Genetic variation is vital for the populations to adapt to varying environments and to respond to artificial selection; therefore, any conservation and development scheme should start from assessing the state of variation in the population. There are several marker-based and pedigree-based parameters to describe genetic variation. The most suitable ones are rate of inbreeding and effective population size, because they are not dependent on the amount of pedigree records. The acceptable level for effective population size can be considered from different angles leading to a conclusion that it should be at least 50 to 100. The estimates for the effective population size can be computed from the genealogical records or from demographic and marker information when pedigree data are not available. Marker information could also be used for paternity analysis and for estimation of coancestries. The sufficient accuracy in marker-based parameters would require typing thousands of markers. Across breeds, diversity is an important source of variation to rescue problematic populations and to introgress new variants. Consideration of adaptive variation brings new aspects to the estimation of the variation between populations.