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The Magical Mystery of "A Gypsy Cob"

Image Copyright Gerald R Wheeler

Detailed Colour Coat Info
Colour coat calculator: CLICK HERE

Red Factor
The Extension gene (red factor) has two alternative states (alleles). The dominant allele E produces black pigment in the coat. The recessive allele e produces red pigment. Red horses (chestnuts, sorrels, palominos and red duns, to name a few) are homozygous, that is they have two alleles, for the recessive red allele ee. Black pigmented horses (black, bay, brown, buckskin and grullo, to name a few) have at least one E allele. They can be homozygous EE or heterozygous Ee. A horse that is homozygous EE will not produce red offspring, regardless of the colour of the mate.

The DNA diagnostic test for red factor can be used to identify those black horses for which neither pedigree nor breeding records is informative for identifying carriers of the recessive red factor. Since red is inherited as a recessive trait, it is relatively easy to start up a breeding program that will produce only red horses. It has been more difficult to initiate a black breeding program as black Ee horses can produce red foals. Prior to the development of this test, only pedigree or breeding records, not phenotype, could provide information about whether black horses are EE or Ee.

Red Factor results are reported as:-


Only the red factor detected. The horse can be assumed to be homozygous for red (ee). The basic color is sorrel or chestnut, but depending on genes at other color loci, the horse could be palomino, red dun, gray, cremello, white or any of these colors with the white hair patterns tobiano, overo, roan or appaloosa.


Both black and red factors detected. The horse can be assumed to be heterozygous for the red factor (Ee). It can transmit either E or e to its offspring. The basic color of the horse will be black, bay or brown, but depending on genes at other color loci, the horse may be buckskin, zebra dun, grullo, perlino, gray, white or any of these colors with the white hair patterns tobiano, overo, roan or appaloosa.


No red factor detected. The horse can be assumed to be homozygous for black pigment (EE). It cannot have red foals, regardless of the color of the mate. The basic color of the horse will be black, bay or brown, but depending on genes at other color loci, the horse may be buckskin, zebra dun, grullo, perlino, gray, white or any of these colors with the white hair patterns tobiano, overo, roan or appaloosa.

Agouti (bay/black)
Agouti results are reported as:

A/A or A/a

Black pigment distributed in point pattern. The basic color of the horse will be bay or brown in the absence of other modifying genes. A has no effect on red pigment (ee).


Only recessive allele detected. Black pigment distributed uniformly. The basic color of the horse will be black in the absence of other modifying genes.

Champagne is a dominant gene that dilutes hair pigment from black to brown and red to gold. Champagne on a chestnut background (Gold) produces a gold body color and often a flaxen mane and tail that can be mistaken for palomino. Champagne on a bay background (Amber) produces a tan body color with brown points. Champagne on a black background (Classic) produces a darker tan body with brown points. The skin of Champagne-diluted horses is pinkish/lavender toned and becomes speckled with age; the speckling is particularly noticeable around the eye, muzzle, under the tail, udder and sheath. The eye color is blue-green at birth and darkens to amber as the horse ages. Champagne is inherited independently of other coat color genes and thus this dilution can occur in combination with any of the other genes that modify the base colors. Champagne dilution is found in Tennessee Walking Horses, Missouri Fox Trotters, Quarter Horses and related breeds, Miniature Horses and Spanish Mustangs, among others. The increasing popularity of this color is making it more common in these breeds. A mutation in the Solute Carrier 36 family A1 (SLC36A1) gene was found to be associated with the Champagne dilution.

The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory offers a test for Champagne that detects the mutation in
SLC36A1 gene.

Champagne results are reported as:-


No evidence of the altered sequence detected


One copy of the altered sequence detected. Chestnut color (red) is diluted to gold, bay to tan with brown points and balck to darker tan with brown points.


Two copies of the altered sequence detected. All offspring are expected to be Champagne dilute.

