Horse Color Genetics: Understanding Coat Colors 

Whether they are dapple gray, strawberry roan or anything in between, their beautiful coats catch our attention.  Every horse color genetics work to create a beautiful coat.


Understanding Coat Colors

There are three basic coat colors for horses: bay, black, and chestnut. These coat colors are determined by the interaction of two genes. 

Gene TO

Despite the many different spotting patterns found in horses, tobiano is the only pattern known to have a distinct gene. The tobiano coat color is defined by...

The LP pattern is the spotting pattern found in Appaloosa’s coats and is an incomplete dominant trait. 

LP Pattern


Dilutions in genes make the coat lighter in appearance. The cream dilution creates the palomino, cremello, buckskin, perlino, and certain smoky coat colors. Other dilutions include...

Other Colors

Colors such as sabino, splashed white, and overo are forms of spotting patterns. A horse that has a mixture of white and dark hairs are roans.


Certain unique coat colors that look beautiful unfortunately can produce some unwanted side effects. 

If you want to know about your horses’ genetics and what color offspring they can produce, there are tests available to discover their genetic makeup.


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