Gray,Roan,Dun,Grulla..How do they all color up?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by lil'turkeymama, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. lil'turkeymama

    lil'turkeymama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2010
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    I would like to see pics of each and learn how to tell one from the other.I know there are varities of each and I'd like to see those too.I've been learning from my gray mare.Gray is a diluteing gene.To make a gray one parent must be gray.To make a paint one parent must be paint.My gray mare bred true to the studs.Whatever I bred her to I got.But most turned gray.Its like the gray over powers the main colors.Thanks..[​IMG]
     
  2. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    Roan means there is a color and gray mixed fairly evenly over the body. Head and lower legs retain the "color"

    Grulla means each hair is a smoky mousy color although they are sometimes mistaken for roans

    Dun means the horse is sorrel, bucksin or bay with primitive markings--dorsal stripe, zebra markings. A red dun is usually sorrel looking with even darker red prim. markings. At a ranch I used to work at, their stallion was a dun and most horse newbies assumed he was a bay but he had the primitive markings
     
  3. verthandi

    verthandi Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2007
    Maine
    An easy way to figure them out is to start with the base colors of bay or sorrel/chestnut. Every other variation of color that you see will be add ons to this base colors. A grey horse can be any base color but as they age they turn mostly white due to the presents of the effect of the grey gene. Roan can also be any base color with the addition of roan gene that cause a mix of white hair on the coat. Dun starts out the same but will have a lighter colored coat due to the dun gene and normally barring on the legs, cobwebbing on the face, shoulder cross, back stripe and darker tipping on the ears. They are born several shades lighter then their adult color. Grulla is basically the same as dun, but on a black based horse.

    The horse to the right is technical a red dun (some call this dunalino which is probably more correct, she has the cream gene for palomino and the dun gene) This mare also carries a smutting gene (looks like someone tossed fine ash on her) The horse to the left is her son and a red dun. His foal coat was the same color as his dam. The dunalino is a odd example of the dun color but it is hard to photograph the barring, so I used her.


    [​IMG]



    Leg barring on front legs. They are hard to see on a light colored horse, but are the darker shade of coat color. From behind the leg they wrap around to form stripes.
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    Dorsal stripe down her back.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Grey is a dominant epistatic gene -- all you need is one copy of it for it to show its effect, and it overrides whatever other color genetics the horse has. So the other color genes can tell the horse to be pink and purple plaid or whatever, it doesn't matter, if there is even just ONE copy of the grey gene, the horse will be grey (white). Although in foalhood and early years of life the underlying color genetics will show, before it's finished graying out. Greys lighten with age, to the point of becoming entirely white -- some individuals can be white by 3 yrs of age, while others may not finish graying out til in their teens.

    Roan is a dominant (but non-epistatic) gene; it does not override the rest of the horse's color genetics. All it does is sprinkle a lot of white hairs pretty evenly through the coat. This can range from fairly few white hairs (like maybe a couple per square inch) to as much as half the hairs being white. AFAIK there are still some things not fully understood about roan genetics, and scientists keep changin' their minds about whether it's just one gene or several different ones or one with important modifier genes or what. <shrug>. Roans do not lighten with age the way greys do; the roaning is apparent in foalhood or at least once the foal fur is shed, and after that they look basically the same their whole life. (One roan gene or modifier thereof causes any scars to grow in all-solid-colored, though)

    Dun is a dominant gene that puts primitive markings on a horse (tho there are a few other genes that can do that too) and also dilutes and slightly changes the base color of the hairs. (Line some red duns up next to some sorrels and look at the differences in the range of body color, and you'll see what I mean by changing the hair color). The dun gene works on all colors (although obviously is eventually hidden if the grey gene is present, since the whole horse turns white [​IMG]) A grullo (aka blue dun) happens when you have the dun dilution gene on a black or seal brown horse. The result is an odd mousy or dark-greybrown color with dark points and primitive markings. Personally I think they're *gorgeous*. Red dun is dun on sorrel. Regular dun is dun on bay.

    Buckskin is a different gene altogether from dun. It is incompletely dominant: when you have just one copy of the gene (usually called the cream or buckskin-dilution gene) it creates a horse that looks rather similar to a dun but with NO primitive markings and usually slightly different more tannish coat color. Two copies of the gene give you a cremello or cream colored horse.

    Palomino is the third of the "big three" dilution genes -- it is incompletely dominant and only affects red pigment, so if the horse is genetically-sorrel/chestnut and has one copy of the palomino dilution gene, it will be a palomino; if it is genetically sorrel/chestnut and has two copies of the palomino dilution gene, it will be a perlino. Which is another of these real pale buttermilk-or-white colored horses similar to a cremello but usually with an orangeish mane and tail and the eyes differently-colored (I forget which way it goes).