The Cream dilution gene is responsible for the palomino, buckskin, smoky black, cremello, perlino and smoky cream coat colors. There are two alleles: CCr and C. CCr is semi-dominant and dilutes red to yellow in single dose (palominos, buckskins, smoky blacks) and to pale cream in double dose (cremellos, perlinos, smoky cream). Cream dilution can have a very subtle effect on black pigment. C is recessive and does not dilute the base colour.

Cream dilution results are reported as:


Non-dilute. Basic colors are chestnut, bay, black or brown in the absence of other modifying genes.


Heterozygous, dilute, one copy of the Cream CCr allele. Chestnut is diluted to palomino; bay is diluted to buckskin and black is diluted to smoky black. These colors can be further modified by the actions of other genes


Double dilute (two copies of the CCr allele). Chestnut is diluted to cremello; bay is diluted to perlino and black is diluted to smoky cream.

Note: The test offered by VGL is specific for a mutation in exon 2 of the MATP gene that is associated with Cream Dilution. Other dilution genes or mutations that may produce coat colors that phenotypically resemble cream will not be detected by the test.


Dun Zygosity Information:


The Gray gene causes progressive depigmentation of the hair, often resulting in a coat color that is almost completely white by the age of 6-8 years. Horses that inherit progressive Gray can be born any color, then begin gradually to show white hairs mixed with the colored throughout the body. Usually the first signs of gray hair can be found on the head, particularly around the eyes. Gray is dominant, therefore a single copy of this gene will cause a horse to turn gray. If a horse has two copies of Gray, all offspring of this horse will be gray. Research indicates that horses with one copy of Gray often retain some of the original pigment while homozygotes tend to progress to almost completely white.  Gray is found in many breeds and is the predominant color of the Lippizaner breed.

Gray horses have a high incidence of dermal melanomas that are commonly seen around the tail and head. Over 70% of Gray horses older than 15 years will develop melanoma. Gray homozygotes are more likely to develop melanoma than heterozygotes. Gray horses that are homozygous for non-agouti (“
aa” genotype at the Agouti locus) also have a higher risk for melanoma. Many Gray horses show depigmentation of the skin around the eyes, mouth and anus but there are no health risks associated with this condition.

at Uppsala University in Sweden discovered that a 4.6 kilobases duplication in intron 6 of gene
syntaxin 17 (STX17) produces progressive graying in horses.

Grey results are reported as:


No copies of the gray gene. Horse will not turn gray.


One copy of the gray gene. Horse will turn gray and approximately 50% of   offspring will be gray.


Two copies of the gray gene.  Horse will turn gray and all offspring will be gray.


Horses have four common coat color dilution genes with defined phenotypes: Cream, Dun, Silver and Champagne. Two rare dilution phenotypes have been recognized in Quarter Horses and Spanish horse breeds such as Andalusians and Lusitanos. In Spanish horses, this dilution is known as Pearl. In Quarter Horses and Paints, it has been commonly known as "Barlink Factor". The two dilutions have been assumed to be different. Research at the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) on the Quarter Horses/Paints identified a mutation associated with the "Barlink Factor" dilution. Further research has shown that the same mutation is present in Spanish horses with the Pearl phenotype. The presence of this mutation in Quarter Horses and Paints likely reflects the Spanish horse ancestry of these modern breeds. To recognize that this mutation probably originated in Spanish horses, it is appropriate to name it Pearl.

Pearl behaves as a recessive gene with respect to the hair color. One dose of the mutation does not change the coat color of black, bay or chestnut horses. Two doses on a chestnut background produce a pale, uniform apricot color of body hair, mane and tail. Skin coloration is also pale. Pearl is known to interact with Cream dilution to produce pseudo-double Cream dilute phenotypes including pale skin and blue/green eyes.

Pearl dilution results are reported as:



No evidence of altered sequence detected.


One copy of the altered sequence detected. If Cream dilution is also present, a pseudo-double Cream phenotype will result.


