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March 22, 2011
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Horse Colors + Patterns by Ninquetolliel Horse Colors + Patterns by Ninquetolliel
Link to description of each of these colors and patterns: [link]

Horse colors, variations, dilutions, patterns, and markings. Information compiled by me from all over the place. I drew the horse outline, colored each horse myself, and arranged them in this classy chart for your reference.

There are obviously subtle and distinctive differences in many of these colors; I chose the ones that fit the description best. Some colors were almost impossible to find pictures of, so I went of my best guess.

I used Wikipedia as a starting point, but the actual information came from other sources. Since much of this research is ongoing, information may change.

The Enclyclopedia of Horses & Ponies by Tamsin Pickeral
Color Genetics: [link]
Equuiste: [link]
White Horse Productions: [link]
Horse Color: [link]
UC Davis: [link]

Very, very simple rundown of colors (check the top link above for an expanded version):
Base colors are black + red.
:bulletblue: black - red = black
:bulletblue: black + red = bay
:bulletblue: red - black = chestnut

There are two variations on bay, seal brown and wild bay.
:bulletred: Seal brown basically means the black is less restricted by the red. Thus a darker horse.
:bulletred: Wild bay is the opposite; the black is more restricted. Thus a lighter horse.
:bulletred: Bay is also given different names by shade. Light bay, blood bay, medium bay, mahogany bay, or black bay are all different shades.

There are shades of chestnut as well, including: light chestnut, medium chestnut, liver chestnut, flaxen chestnut, etc.

:bulletred: Pangaré is a lightening of the body and legs can can show up on bays or chestnuts.

Black, bay, and chestnut can be affected by dilutions that lighten or otherwise change the basic color of the horse.

:bulletgreen: dun + bay = bay dun, dun, zebra dun, or yellow dun
:bulletgreen: dun + chestnut = red dun, fox dun, apricot dun, or claybank dun
:bulletgreen: dun + black = grullo(-a), blue dun, mouse dun, or black dun.

:bulletgreen: cream + bay = buckskin
:bulletgreen: cream + chestnut = palomino
:bulletgreen: cream + black = smoky black
:bulletgreen: double cream + bay = perlino
:bulletgreen: double cream + chestnut = cremello
:bulletgreen: double cream + black = smoky cream

:bulletgreen: silver + bay = silver dapple bay, taffy bays, flax bays, or silver bays
:bulletgreen: silver + black = silver dapple black, chocolate silver dapples, or silver blacks
(Silver does not affect red hairs so chestnuts are unchanged visually.)

:bulletgreen: champagne + bay = amber champagne
:bulletgreen: champagne + seal brown = sable champagne
:bulletgreen: champagne + chestnut = gold champagne
:bulletgreen: champagne + black = classic champagne

Pearl is a recessive trait and needs both genes to show.
:bulletgreen: pearl + bay = bay pearl (no show)
:bulletgreen: pearl + chestnut = chestnut pearl (no show)
:bulletgreen: pearl + black = black pearl (no show)
:bulletgreen: double pearl + bay = bay double pearl
:bulletgreen: double pearl + chestnut = apricot pearl
:bulletgreen: double pearl + black = black double pearl

Multiple Dilutions
Dilutions can very rarely double up in a horse and affect the color further.

Dun + Cream
:bulletpurple: dun + cream + bay = dunskin, buttermilk dun, or buckskin dun
:bulletpurple: dun + cream + chestnut = dunalino, yellow dun, or palomino dun
:bulletpurple: There is no single cream affect on grullos.

Dun + Double Cream
:bulletpurple: dun + double cream + chestnut/bay = cream dun, cremello dun, lineback cremello
:bulletpurple: dun + cream + black = smoky grullo, silver grullo, smoky black dun

Dun + Champagne
:bulletpurple: dun + champagne + bay = amber dun
:bulletpurple: dun + champagne + sable brown = sable dun
:bulletpurple: dun + champagne + chestnut = gold dun
:bulletpurple: dun + champagne + black = classic dun or classic grullo

Cream + Champagne
:bulletpurple: cream + champagne + bay = amber cream or buckskin champagne
:bulletpurple: cream + champagne + sable brown = sable cream or brown buckskin champagne
:bulletpurple: cream + champagne + chestnut = gold cream or ivory champagne

Double Cream + Champagne
:bulletpurple: double cream + champagne + any = double-cream champagne

Double Cream + Silver
:bulletpurple: double cream + silver + bay = silver buckskin
:bulletpurple: double cream + silver + black = silver smoky black
(Chestnut is not affected.)

Champagne + Silver
:bulletpurple: champagne + silver + bay = amber silver
:bulletpurple: champagne + silver + black - classic silver
(Chestnut is not affected.)

There are further combinations, but with each gene being so rare it only multiplies the difficulties of having more than one. DNA testing is necessary to determine the precise colors.

