In the wild it is difficult to decide with certainty which giraffe calf belongs to which mother and impossible to determine the calf's father. It is only in zoos that an offspring's parents are known so that problems of heredity can be studied. Giraffe make a particularly interesting field of study in that individual variations are sometimes traits that have hitherto been thought to differentiate an entire race. In particular horn growth, spotting and colouration have been suggested as inherited racial characteristics. In this paper these features are examined in a group of giraffe for which the family lines are known, to see if they are inherited. They are also studied in members of other races to see if they might be used in conclusively defining these subspecies.