The Horse Colors Site

Bringing together the best information available today
for Identifying and Breeding Horses of Color.

Dilutions
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Barlink Dilution
Pearl Dilution
Cream
Dun
Champagne
Silver Dapple

Dilution Genes   

In the case of horse color, dilution means less concentrated color, which means lighter color.  Genes always come in pairs, in animals that need two parents to produce an offspring...one from each parent.

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Cream

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The Cream gene is abbreviated "Cr" in genetic symbols.  The gene for absence of Cream is abbreviated "cr".

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The Cream gene is an INCOMPLETE DOMINANT gene.  This means if one gene is present, it will show (manifest) one way, and if two copies are present, it will show (manifest) differently

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One Cream gene will lighten the base colors to colors such as palomino or buckskin

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Two Cream genes will lighten the base colors to colors such as cremello or perlino

 

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Dun

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The Dun gene is abbreviated "D" (or sometimes "Dn") in genetic symbols.  The gene for absence of Dun is abbreviated "d".

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The Dun gene is a SIMPLE DOMINANT gene.  This means that if one gene is present it will manifest fully, and if two are present it manifests no differently than with one.

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The Dun gene lightens the body color and leaves stripes of the original color along the back and on the upper legs, and often other places as well.)

 

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Champagne

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The Champagne gene is abbreviated "Ch" in genetic symbols.  The gene for absence of Champagne is abbreviated "ch".

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The Champagne gene is a SIMPLE DOMINANT gene.  This means that if one gene is present it will manifest fully, and if two are present it manifests no differently than with one.

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The Champagne gene lightens the body color and the skin and eye color.  Champagne foals are born with pink skin and blue eyes; the pink skin color usually deepens and always develops freckles, and the eye color turns to amber or light brown.

 

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Silver (dapple)

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The Silver gene is abbreviated "Z" in genetic symbols.  The gene for absence of Silver is abbreviated "z".

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The Silver gene is a SIMPLE DOMINANT gene.  This means that if one gene is present it will manifest fully, and if two are present it manifests no differently than with one.

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The Silver gene ONLY AFFECTS BLACK PIGMENT

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The Silver gene dilutes the mane & tail on a horse with black pigment to a flaxen or silvery color.

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The Silver gene dilutes the black pigment on the body to a chocolate-brown shade

 

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Flaxen

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It has been believed until this past year that flaxen is a simple recessive gene.  However, since two flaxen chestnuts do not always produce a flaxen foal, this cannot be the case.   

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At the time of this writing, the mechanism by which flaxen is inherited is unknown. 

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Flaxen only affects red pigment in manes and tails.

Dilution Genes Color Chart

 

1 cream gene

2 cream genes

1 or 2 dun genes

 

1 or 2 champagne genes

1 or 2 silver dapple genes flaxen effect
(unknown genetics)
   

bay

buckskin

perlino

'zebra' dun

amber champagne

bay silver dapple

no effect    

dark bay /brown

'sooty' or 'black' buckskin

dark perlino, no 'official' name

seal dun ("brun")

dark amber, no 'official' name

dark bay silver, no 'official' name

no effect    

black

smoky black

smoky cream

grulla

classic champagne

black silver dapple

no effect    

chestnut

palomino

cremello

red dun

gold champagne

no effect

chestnut with flaxen mane / tail    
dun ("A") "dunskin" perlino dun no effect amber dun silver dapple dun no effect    
red dun "dunalino" cremello dun no effect gold dun no effect red dun w/ flaxen mane / tail    
seal dun
("brun")
smoky seal dun cream seal dun no effect sable dun silver seal dun no effect    
grulla smoky grulla cream grulla no effect classic grulla silver grulla no effect    
                 
 

 

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