A horse can be any color, but if the grey gene is present the horse will slowly turn grey over time.
Variations on names:
:bulletorange: steel grey, iron grey, or salt and pepper
:bulletorange: rose grey
:bulletorange: dapple grey
:bulletorange: light grey or white grey
:bulletorange: flea-bitten with bloodmark (bloody shoulder) as a heavy concentration

Gene-Specific Marks and Patterns

Roan is a mix of white and colored hairs. Also called classic roan or true roan.
:bulletwhite: roan + bay = bay roan
:bulletwhite: roan + chestnut = red roan or strawberry roan
:bulletwhite: roan + black = blue roan

Pinto Colors
:bulletwhite: piebald (non-US) - white and black
:bulletwhite: skewbald (non-US) - white and any other color
:bulletwhite: tricolored (non-US) - any three colors, usually bay and white (white, bay, black points)

Pinto Patterns
:bulletwhite: tobiano - rounded, vertical markings
:bulletwhite: overo - pinto, but not tobiano -- irregular and horizontal
:bulletwhite: :bulletwhite: frame or frame overo - horizontal patches with jagged, crisp edges
:bulletwhite: :bulletwhite: splashed white or splash - hoirzontal markings with crisp, smooth edges
:bulletwhite: :bulletwhite: sabino, sabino-white, or sabino overo - slight spotting with patches of roaning
:bulletwhite: tovero - mix of tobiano and overo
(Seriously, search for pictures of these, they're impossible to describe.)

Leopard Complex
(Think Appaloosa)
Name variations (look up pictures).
:bulletwhite: blanket or snowcap
:bulletwhite: blanket with spots
:bulletwhite: leopard
:bulletwhite: few spot leopard, fewspot, or white-born
:bulletwhite: mottled
:bulletwhite: snowflake
:bulletwhite: Appaloosa roan, varnish roan, or marble
:bulletwhite: roan blanket, frost, frosted, or marble
:bulletwhite: roan blanket with spots
:bulletwhite: solid (no show, but carries gene)

Other Marks and Patterns
Name variations:
:bulletyellow: Birdcatcher spots
:bulletyellow: Chubari spots or Tetrarch spots
:bulletyellow: Birdcatcher ticks or ticking
:bulletyellow: reverse brindle or white brindle
:bulletyellow: lacing, giraffe markings, marble, cobweb, lace, or catbacked
:bulletyellow: Gulastra plume
:bulletyellow: Bend-or spots, Ben d'Or, smuts, or grease spots
:bulletyellow: ermine marks
:bulletyellow: shield
:bulletyellow: medicine hat
:bulletyellow: badger face
:bulletyellow: sooty
:bulletyellow: brindle
:bulletyellow: blaze
:bulletyellow: strip, stripe, or race
:bulletyellow: bald face, white face, or apron face
:bulletyellow: star
:bulletyellow: snip
:bulletyellow: stocking
:bulletyellow: sock or boot
:bulletyellow: fetlock, sock, or boot
:bulletyellow: pastern
:bulletyellow: coronet

(If you know of any other name variations feel free to tell me - a lot of people (including myself) have been confused with which names I'm using, since there are bunches.)

This is only meant to be a starting point - to get you an idea of what color you like to make your horse. Please, please check the links above for pictures, and the first link for more detailed descriptions.

Furthermore, these descriptions are still being determined, discovered, and are wildly varied from country to country and even state to state. Currently, there is no set standard. Please consider this before claiming that I have made a mistake. I only put together the research. Thanks and enjoy!
Add a Comment:
WindFrost11 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
and you do know, Ninquetolliel that skewbald is any other colour except black, i.e. cream, with white patches, or white with i.e. cream patches.
Skewbald is any colour except black with white patches, or white with any coloured patches apart from black.


WindFrost11 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Needed as many of these as possible for my horse story!
Viola-Player Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014
Very helpful, wow!
chelsea-the-tomboy Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Whoa :wow: I've never seen a resource on horse coloration half as in-depth! I wish I'd discovered this a long time ago. Fantastic!!!
AnaMartaLoura Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2013  Student Photographer
This is pretty cool! Allthough I don't agree with some of your coats... It may be diferente for diferente countries, but the white coat horse is universal.. And it doen's t have blue eyes. The white horse is completty whtite in coat, manes, tail and hoovs, etc etc and the eyes ar allways dark brouwn but mostly almost black.

And about the cream coats I've never seen anybody name it like that. We have the Isabella which can be Perlino (gold reflexes on the white coat and blond m\t) or Cremello (pink reflexes on white coat with really light m\t). Then we have the champagne that it's almost like the white horse but with blue eyes and some pinky tone on nose, kness, around eyes and so on.. That's how we categorize them. And that's in my scientific book. :)
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ThrivingIvori Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love this, a lot. Thank you so much!! :tighthug:
dreams-have-fallen Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
WildTable Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have no idea how you put this all together, but I am eternally grateful. I know the basic colors or horses, but a friends asked me to design a sable champagne roan splash tobiano foal for her, and sat there and read the color three times, completely drawing a blank. So I searched it, and your amazing color index came up. You are my savior.
Ninquetolliel Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
happy to help!
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