Back and hind limb muscles of sheep paternally heterozygous for the callipyge single nucleotide polymorphism undergo extensive hypertrophy shortly after birth. We have established cell cultures from foetal semitendinosus and longissimus dorsi muscles of normal and callipyge animals. Cultures were assessed for rates of proliferation, cell death, myogenicity and DLK1 expression. Myoblasts from callipyge semitendinosus, but not longissimus dorsi muscles, proliferated faster than myoblasts isolated from normal semitendinosus muscle, and cells isolated from either callipyge muscle were more resistant to serum deprivation-induced apoptosis than equivalent cells isolated from normal individuals. Theseobservations indicate that there are intrinsic differences in the behaviour of isolated myoblasts, which are associated with their muscle and genotype of origin. As myoblasts are the cells responsible for hypertrophy of muscle fibres, the observed differences in cell growth may play a role in the hypertrophy of certain muscles in callipyge animals.