Quarter Horse Coat Color Genetics

Learn all of the approved American Quarter Horse colors and the infinite possibilities for your future foals.

Learn all of the approved American Quarter Horse colors and the infinite possibilities for your future foals.

Learn the difference between a buckskin and a dun, a red roan and a blue roan, a cremello and a perlino and many more. Download AQHA's Free Coat Color Genetics report today.

This stylish, full-color report is loaded with easy-to-understand coat-color genetics information, with explanations of each of the 17 AQHA recognized colors.

This robust, 20-page report is helpful when determining a new foal’s color, and it’s great for science projects and school reports.

Full-color photos of horses with all 17 colors will help you train your eye and become a coat-color expert.

Download your copy today!

Download the Coat Color Genetics Report for FREE!

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85 thoughts on “Quarter Horse Coat Color Genetics”

  1. Hi, Debbie. We are experts in American Quarter Horse color genetics, so we recommend you contact APHA for any paint horse questions. Thank you!

    Jody Reynolds
    AQHA

  2. I am thinking of breeding my dark bay thoroughbred mare to a red roan quarter horse. My mare has mostly dark bays, bays and chestnuts in her pedigree. With age my mare has become almost black with a brown muzzle and reddish tinting in her main and tail. Any ideas on foal coloring if bred to this red roan?

  3. Jolene,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to answer your question the color possibilities are chestnut/sorrel, bay, brown, black, red roan, bay roan or blue roan. I hope this will help you.

    Lisa Covey or Debbie Black
    Equine Color Specialist

  4. Hii I Was Wondering What Would Be Colt’s Color Turn Out Too Be When Its Born If The Mom Is A Light Palomino And The Dad Is A Dark Dun?

  5. Alexa,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to answer your question the color possibilities from these two parents are sorrel/chestnut, palomino, bay, brown, black, buckskin, smoky black, red dun, dun or grullo. I hope this will help you.

    Lisa Covey or Debbie Black
    Equine Color Specialist

  6. Hi, I am breeding a black mare (we think she is a smoke black, she was grey at birth and darkened to black, and is jet black in the winter, but she has creamy cheeks (a patch under both eyes) and some cream on her muzzle after she sheds into her summer coat). We are wanting to breed her to a palomino stud and I was wondering what she would produce. Her sire was a buckskin(grandsire and dam were bay and dun) and her dam was a bay (grandsire and dam ches and bay). His sire is a palomino(grandsire and dam buck/dun and palomino) his dam a sorrel. I found a chart that showed the cross, but just about all the colors were listed as possible outcomes so I was wondering with this information if there was a way to be more certain of the outcome.
    Thanks, Shawna

  7. Shawna,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to answer your question, if the black mare does carry a creme gene and by breeding her to a palomino stallion there is the possibilitie of cremello, perlino or smoky creme (your double dilute colors). The other color possibilities are sorrel/chestnut, palomino, bay, brown, black, buckskin or smoky black. I hope this information will help you.

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  8. I have a red dun mare and want to breed her to a red roan stud… what colors am I looking at getting..? thanks.

  9. Steve,

    Thank you for your email and to answer your question the only color you will get are sorrel/chestnut, red dun or red roan. You could also get a red dun that carries the roan gene. I hope this will help you.

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  10. Matt,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to answer your question it would be helpful to know the gray’s color at time of birth. I will tell you that the gray horse will pass on the gray gene 50% of the time. The palomino will produce sorrel/chestnut or palomino.

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  11. What the chances of getting a red roan out if buckskin mare with parents being a black and palomino to a red roan stallion?

    Also same mare – buckskin to a gray stallion for a grey foal?

  12. Hi, I have a very strange colored mare. When she was a baby I thought she was a sorrel with a flaxen mane and tail however as she has aged…she is kind of a coat mix of possibly a dark palomino or dun color. She has one white stocking and three palomino stockings, and her muzzle is palomino. Her mane and tail are a mixture however of flaxen, red and chestnut colors. Do you have any idea what color this could be??? Thanks.

  13. Hello Sara,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to answer your question, you have less than 10% chance of getting a red roan out of a buckskin and red roan stallion. Your color possibilities though are buckskin(roan), bay, bay roan, palomino(roan), sorrel/chestnut, smoky black, black, brown, blue roan or red roan.