Two copies of the altered sequence detected. On a chestnut base color, a uniform apricot color of body hair, mane and tail will result.

The horse Silver dilution gene dilutes black pigment but has no effect on red pigment. The mane and tail are lightened to flaxen or silver gray, and may darken on some horses as they age. A solid black horse with this gene will be chocolate colored with a lightened mane and tail. A bay horse will have the black pigment on the lower legs, mane and tail lightened. Sometimes bay horses with Silver dilution can be mistaken for chestnuts with a flaxen mane and tail. Silver dilution is inherited as a dominant trait. It is known to occur in Rocky Mountain horses and related breeds, Shetland ponies, Icelandic and Morgan horses.

The gene responsible for Silver dilution has been recently identified as PMEL17 by researchers in Sweden. Two single nucleotide substitutions have been found to be associated with the dilution, one in intron 9 -- A (normal) to T (silver) -- and the other in exon 11 -- C (normal) to T (silver). VGL's test for Silver dilution assays both sites.

Silver dilution results are reported as:-



No evidence of altered sequence detected.


One copy of the altered sequence detected. Black-based horses will be chocolate with flaxen mane and tail. Bay-based horses will have pigment on lower legs lightened and flaxen mane and tail. No effect on chestnut color.


Two copies of altered sequence detected. Black-based horses will be chocolate with flaxen mane and tail. Bay-based horses will have pigment on lower legs lightened and flaxen mane and tail. No effect on chestnut color.

Lethal White Overo:

Horse breeding programs specializing in overo have particular challenges compared with programs for other white patterns such as tobiano. Not only is there the possibility of producing a solid dark foal without the overo pattern but there is also the risk of producing an all-white foal that dies of complications from intestinal tract abnormalities (ileocolonic aganglionosis). As far as we are aware, overo horses themselves have no specific health risks. While breeding evidence shows that some overos are heterozygous for a gene that is lethal in the homozygous condition, it has not been easy to identify which horses have the overo gene that is associated with the lethal white foal syndrome. Occasionally even solid-colored horses without obvious body spotting patterns have been reported to produce lethal white foals. Clearly the spotting pattern classified as overo is phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous.

Breeders can test horses for this mutation to avoid producing lethal white foals and to identify new pedigree sources of the overo gene that may be useful in their breeding programs. The gene appears to be associated with horses often characterized as "frame-overos" in Paints and Thoroughbreds, but is also present in some tobiano/overos, some solid-colored (breeding stock Paint) offspring from overo matings, some tobianos and Quarter Horses without obvious evidence of the overo pattern. The gene has also been identified in an overo Miniature horse.

Using the letter "O" to symbolize the DNA sequence of the lethal white (LW) overo gene and "N" for the sequence of the non-overo, then the lethal white foals can be symbolized as OO, their overo parents as NO and non-overos as NN.

Breeding predictions between LW overos (NO x NO):





25% NN solid

25% NO overo


25% NO overo

25% OO lethal

Breeding predictions between LW overo and solid (NO x NN): No possibility of lethal white foals.





50% NN solid

50% NO overo

We know of no other mutations that are associated with lethal white overo horses. However, owners requesting the diagnostic test should understand that there is the rare possibility that two NN horses could have a lethal white foal due if both the sire and dam carry a mutation at a site other than the one detected by this test.

Sabino 1:
Sabino is a generic description for a group of similar white spotting patterns. The sabino pattern is described as irregular spotting usually on the legs, belly and face, often with extensive roaning. A mutation has recently been discovered that produces one type of sabino pattern. It has been named Sabino1 as it is not present in all sabino-patterned horses. More mutations will probably be identified that account for other sabino patterns.
Sabino1 is inherited as an autosomal dominant mutation. One copy of the Sabino1 gene is expected to produce horses with two or more white legs or feet -- often with white running up the anterior part of the leg, an extensive blaze, spotting on the midsection, with jagged or roaned margins to the pattern. Horses with 2 copies of the Sabino1 gene, are at least 90% white and are referred to as Sabino-white.
Sabino1 is most commonly found in Tennessee Walking Horses. Other breeds in which this mutation has been found include: American Miniature Horses, American Paint Horses, Aztecas, Missouri Foxtrotters, Shetland Ponies, Spanish Mustangs and Pony of the Americas. Other breeds of horses that are known to have sabino patterns, such as Clydesdales and Arabians, have so far tested negative for the Sabino1 mutation, although the number of animals tested is low.

