Horns are unique cranial appendages in ruminants, and horn traits are useful in the indirect selection of growth traits in goat. However, genetic parameters for horns have not been estimated in Inner Mongolia Cashmere goats. In this study, we collected pedigree information with 7 632 records from 2 049 Inner Mongolia Cashmere goats during 2017 to 2019 to study horn base interval (HBI), horn length (HL) and horn base circumference (HBC), as well as four essential economic traits including cashmere length (CL), staple length (SL), cashmere weight (CW) and live body weight (LBW). Genetic parameters and (co)variances were estimated by a multivariate animal model, average information restriction maximum likelihood method in WOMBAT software. The estimates of heritability for HBI, HL, HBC, CL, SL, CW and LBW were 0.31, 0.25, 0.30, 0.10, 0.34, 0.21 and 0.12, respectively, indicating moderate heritability of horn traits in Cashmere goats. We found out that coefficients of genetic correlations between three horn traits were –0.31 to 0.78, while those between three horn traits and four economic traits ranged from –0.05 to 0.52. Strong genetic correlations were observed between horn traits (HBC-HL, HBC-HBI). In addition, a strong phenotypic correlation was revealed for horn and economic traits (HL-LBW). In summary, this study uncovered genetic characteristics and relationships for horn traits in Cashmere goats, which will facilitate the breeding practices of Cashmere goats by providing easier measurement than common economic traits.
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