Advice on breeding for colour

By: Horse Deals

Advice on breeding for colour
Advice on breeding for colour

Planning to breed a palomino, piebald, skewbald or buckskin foal? Here’s some top tips

Breeding a foal which has all the necessary attributes for performance is difficult enough – but add the challenge of breeding for a particular colour and this gives you even more hoops to jump through.

However, greater knowledge of genetics, plus the growing availability of DNA testing, means that in some cases you can be sure of getting the colour you want. For instance, there is an ever-growing number of homozygous-tested skewbalds and piebalds; if one parent is homozygous, then the offspring will always be skewbald or piebald no matter what the colour of the other partner. Similarly, a homozygous cremello crossed with a chestnut will always produce palomino. If the other partner is palomino, the foal will be either palomino or cremello.

Did you know?

- Some colours – skewbald, piebald, cremello, perlino and dun/buckskin – can be found in all breeds, yet some breed societies still refuse to allow them. For instance, while Shetland ponies can be any colour except spotted, the other native breeds do not allow skewbalds or piebalds to be registered as purebreds, even if they are purebred and of confirmed lineage.

- While you can get spotted horses and ponies of unknown breeding, the Appaloosa – which has a variety of coat markings, from loud spotted through blanket markings to solid colour – is a breed in its own right.