Sabino 1 results are reported as:


No evidence of altered sequence detected.


One copy of the Sabino1 gene detected. Horse typically may have 2 or more white legs, blaze, spots or roaning in the midsection and jagged margins around white areas.


Two copies of the Sabino1 gene detected. Complete or nearly complete white phenotype expected.

The tobiano white spotting pattern is a trait controlled by a dominant gene. The pattern is clearly marked and characterized by white across the spine that extends downward between the ears and tail. The skin underlying the white spots is pink and under the colored areas it is black. The eyes are usually brown, but one or both may be blue or partially blue. The head is dark, with white markings like those of a solid colored horse. Usually, all four legs are white below the hocks and knees. The spots are generally regular and distinct as ovals or round patterns. The tail can be two colors—a characteristic seldom seen in horses that are not tobiano. A tobiano can be predominantly dark or white.

The tobiano gene has two alternative states (alleles). The dominant allele, TO, produces the tobiano pattern and the recessive allele, to, is non-tobiano (called N by VGL). A horse that is homozygous for tobiano, symbolized as TO/TO, will always produce offspring that are tobiano regardless of the mate. For breeders interested in producing tobiano foals, it is obvious that a horse that is homozygous for tobiano is desirable in a breeding program.
As most owners do not want to wait for progeny information from a very young horse and secondary spotting is not absolutely associated with tobiano homozygosity, a test is available that can help predict the likelihood that a horse is homozygous for Tobiano.
Unlike other white spotting patterns caused by specific changes in DNA sequence of the genes, Tobiano is associated with a large chromosome inversion that affects the function of the gene KIT. The inversion associated with the Tobiano pattern was identified by researchers at the University of Kentucky. VGL now offers a direct test for Tobiano which is available along with our other coat color and pattern diagnostic assays.

Tobiano results are reported as:


No evidence of altered sequence detected. Horse is not Tobiano


One copy of altered sequence. Approximately 50% of the offspring will inherit Tobiano


Two copies of altered sequence. Horse is Homozygous for Tobiano. All offspring will inherit Tobiano

Equine Coat Colour Info cont ...

Palomino: chestnut horse that has one cream dilution gene that turns the horse to a golden, yellow, or tan shade with a flaxen or white mane and tail. Often cited as being a color "within three shades of a newly minted gold coin," palominos range in shades from extremely light, almost cremello, to deep chocolate, but always with a white or flaxen mane and tail.

Pearl: Also called the "barlink factor," A dilution gene that when homozygous, lightens red coats to a uniform apricot-like color, often also resulting in horses with blue eyes. When combined with cream dilution, may produce horses that appear to be cremello or perlino.

Perlino: similar to a cremello, but is genetically a bay base coat with two dilute genes. Eyes are blue. Mane, tail and points are not black, but are usually darker than the body coat, generally a reddish or rust color, not to be confused with a red dun.

Pinto: a multi-colored horse with large patches of brown, white, and/or black and white. Variations include:

Piebald: a black and white spotting pattern (term more commonly used in the UK than the USA)

Skewbald: a spotting pattern of white and any other color other than black, or a spotting pattern of white and two other colors, which may include black. (term more commonly used in the UK than the USA).

Overo: Describes a group of spotting patterns genetically distinct from one another, characterized by sharp, irregular markings with a horizontal orientation, usually more dark than white. In some cases, the face is usually white, often with blue eyes. The white rarely crosses the back, and the lower legs are normally dark. Variations include "Frame Overo" and "Splashed white." Sometimes Sabino  is also classified in the overo family.

