Western Australian Buckskin Association Inc.
Understanding Buckskin & Dun Colour
- Why is the cream gene unique to other equine colour genes?
- What is a Dun?
- What is a Buckskin?
- Why do we use the term 'Black Buckskin' were in the US they use the term 'smokey black' ?
- Why is a Bay carrying a champagne gene and called a Champagne Buckskin?
- I think my Buckskin has a dorsal stripe?
- What is the effect of the Agouti allele?
Understanding Buckskin & Dun Colour
1. Why is the cream gene unique to other equine colour genes?
The cream gene gives totally different colours. When it is carried homozygous (2 copy's) CrCr = Cremello and Perlino to when it is carried heterozygous and crossed with a base colour nCr = Buckskin or Palomino.
All other colours like Black, Bay,Taffy/silver and Champagne appear the same whether they are homozygous or heterozygous.
2. What is a Dun?
Q What is a Dun?
A It is the 'primal markings', especially the dorsal stripe, that are the key to dun colouring plus a lightening or lack of iridescence in the body coat. The Dun gene can be carried by any coloured horse and appears the same whether heterozygous or homozygous.in a base coloured horse. A homozygous Dun DD 'true dun', will produce a dun 100% of the time. Positive tests for the Dun gene are still considered inconclusive and only an indication that the gene is present. There are also indications that other colour genes like Homozygous agouti may influance the appearance of 'dun factors'.
3. What is a Buckskin?
A Buckskin carry’s 1 copy (heterozygous) of the cream gene (nCr) and 1 or 2 copies of black, either as base colour Black (EEor Ee) i.e. Black Buckskin. Or when they carry a variance of Agouti, Bay(AA/Aa) or Brown(AtAt/AtA/Ata) you get colours from Cream to to near Black Buckskin. Buckskins carrying Agouti either heterozygous (Aa) or homozygous (AA) appear the same.
4. Why do we use the term 'Black Buckskin' were in the US they use the term 'smokey black' ?
The term Black Buckskin was first used in the WABA in their Colour Chart in 1978. We have registered 'Black Buckskins" since then and feel it is still the best descriptive name for the colour.. Black Buckskin has just as much chance of throwing the cream gene to its progeny as any other buckskin. Since genetic hair colour testing was introduced it is impossible to distinguish between Brown and Black buckskin without the test,
5. Why is a Bay carrying a champagne gene and called a Champagne Buckskin?
It simple is not Buckskin. [It is our understanding the taffy/silver has a visually negative effect on Buckskin, the colours seem to counteract one another. With the Dun, the taffy influences both the body coat and the main & tail creating a diluting effect in the mane and tail and a darkening effect the body coat especially the head. This should not be connected in any way to the primal marking effect of the dun other that to say it weakens it.]
6. I think my Buckskin has a dorsal stripe?
The 'dorsal stripe' is a factor of Dun colouring and even though Buckskins can have what appears to be a dorsal stripe at certain times it is generally seasonal and will fade. If this is not the case with your Buckskin, contact the Association to see if testing can be done to establish if your horse could be carrying the dun gene as well.
7. What is the effect of the Agouti allele?
The best way to describe the effect of the Agouti gene is it 'dilutes', takes away the black pigment from a black horses body coat, leaving the points, mane & tail black.
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