The origin of Jeju horses and the coat color characteristics – A Review

Nam Young Kim1,*   Byoung Chul Yang1   Jun Kyu Son1   Sang Min Shin1   Jae Hoon Woo1   Moon Cheol Shin1   Ji Hyun Yoo1   

1Subtropical Animal Research Institute, National Institute of Animal Science, RDA


The Jeju horse is the only native horse resource that has been bred in Korea for a long time, and since the designation of the horse as a natural monument of Korea, the pedigree registration project has been conducted since 2000 for the preservation and management of Jeju horses. In this review, we describe the origin and coat color characteristics of Jeju horses. The origin of horse breeding on Jeju Island is archaeologically estimated to have started from prehistoric times as bones of horses were excavated from the remains of the Paleolithic, Bronze, and Iron Age periods. In addition, as a result of examining the phylogenetic relationship by analyzing the mtDNA D-loop base mutation of Jeju horses, they have been found to form a maternal phylogenetic relationship with various breeds such as Mongolian horses. In contrast, some Jeju horses do not form such a relationship with other breeds; therefore, it is assumed that there are unique maternal ancestor descendants. Therefore, it is thought that for Jeju horses, unique native horses have been bred since prehistoric times; however, foreign breeds have been introduced. For a more in-depth study on the origin of Jeju horses, it is considered that a phylogenetic relationship study at the whole-genome level using whole genome SNP array is required. The coat color of Jeju horses is largely classified into 12 types using the traditional classification method. In the 1960s, the coat color of Jeju horses showed a variety of distribution in the order of bay 42.7%, chestnut 30.5%, gray 13%, and black 7.3%. However, in recent years, gray coat color has increased to 68.2%, showing a bias to some coat colors, reducing the original diversity. To secure the diversity of the coat color of Jeju horses, it is considered that an individual-specific breeding plan is required by analyzing the coat color genes.


본 논문은 농촌진흥청 연구사업(세부과제명 : 제주마 활용을 위한 기초 축군 조성 연구, 세부과제번호 : PJ01010503)의 지원에 의해 이루어진 것임.

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