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Equine Color Genetics, 3rd Edition

Equine Color Genetics, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-813-81364-6

Mar 2009, Wiley-Blackwell

296 pages

Select type: Hardcover


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Equine Color Genetics, Third Edition, presents the most recent advances in color genetics for breeders of horses, donkeys, and mules. The book provides valuable information that enables breeders to tailor their breeding programs to maximize desired color outcomes and minimize undesired color. The text bridges the gap between the scientific and lay communities without ignoring the intricate and complex issues involved in horse and donkey color genetics. This new edition presents more explicit and detailed explanations than were previously possible, including a more extensive Appaloosa section. The section on donkey colors includes the results of studies in the genetic control of color in this species, which will greatly assist donkey breeders as they tailor breeding programs to their own goals.


Chapter 1 Introduction 3

Basic Considerations of Horse Color Identification 5

Basic Principles of Genetics 9

Pigments in Horses 13

Pigment Cell Function 14

Chapter 2 Basic Dark Horse Colors: Bay, Chestnut, Black, and Brown 17

Bay, Chestnut, and Black: Definition and Classification 17

Bay, Chestnut, and Black: Genetic Control 19

Dominant Black 23

Two Subtypes of Bay: Wild Bay and Bay 25

Seal Brown 26

General Factors Modifying Bay, Chestnut, and Black 26

Shade: Definition and Classification 26

Shade: Genetic Control 28

Sooty: Definition and Classification 28

Sooty: Genetic Control 31

Mealy: Definition and Classification 32

Mealy: Genetic Control 34

Mane and Tail Color on Chestnut and Sorrel: Definition and Classification 35

Mane and Tail Color on Chestnut and Sorrel: Genetic Control 36

Bend Or Spots 37

Dapples 37

Chapter 3 Colors Built from the Basic Colors 39

Linebacked Dun: Definition and Classification 40

Linebacked Dun: Genetic Control 45

Cream-related Colors: Definition and Classification 46

Cream-related Colors: Genetic Control 50

Champagne: Definition and Classification 52

Champagne: Genetic Control 54

Pearl: Definition, Classification, and Genetic Control 57

Silver Dapple: Definition and Classification 58

Silver Dapple: Genetic Control 61

Mushroom: Definition, Classification, and Genetic Control 63

Other Dilutions 63

Compound Dilute Colors 64

Brindle 67

Eye Color 68

Foal Color 68

Summary of the Genetic Control of Horse Color 69

Chapter 4 Patterns of White 73

General Considerations 73

Patterns with Individual White Hairs: Grey and Roan 74

Grey: Definition and Classification 74

Grey: Genetic Control 77

Roan: Definition and Classification 77

Roan: Genetic Control 80

Frosty 81

White Ticking 81

Patterns of White Striping 82

Roaned 83

White Lacing 83

Birdcatcher Spots 83

Patterns with Nonsymmetric Patches of White: White Marks, Paints, and Pintos 84

Face and Leg Markings: Definition and Classification 84

Face and Leg Markings: Genetic Control 86

Patterns with White Body Patches 87

Paint or Pinto Patterns 87

Tobiano: Definition and Classification 90

Tobiano: Genetic Control 92

Calico Tobiano 93

Overo 93

Frame: Definition and Classification 94

Frame: Genetic Control 95

Sabino: Definition and Classification 97

Sabino: Genetic Control 99

Splashed White: Definition and Classification 102

Splashed White: Genetic Control 103

Manchado 104

Overo Crop Out Horses 105

Combination Paint Patterns 106

Paint Summary 108

White 109

Patterns of White with Symmetric White Patches: The Leopard Complex 110
D.P. Sponenberg, Sheila Archer, and Rebecca Bellone

Leopard Complex: Definition and Classification 110

Leopard Complex: Genetic Control 117

Patterns of White Summary 121

Chapter 5 Horse Color and Horse Breeding 123

Chapter 6 Peculiarities of Hair Growth 129

Chapter 7 Donkey Color 133

Patterns of White 137

Genetics of Donkey Color 140

Summary of Donkey Color 144

Hair Growth in Donkeys 146

Chapter 8 Color Photographs 147

Appendix 1 Horse Color Names by Category 205

Appendix 2 Loci, Alleles, and Effects 211

Appendix 3 Usual Genotypes of Major Colors 215

Appendix 4 Alleles Present in Representative Breeds in the USA 219

Appendix 5 Expected Results of Crossing Various Colors 223

Appendix 6 Unpublished Data Supporting Conclusions 255

Mushroom 255

Calico Tobiano 256

Donkey Color 256



“This update... has a considerable amount of new information.... the author has succeeded in producing the definitive work on coat color in horses. This excellent book is unique in its field for its breadth and depth. The color photographs alone make it worth its moderate price. The new edition is necessary for anyone interested in the updated material on the genetics of coat color. I recommend it to horse breeders, animal scientists, and geneticists who are interested in a fascinating and convoluted topic.” Doody’s Reviews, September 2009

"A fascinating book, filled with color photos of really beautiful horse and donkey colors, some I never knew existed, and many unusual and beautiful breeds. In addition, there are numerous charts of color breeding expectations and effects of colors on colors." - Veterinary Information Network

“The latest advances in color genetics for breeders of horses, donkeys and mules provides a blend of science and owner's guide and provides vets and equine breeders with many specifics including discussions of five new colors.” - Midwest Book Review, July 2009

  • Details the genetic basis of five new colors.
  • Provides an explanation of genetic mechanisms that determine colors.
  • Explains each color through the interactions of genetic phenomena that build the colors step by step.
  • Examines patterns of white hair that may be superimposed on colors.
  • Includes donkey color as a separate section.