Genetic Symbols Explained

Note: We recommend the UC Davis for genetic testing. Feel free to use the table below to interpret your horse's results. With the rising importance of knowing your horse's genotype, many people are having their horses genetically tested. This can be useful when breeding for a particular color. For example, when breeding for buckskins you would want the sire or dam to be black based and preferably homozygous for the agouti. However, if you were breeding for silver dapple, you would want to avoid horses with the agouti and try to find them homozygous for black instead.

E
Black Factor
EE - homozygous black. Horse has ability to form black pigment in skin and hair. Black pigment in hair may be either in a points pattern or distributed overall.
Ee - heterozygous black. Same appearance as EE.
ee - red. Horse has black pigment in skin, but hair pigment appears red. 
A
Agouti
AA - homozygous for agouti. If horse has black hair (E), then that black hair is in points pattern. A has no effect on red (ee) pigment.
Aa - heterozygous for agouti. Same appearance as AA.
aa - If horse has black hair (E), then that black hair is uniformly distributed over body and points (No agouti). A has no effect on red (ee) pigment.  
Cr
Cream
CrCr - Homozygous for cream. Both red and black pigments are diluted to pale cream. Skin and eye color are also diluted. 
NCr - Heterozygous for cream. Red pigment is diluted to yellow; black pigment is unaffected.
NN - Horse is fully pigmented (no cream gene).
CH
Champagne
CHCH - Homozygous champagne. Red pigment is diluted to gold and black pigments are diluted to chocolate.
CHCh - Heterozygous champagne. Same appearance as CHCH
ChCh - Horse is fully pigmented (no champagne gene).
TO
Tobiano
TOTO - Homozygous tobiano. Horse is characterized by white spotting pattern knoiwn ads tobiano. Legs are usually white
TOto - Heterozygous tobiano. Same appearance as TOTO.
toto - No tobiano pattern present. 
D
Dun
DD - Homozygous for dun. Horse shows a diluted body color to pinkish-red, yellow-red, yellow or mouse gray and has dark points including dorsal stripe, shoulder stripe and leg barring.
Dd - Heterozygous for dun. Same appearance as DD.
dd - Horse has undiluted coat color. 
G
Gray
GG - Homozygous gray. Horse shows progressive slivering with age to white or flea-bitten, but is born any non-gray color. Pigment is always present in skin and eyes at all stages of silvering.
Gg - Heterozygous gray. Same appearance as GG.
gg - Horse does not show progressive silvering with age. 
Z
Silver Dapple
ZZ - Homozygous silver dapple
Zz - Heterozygous silver dapple
zz - no silver dapple
Rn
Roan
RR - no roan.
RRn - Heterozygous roan.
RnRn - Homozygous roan.
Sb
Sabino
SS - no sabino pattern.
SSb - heterozygous sabino.
SbSB - homozygous sabino
Ff
Flaxen
FF - no flaxen.
FFf - heterozygous flaxen.
FfFf - homozygous flaxen.

Genetics
Color "Recipes"

The first layer is the basecoat. EVERY horse is either red based (chestnut/sorrel) or black based (black/bay):

  • Red is "ee" (homozygous recessive). Red can carry the agouti, but not show it.

  • Black can be "Ee" (heterozygous black) or "EE" (homozygous black). Black can not carry the agouti and not show it...if it had the agouti, it would be bay.

  • Bay is really a black horse ("Ee" or "EE") with the agouti (one or two copies).

Those are the "basecolors" that are the first layer to any color. Here are some examples:

Color

 Recipe

Amber Champagne black + agouti + champagne
Bay black + agouti
Bay Roan black + agouti + roan
Bay Tobiano black + agouti + tobiano
Blue Roan black + roan
Buckskin black + agouti + cream
Chestnut Tobiano red + tobiano*
Classic Champagne black + champagne
Cremello red + 2 cream*
Flaxen Chestnut/Sorrel red + flaxen*
Gold Champagne red + champagne*
Ivory Champagne any basecolor + cream + champagne*
Palomino red + cream*
Perlino black + agouti + 2 cream
Red Roan/Strawberry Roan red + roan*
Smokey Black black + cream
Smokey Cream black + 2 cream
Silver Dapple black + silver dapple

*Remember, only red can "hide" the agouti. A red-based horse may have one or more copies of the agouti.
 

Color of Horse

Number of Horses Registered

Percent of Registrations

Bay

30,862

18.69%

Bay Roan

3,864

2.34%

Black

5,844

3.54%

Blue Roan

3,747

2.27%

Brown

7,660

4.64%

Buckskin

8,811

5.34%

Chestnut

13,256

8.03%

Cremello

741

0.45%

Dun

5,945

3.60%

Grey

11,659

7.06%

Grulla

1,693

1.03%

Palomino

13,022

7.89%

Perlino

234

0.14%

Red Dun

4,855

2.94%

Red Roan

5,852

3.54%

Sorrel

46,976

28.45%

TOTAL

165,114

 

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