Sabino: Often confused with roan or rabicano, a slight spotting pattern characterized by high white on legs, belly spots, white markings on the face extending past the eyes and/or patches of roaning patterns standing alone or on the edges of white markings

Tobiano: Spotting pattern characterized by rounded markings with white legs and white across the back between the withers and the dock of the tail, usually arranged in a roughly vertical pattern and more white than dark, with the head usually dark and with markings like that of a normal horse. i.e. star, snip, strip, or blaze.

Tovero: spotting pattern that is a mix of tobiano and overo coloration, such as blue eyes on a dark head. May also refer to horses with Tobiano coloring that carry a recessive overo gene.

Paint: pinto horses with known Quarter Horse and/or Thoroughbred bloodlines. This is a separate breed of horse.

Rabicano: A roan-like effect that is caused by a genetic modifier that creates a mealy, splotchy, or roaning pattern on only part of the body, usually limited to the underside, flanks, legs, and tail head areas. Unlike a true roan, much of the body will not have white hairs intermingled with solid ones, nor are the legs or head significantly darker than the rest of the horse.

Roan: a color pattern that causes white hairs to be evenly intermixed within the horse's body color. Roans are distinguishable from greys because roans typically do not change color in their lifetimes, unlike gray that gradually gets lighter as a horse ages. Roans also have heads that are either solid-colored or much darker than their body hair, and do not lighten. Variations of roan include:

Red Roan: A chestnut base coat with roaning pattern with the mane and tail being the same red as the body. Red roans are also commonly referred to as a Strawberry Roan, and the term Red Roan is occasionally is used to describe a Bay Roan

Bay Roan: A Bay base coat with roaning pattern (the mane and tail of the Bay Roan will be Black). Bay roans are sometimes also called Red Roans

Blue Roan: A black with roaning pattern, not to be confused with a gray or a blue dun/grullo. A roan tends to have a darker head, while grays not only lighten with age, but their heads tend to lighten before the rest of their bodies. A blue roan has mixed-color hairs, a blue dun will usually be a solid color and have dun striping.

Silver dapple: Caused by a dilution gene that only acts upon black hair pigment, it lightens black body hair to a chocolate brown and the mane and tail to silver. The gene may be carried but will not be visible on horses with a red base coat. Silver dapple horses may also be called Chocolate, Flax, or Taffy.

Smoky black: Horse visually appears to be either a black with a mildly bleached-out coat or a dull dark bay, but is actually has a black base coat and one copy of the cream gene.

Smoky Cream: Virtually indistinguishable from a cremello or perlino without DNA testing, a horse with a black base coat and two copies of the cream gene.

White : One of the rarest colors, a white horse has white hair and fully or largely unpigmented (pink) skin. These horses are born white, with blue or brown eyes, and remain white for life. A truly white horse occurs one of two ways: either by inheriting one copy of a "dominant white" ("W") gene, of which several have been identified, or is a particular type of sabino that is homozygous for the "SB-1" gene. However, the vast majority of "white" horses are actually grays with a fully white hair coat. As noted above, there are no true albinos in the horse world.














Equine Coat Colour Info


Body color ranges from a light reddish-brown to very dark brown with "black points." (Points refer to the mane, tail, and lower legs). The main color variations are:
Dark bay: very dark red or brown hair, difficult to distinguish from
seal brown. Sometimes also called "black bay," "mahogany bay," or "brown."
Blood bay: bright red hair, the shade variation often considered simply "bay."
Light bay: lighter than a blood bay, but hairs still clearly more red than gold
Brown: The word "brown" is used by some breed registries to describe dark bays. Informally, it is applied to many distinct coat colors. Most often, horses described by casual observers as "brown" are actually bay or chestnut. Absent DNA testing, chestnut and bay can be distinguished from one another by looking at the mane, tail and legs for the presence of black points. However, true seal brown is genetically distinct from both bay and chestnut.


