Chapter 4. Diluted Coat Colors

Lightened Horse Coat Colors

These colors are lighter versions of the base colors, caused by dilution genes.


Buckskin horses & ponies have a golden colored body with a black mane, tail & legs. They are very similar in color to a Dun, although they will not display dark striping on their shoulders, legs & forehead, or a dorsal stripe down their back.


Dun colored horses & ponies have a golden colored body with a black mane, tail & legs. To be considered a Dun, the horse must have a dark dorsal stripe & many will display dark striping called “primitive markings” or “zebra stripes” on their shoulders, legs & forehead. If they do not have the dorsal stripe, they are considered a Buckskin.

There are several variations of dun:

Red Dun has a pale yellow or tan base coat color with dun primitive marks that are a chestunt (red) color.

“Buckskin dun” or “Dunskin” describes a bay dun that also carries the cream gene dilution and has a pale gold coat with a black mane, tail, legs and primitive markings.

“Dunalino” describes a red dun colored horse that has a pale gold coat, white mane and tail, and very faint primitive markings.

horse legs stripes

Primitive Markings

Dun and Grulla colored horses can have primitive markings or stripes on their legs that are sometimes called zebra stripes.


Palomino horses & ponies have a golden colored coat with a white or cream colored mane and tail. The Palomino coat color can range in shades from a very light, almost cremello color, to a deep chocolate brown. They will always have the white or flaxen mane and tail.


Cremello colored horses are not white, but are cream colored from birth. They have a light mane and tail, pink skin and blue eyes.


Grulla colored horses, also known as Grullo or Blue Dun, have the Dun gene and appear to be mouse-colored, silver, or tan-grey. Grulla horse & ponies often have a dorsal stripe that runs down their back with black or dark gray primitive markings on their legs, forehead, back, shoulders or neck.

Other Diluted Coat Colors Include:

Champagne, Perlino, Smoky Cream, Smoky Black, Mushroom, Pearl, Perlino, Silver Dapple colored horses.