    The answer to your second question, your foal would have about 50% chance of turning gray.

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  14. I know that a dunalino is a chestnut carrying the cream gene, and one or two dun genes. Can a dunalino also carry sooty, and thus dapple? In fact, can duns (and roans, too) dapple?

  15. Hi Lisa and thank you for your answer to a previous question.

    I had another one same mare “buckskin” (she does have dappling) with sire being black and dam a palomino to a palomino stud horse? I DO NOT want a cremello coloring. Whats my chances and whats the chance of getting color?

    Also with the same mare with a grey stud horse, what would be my choices in color?

    Thank you very much πŸ™‚

  16. We bred a palomino stud to a bay mare. The foal was born black but now that he is shedding out…his haircoat looks alot like liver chestnut but he has light brown areas around his eyes and nose. He also has some light areas on different parts of his body. could he be a smutty buckskin? He definately is not black anymore.

  17. Gayla,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to answer your question, from the description this foal might be shedding out to be buckskin. If you are still unsure when time to register, just include photos and leave the color blank and the enterer will send it to a color specialist to review.

    I hope this will help you.

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  18. Sara,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to anwer your question, yes your possibilities are less than 15% of getting a cremello, perlino or smoky creme.

    To help you better on the buckskin to the gray, I would need to know the color of the gray horse at foaling?

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  19. Lauren,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to answer your question, any horse can carry the sooty or smutty gene and dapple.

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  20. Kelly,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to answer your question, I would breed your sorrel to any other color than sorrel/chestnut. Keep in mind that sorrel/chestnut still could be a color possibility.

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  21. Susan,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to answer your question, yes a palomino can have a dorsal stripe. To have a palomino/dun one of the parents would need to be dun, red dun or gullo. Dun is a dominate gene and doesn’t skip generations. Does this foal have zebra stripes? You may send in photos in along with the name and number of the horse and we can review them.

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  22. What would I get out of a buckskin mare with parents being a black stud and palomino dam to a chocolate palomino?

    Thank you πŸ™‚

  23. Sara,

    Thank you for your question and to answer your question, it will depend on what you are breeding to your buckskin mare. Remember she could pass on one copy of the creme dilution about 50% of the time, along with the black gene or agouti.

    I hope this will help you.

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  24. I just purchased a buckskin dun weanling filly. Dam was a dark palomino and sire is a grey whose base color is buckskin. She has some lighter hairs in her tail, do you think she will turn grey or maintain her buckskin coloring?

    Thank you!

  25. Caitlin,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to answer your question, she does have a 50% chance of turning gray. If she does turn gray then yes she could still pass on the creme dilution (buckskin/palomino) also.

    I hope this will help you.

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  26. I’m wanting to buy a grulla, more to the blue side. I don’t know much about the parents other than the dam is solid sorrel and the stud is perlino. They have her advertised as a grulla. Is is possible?
    Thanks so much for any help you can give.

  27. Angela,

    Thank you for your e-mail and to answer your question, yes it is possible for the perlino to carry the dun gene,if on of his parents that carry the gene. Then he would carry the dun gene as well as being double creme diluted. Keep in mind that if you purchase him, he also carries a creme gene since his sire is perlino and did pass on one copy of that gene.

    Lisa Covey
    Equine Color Specialist

  28. I have a 14.3 sorrel mare and i am wanting to breed her to a larger stud. but i am worried he will be to big and hurt her, or that the foal will be too big with thte same result. this will be her first foal so i am wondering what you recomend. some studs i have looked at and liked are anywhere from 15.2 to 16hh

  29. Sorry, Kelly Merlin did own one blood bay thoroughbred, Quicksilver, in Careless Creek, but only in that one book. He has owned two busickkns Little Buck and Rutherford and has expressed his preference for the color in the books themselves. Thanks for entering, and better luck next time!

  30. hey my name is carleigh and i just bought a wonderful buckskin mare. i’m looking around to find a great stud to breed her to and i’m trying to figure out what would be the best color to breed her to to get a buckskin foal. any suggestions. thanks.

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