    There are other minor dilution genes too, the only one of which comes to mind off the top of my head is the silver-dapple gene (google it -- it produces both yer stereotypical backyard shetland-pony color AND some extremely stunning platinum-on-near-black paintjobs, depending on the rest of the genetic background)

    It is also possible, and not especially uncommon, for an individual horse to possess more than one of the different dilution genes, so there are multiple things goin' on at once. Which sometimes produces interesting color variations, and sometimes is really no different than if you'd only had one type of dilution gene [​IMG]

    There are some EXCELLENT horse color genetics websites out there, with great pics of the different colors; try google or maybe someone else can suggest some of them, I don't know any off the top of my head.

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  5. WIChookchick

    WIChookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2010
    Rural Brooklyn, WI
    I love this topic.. there was some confusion a few years ago with golden dun and buckskin.. they decided that if the horse has the dorsal stripe.. its a golden dun, if it doesn't its a buckskin.

    The AQHA didn't recognize bay roan for many years, so many stallions and older mares are still considered red roans, with black legs, manes/tales, and black tipped ears.

    My bay roan qh mare I had till last year was registered as a red roan, but was a bay roan...
    She had very little roaning, but it was there
    [​IMG]

    A filly we rescued is roaning out, she started out as a grulla appy, her sire and grand sires completely went white, the "roan varnish" as its called, or "white wash" appy as some call them.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Her dam/sire
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    and a grand sire
    [​IMG]

    My half arab filly is a grulla, and was labled a dun when she was born as I have pics of her with the dorsal stripe, and tiger/primitive stripes on her legs.

    The odd ones are the "chocolate" rocky mtns, they come in red chocolate, and the norm, but then the mini's and others have the silver dapple.. dappling is not a color.. it is a coat rossette showing a healthy horse...
    hard to wrap your head around!!!
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:AQHA has long had its head up its butt about color genetics. I mean, for years and years and years you could not register cremellos/perlinos, even though they are simply homozygous versions of palominos/buckskins (respectively)... any time you breed a palomino to a palomino, for instance, you have a 25% chance of getting a sorrel/chestnut, 50% chance of getting a palomino, and 25% chance of getting a cremello. Same darn gene, just *two* rather than only one copy of the allele. Whassup with that? I gather they finally fixed this ten years ago or so, but man, talk about nonsensical [​IMG]

    True roans do not "roan out" btw, they are basically born that way and don't change much even in the first few years. However there is the "varnish roan" as mentioned in Apps, and also the sabino gene, which DO cause progressive roaning-out as the horse gets older. And of course there is always the ol' dominant grey gene. And you can certainly have more than one of them at a time, too.

    It's not always easy to tell true roan from greying-out in a young horse, btw. There are a *lot* of horses, in probably all registries in which both colors appear in the breed, that are mislabelled on their registration papers. Plus of course a lot of TBs (especially when you go back thirty or more years) were registered as roan because of prejudices against greys. "It's a genetic defect!" "Yeah, but this'un's a ROAN!" Yeah, when he's seven years old and pure white, tell me how roan he is [​IMG]

    Never trust horses' papers about what color they are!

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  7. Hound

    Hound Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interestingly we had a bay colt born from two grey parents. The AQHA wouldn't register him until his parentage was DNA verified. He never did turn grey.

    I looked at one horse that was registered as a palomino on his papers but couldn't have been any whiter. The seller swore up and down that he was white in the summer and chocolate palomino in the winter. Maybe he was, but I wasn't going to buy something with an obvious mismatch between papers and horse. It might have been one and the same horse, but i'd have felt pretty stupid if it wasn't and he wasn't anything special. He wasn't particularly young so it wasn't a simple case of greying out.

    I have a red dun that turned 10 this year and has just begun roaning. Well it appears to be roaning, I don't know if that is how it would technically be described. He has an increasing number of white hairs in his flanks all the way up to his hip. His brother is quite an interesting and beautiful color, a red dun roan. He'd be a real example of pretty is as pretty does though.
     
  8. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Sponenberg is my favorite color expert. He has a small but very nice book on the subject.

    For some reason horse color and its nomenclature is a very, very emotional topic in the horse world. Every single registry has a slightly different take on what each color it is and what it should be called.

    Sponeberg uses a kind of mixed system that accurately identifies a lot of colors and he also explains their genetics.
     
  9. Jetiki

    Jetiki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Gaffney, SC
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Well if both parents were heterozygous for grey then you would expect a 25% chance of a non-grey foal. Nothing at all mysterious about that. It does tell you that both parents *are* heterozygous for grey, which is sometimes useful to know.

    Pat
     

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