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Basic coat colors, modifying the basic coat color and pattern

In the horse, there are three types of genes that will give the final color of the coat:

Basic coat colors, extension and agouti

The three basic colors in horses are black, bay and chestnut. These 3 basic colors are due to the interaction between two genes agouti and extension.
  • black. The black color is relatively rare. Most black horses become slightly brownish if they are exposed to the sun. There are two types of black : fading black and non-fading black. We do not know at the moment if the difference between these two colors black is due to genetics.
  • Bay. The bay coat color is more common. The intensity of the brown varies from light brown to a very dark brown.
  • Chestnut. Chesnut horse have a reddish body without black. Tail and manes are the same color as the body.
ExtensionE/E or E/e Black black horsee/e Chestnut Alezan horse
AgoutiA/A or A/a Bay bay horsea/a Black black horseA/A or A/a or a/a Chestnut Alezan horse

The genes that modify the basic coat color

Genimal Biotechnologies tests 6 others genes that can modify the horse coat color:
  • Cream. the cream is at the origin of many colored coats. The dilution of the color provided by the cream varies depending on whether the horse has a single cream allele or two cream alleles. If the horse has only one cream allele he can be buckskin, smoky black or palomino. If the horse has two cream alleles he can be perlino, smoky cream or cremello.
  • Silver. The Silver brings a silver dilution to both the body color and the horse’s manes. The Silver is especially at the origin of the chocolate coat color.
  • Champagne. The champagne creates a metallic gold coat color with mottled. The champagne is at the origin of the amber and gold coat color.
  • Pearl. Pearl color is rare and looks like a uniform apricot-like color. It is also called “barlink factor”.
  • Grey. The color grey is very common and develops with the age of the horse. The speed and intensity of graying depends on each horse. Some horse becomes almost entirely white.
ExtensionE/E or E/e Black black horsee/e Chestnut Alezan horse
AgoutiA/A or A/a Bay bay horsea/a Black black horseA/A or A/a or a/a Chestnut Alezan horse
CreamC/C Bay bay horseC/cr Buckskin buckskin horsecr/cr Perlino perlino horseC/C Black black horseC/cr Smoky black smoky black horsecr/cr Smoky cream smoky cream horseC/C Chestnut Alezan horseC/cr Palomino palomino horsecr/cr Cremello cremello horse
SilverZ/Z or Z/z Silver bay silver bay horsez/z Bay bay horseZ/Z or Z/z Chocolate chocolate horsez/z Black black horseZ/Z or Z/z or z/z Chestnut Alezan horse
ChampagneCH/CH or CH/ch Amber amber horsech/ch Bay bay horseCH/CH or CH/ch Brown brown horsech/ch Black black horseCH/CH or CH/ch Gold gold horsech/ch Chestnut Alezan horse
PearlPrl/Prl DilutePrl/prl Bay bay horseprl/prl Bay bay horsePrl/Prl DilutePrl/prl Black black horseprl/prl Black black horsePrl/Prl Apricot apricot horsePrl/prl Chestnut Alezan horseprl/prl Chestnut Alezan horse
GreyG/G or G/g More and more gray white with age grey horseg/g Bay bay horseG/G or G/g More and more gray white with age grey horseg/g Black black horseG/G or G/g More and more gray white with age grey horseg/g Chestnut Alezan horse

Patterns and markings of the coat

Markings and the Dun gene

The Dun is a dilution of the coat and is associated with primitive markings. The dun is characterized by dark stripe down the middle of the animal’s back, a darker tail and mane, as well as a darker face and legs.

Patterns

In the horse there is 3 types of patterns:

Difference between Overo, Tobiano and sabino1

ExtensionE/E or E/e Black black horsee/e Chestnut Alezan horse
AgoutiA/A or A/a Bay bay horsea/a Black black horseA/A or A/a or a/a Chestnut Alezan horse
Pie SabinoSB1/SB1 Almost white sabino2 horseSB1/sb A lot of white sabino horsesb/sb Bay bay horseSB1/SB1 Almost white sabino2 horseSB1/sb A lot of white sabino horsesb/sb Black black horseSB1/SB1 Almost white sabino2 horseSB1/sb A lot of white sabino horsesb/sb Chestnut Alezan horse
Pie OveroOV/OV LethalOV/o A lot of white overo horseo/o Bay bay horseOV/OV LethalOV/o A lot of white overo horseo/o Black black horseOV/OV LethalOV/o A lot of white overo horseo/o Chestnut Alezan horse
Pie TobianoTO/TO A lot of white tobiano horseTO/to A lot of white tobiano horseto/to Bay bay horseTO/TO A lot of white tobiano horseTO/to A lot of white tobiano horseto/to Black black horseTO/TO A lot of white tobiano horseTO/to A lot of white tobiano horseto/to Chestnut Alezan horse

Correspondence between the colors in American and in French

Coat color in AmericanCoat color in french
AmberAmbre
BayBai
BlackNoir
BrownBai brun foncé
BuckskinIsabelle
ChestnutAlezan
ChocolateChocolat
CremelloCrème
Dapple greyGris pommelé
Dark bayBai brun
Dark chestnutAlezan brûlé
DunIsabelle (isabelle sauvage)
FawnFauve
GoldDoré
Gold bayBai doré
Golden chestnutAlezan doré
GreyGris
GrulloGris souris
Light bayBai clair
Light chestnutAlezan clair
Liver chestnutAlezan brûlé
OveroPie overo
PalominoPalomino
PerlinoPerlino
PiePanaché
Red silverBai silver
Red taffyBai silver
RoanRouan
SabinoPie sabino
Sandy bayBai clair
Silver BayBai crins lavés
Slate greyGris tourterelle
Smoky blackBrun réglisse
Smoky cream
SorrelAlezan
TobianoPie tobiano
WhiteBlanc
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