in a disproportionate form of dwarfism. This form of dwarfism is characterized by abnormally short limbs while the size of the head and length of back are normal. Affected foals also suffer from flexor tendon laxity, which is characterized by loose ligaments and can be painful. Unlike normal foals that grow out of this as they mature, horses impacted by this form of dwarfism continue to be impacted by the condition often resulting in an abnormal gait.

Researchers in the Netherlands identified a mutation (c.50G>A) in exon 1 of the Beta-1, 4-Galactosyltransferase 7 (B4GALT7) associated with this disorder. B4GALT7 plays an important role in proper formation of the extracellular matrix, a key element in bone development. The impact of the mutated gene affects normal collagen and bone development in the affected areas of the body.

Dwarfism in Friesian horses is an autosomal recessive disorder. This means that a horse must inherit two copies of the mutation in order to present symptoms of dwarfism. If two carriers are bred to one another, there is a 25% chance per horse born that they will develop symptoms of dwarfism and a 50% chance per horse born that they will also be carriers of dwarfism. Because dwarfism is not treatable, the best way to manage dwarfism is through prevention. Genetic testing can reveal the likelihood of a horse developing dwarfism and can inform a breeder of major health concerns. Testing shows that roughly 12% of the Friesian horse population carries the mutated gene.

Possible Results

Genotype Description
FD/FD Affected: Horse has two copies of the mutation associated with Dwarfism in Friesian Horses and will exhibit signs of the disorder.
FD/N Carrier: Horse has one copy of the mutation associated with Dwarfism in Friesian Horses and has a chance to pass this gene on to their offspring.
N/N Clear; Horse is negative for the mutation associated with Dwarfism in Friesian Horses and will never produce a foal with the disorder.


Genome-wide SNP association-based localization of a dwarfism gene in Friesian dwarf horses. Orr N, Back W, Gu J, Leegwater P, Govindarajan P, Conroy J, Ducro B, Van Arendonk JA, MacHugh DE, Ennis S, Hill EW, Brama PA. Anim Genet. 2010 Dec;41 Suppl 2:2-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2010.02091.x. [PMID: 21070269]