Genetics Myths & Realities

 Myth#1: "has # palominos/creams/champagnes in his/her background, so will produce color!"

 One thing that I see advertised over and over again is "This horse should be an excellent color producer since she/he has lots of palominos/champagnes in her/his background." Now, it is a great thing to be able to trace the color all the way through the pedigree (especially since bloodtyping didn't come into effect until the 1990's). However, just because the horse has a large number of cream/champagne horses in its pedigree, DOES NOT mean it is any more likely to produce cream/champagne. Whether the horse has a single line of cream/champagne, or ALL of its ancestors were cream/champagne, a single dilute in cream (palomino, buckskin, smokey black) or champagne (amber, gold, classic) has the same 50% chance of throwing the gene as any other single dilute. SUMMARY: The number of cream/champagne horses in a horse's pedigree means NOTHING.


Myth #2: "dark/light palominos produce a higher percentage of palomino than light/dark"

Because of personal experience, many breeders believe that a particular shade of palomino, champagne, etc. is more likely to produce a dilute than another shade. However, the gene that is responsible for the shade of the coat (dark palomino vs. light palomino) is a separate, distinct gene. It does not increase or decrease the possibility of throwing a light or dark dilute. Since many people prefer a dark palomino to a light one, I will say that your best bet for producing that dark palomino is crossing a deep red chestnut to a cremello. Likewise, red-bays produce the deep gold colored buckskins.


Myth #3: "my foal was born with blue eyes, so it must be champagne"

While champagne foals are known for their baby-blue eyes at birth, they are not the only foals born with blue eyes. Palominos, buckskins, smokey blacks, and even chestnuts may have blue (usually navy) eyes at birth, but the eye color will darken within a week or two. A champagne foal's eyes will remain blue for several weeks to several months. See Champagne Horse Breeders' & Owners' Association web site for more information.

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