A reddish body color with no black. Mane and tail are the same shade or lighter than the body coat. The main color variations are:

Liver chestnut: very dark brown coat. Sometimes a liver chestnut is also simply called "brown."

Sorrel: Reddish-tan to red coat, about the color of a new penny. The most common shade of chestnut.

Blond or light chestnut: seldom-used term for lighter tan coat with pale mane and tail that is not quite a dun.

A horse with black skin but white or mixed dark and white hairs. Gray horses can be born any color, lighten as they age, and eventually most will have either a completely white or "fleabitten" hair coat. Most "white" horses are actually grays with a fully white hair coat. A gray horse is distinguished from a white horse by dark skin, particularly noticeable around the eyes, muzzle, flanks, and other areas of thin or no hair. Variations of gray a horse may exhibit over its lifetime include:

Salt and Pepper or "steel" gray: Usually a younger horse, an animal with white and dark hairs evenly intermixed over most of the body.

Dapple gray: a dark-colored horse with lighter rings of graying hairs, called dapples, scattered throughout.

Fleabitten gray: an otherwise fully white-haired horse that develops red hairs flecked throughout the coat.

Rose gray: a gray horse with a reddish or pinkish tinge to its coat. This color occurs with a horse born bay or chestnut while the young horse is "graying out."

Albino: There are no "albinos", defined as animals with a white coat with pink skin and pink eyes, in the horse world. The genetic factors that create albinism, for reasons not yet fully understood, are lethal in horses. If a foal is conceived as a homozygous "dominant white," the mare will either abort the foal or reabsorb the embryo. A foal with Lethal white syndrome dies shortly after birth. However, some horses are born with white hair, blue or brown eyes, and unpigmented skin that are healthy. See "white," below for description of a truly white horse.
A black horse

Black: Black is relatively uncommon, though not "rare." There are two types of black, fading black and non-fading black. Most black horses will fade to a brownish color if the horse is exposed to sunlight on a regular basis. Non-fading black is a blue-black shade that does not fade in the sun. Genetically, the two cannot yet be differentiated, and some claim the difference occurs due to management rather than genetics, though this claim is hotly disputed. Most black foals are usually born a mousy grey or dun color. As their foal coat begins to shed out, their black color will show through, though in some breeds black foals are born jet black. For a horse to be considered black, it must be completely black except for white markings. A sun-bleached black horse is still black, even though it may appear to be a dark bay or brown. A visible difference between a true black and a dark chestnut or bay is seen in the fine hairs around the eyes and muzzle; on a true black these hairs are black, even if the horse is sun-bleached, on other colors, they will be lighter.

Brindle - One of the rarest colors in horses, possibly linked to chimerism. Characteristics are any color with "zebra-like" stripes, but most common is a brown horse with faint yellowish markings.

Buckskin- A bay horse with one copy of the cream gene, a dilution gene that 'dilutes' or fades the coat color to a yellow, cream, or gold while keeping the black points (mane, tail, legs).

Champagne: Produced by a different dilution gene than the cream gene. It lightens both skin and hair, but creates a metallic gold coat color with mottled skin and light colored eyes. Champagne horses are often confused with palomino, cremello, dun, or buckskins.

Cream dilution, an incomplete dominant gene that produces a partially diluted coat color with one copy of the allele and a full dilution with two copies. Colors produced include Palomino, Buckskin, Perlino, Cremello and Smoky Cream or Smoky black.

Cremello - A horse with a chestnut base coat and two cream genes that wash out almost all color until the horse is a pale cream or light tan color. Often called "white," they are not truly white horses, and they do not carry the white (W) gene. A cremello usually has blue eyes.

