The Horse Colors Site

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

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Is that horse WHITE?

Most horses that appear white to the unschooled or uninformed eye are actually grey, meaning they were born another color and then turned grey (and eventually white) as the pigment was gradually eliminated by the "Grey" gene. Other horses that appear "white" may be cremello, perlino, champagne creams, or few-spot appaloosas.

In the past, one theory that was widely suggested was that of a "Dominant White" gene. The gene was thought to be dominant (if a horse gets one, it will show), and lethal when homozygous (WW), like the roan (R) gene. It was used as a sort of catch-all explanation for white horses by many people, even those that should have known better -- since many of the horses in question had neither parent white, and as with all dominant genes, one parent must have it in order for the foal to have it! With current research showing more and more conclusively that all-white horses springing from apparently "ordinary colored" parents are in fact white-sabinos, the old "Dominant White" gene theory has been for the most part discarded, since no evidence has ever shown it actually exists.



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