Dun: Yellowish or tan coat with primitive markings, sometimes called "dun factors:" a darker-colored mane and tail, a dorsal stripe along the back and occasionally faint horizontal zebra stripings on the upper legs and a possible transverse stripe across the withers. There are several variations of dun:

Grulla, Grullo or Blue Dun: A horse with a black base color and the dun gene. Coat is solid "mouse-colored" gray or silver with black or dark gray primitive markings.

Red dun: A chestnut base coat with dun factors. Coat is usually pale yellow or tan with chestnut (red) primitive markings.

"bay dun" or "zebra dun" are terms sometimes used to describe the classic dun color of yellow or tan with black primitive markings, used when necessary to distinguish it from red duns or grullos.

"Buckskin dun" describes a dun that also carries the cream gene dilution and has a coat of pale gold with black mane, tail, legs and primitive markings.

Leopard: There are a group of coat patterns caused by the leopard gene complex. It should be noted that not every horse with leopard genetics will exhibit hair coat spotting. However, even solid individuals will exhibit secondary characteristics such as vertically striped hooves, mottled skin around the eyes, lips, and genitalia, plus a white sclera of the eye. Several breeds of horse can boast leopard-spotted (a term used collectively for all patterns) individuals including the Knabstrup, Noriker, and the Appaloosa. There are several distinct leopard patterns:

blanket: white over the hip that may extend from the tail to the base of the neck. The spots inside the blanket (if present) are the same color as the horse's base coat.

varnish roan: a mix of body and white hairs that extends over the entire body--no relation to true roan

snowflake: white spots on a dark body. Typically the white spots increase in number and size as the horse ages.

leopard: dark spots of varying sizes over a white body.

few spot leopard: a nearly white horse from birth that retains color just above the hooves, the knees, 'armpits', mane and tail, wind pipe, and face

frost: similar to varnish but the white hairs are limited to the back, loins, and neck.

Other color modifiers

Sooty is a genetic modifier that causes dark hairs to be dispersed within the coat, darkening the whole coat.

Pangare is a modifier that is the opposite of sooty, it causes individual hairs to lighten, causing lightened areas on the muzzle, flank and belly of a horse.

"Flaxen" used only to describe the lightened mane and tail of a chestnut, has been proposed as a genetic modifier, particularly when it appears to be a trait of certain breeds. However, the genetic mechanism of this process has yet to be identified.

Markings and other unique identifiers

White markings are present at birth and unique to each horse, making them useful in identifying individual animals. Markings usually have pink skin underneath them, though some faint markings may not, and white hairs may extend past the area of underlying pink skin. Though markings that overlie dark skin may appear to change, the underlying skin color and hair growing from pink skin will not. Horses may also be uniquely identified by an unusual eye color, whorls, brands and chestnuts.

Color breeds

Registries have opened that accept horses (and sometimes ponies and mules) of almost any breed or type, with color either the only requirement for registration or the primary criterion. These are called "color breeds." Unlike "true" horse breeds, there are few if any unique physical characteristics required, nor is the stud book limited to only certain breeds or offspring of previously registered horses. As a general rule, the color also does not always breed on (in some cases, due to genetic improbability), and offspring without the stated color are usually not eligible for recording with the color breed registry. The best-known color breed registries are for buckskins, palominos, and pintos.

Some "true" breeds also have color that usually breeds on as well as distinctive physical characteristics and a limited stud book. These horses are true breeds that are said to have a "color preference." They are not color breeds, and include the Friesian horse (must be black for mainstream registration), the Appaloosa (Leopard or other small spotting patterns) and the American Paint Horse. In some breeds, though not all, offspring of animals registered in these stud books can also be registered, sometimes with restrictions, even if they do not have the desired color.

Above friesian sporthorse stallion
Colour Black

Above: Lippazaner
Colour: Dapple gray

Above: Palamino

Above: Buckskin New Forest Pony

Above: Silver Dapple Horses

Above: Left young grey with few white hairs, chestnut and bay roan

Above: Left pinto, right Appaloosa



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