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Horse Articles :: Buckskin Horses

Buckskin Horse

Although not a specific breed, the Buckskin is a common color found in many breeds of horses. In the simplest sense, a Buckskin horse should be the color of tanned deer hide with black points. Somewhat like the Siamese cat or the Himalayan rabbit pattern, but on a horse. In the more complex description, Buckskins are horses with a base coat color of either bay or brown that varies in shade from pale cream to a deep rich golden color, with dark legs, dark manes and dark tails that are either black or very dark brown. The coat may change shades with the seasons.

However, contrary to common beliefs, the Buckskin or Dun horses are not mere "colors" in the world of horses. Buckskins, along with Grulla and Duns, are noted for many qualities that are not characteristic of other types of horses. The color seems to be an indication of some superior genetic qualities that they possess. They have more stamina, more strength, more determination, harder feet, surer footing, better boning, and are generally hardier than other colored horses within the same breed. Buckskins were highly regarded by the cowboys of the early west and were used for pack, harness, and saddle and given a choice a cowboy would almost always choose the Buckskin or Dun horse.

The Buckskin horse traces its lineage through a direct line of Dun - or Buckskin-colored ancestors, which go as far back as the available recorded history. The Buckskin is thought to have originated from the now nearly extinct Spanish Sorraia of the Iberian Peninsula. There are also many indications that an ancient breed known as the Norwegian Dun or Norwegian Fjord from Scandinavia may also have obtained the Dun coloring from these same horses of Spain. Since the blood of both the Sorraia and the Norwegian Dun have filtered into nearly every breed found in the world today, Buckskin, Dun or Grulla may be found in nearly every breed that allows all colors of equines in their registries.

Discussion of the Buckskin however cannot be complete without a brief discussion of the genetics involved, although to anyone but a breeder who would like to either produce Buckskins or avoid them; it may be a bit confusing.

Those who studied genetics used to believe that the Dun horse was the result of a dilution gene, and that breeding Duns to Buckskins often resulted in the birth of an albino foal. However, this has been proven to be in error. It is the agouti locus that affects the shade of the Buckskin horses. Different alleles of the agouti locus seem to be responsible for the different shades of yellow through cream, as well as affecting the distribution of the dark pigment on the legs, mane and tail.

Smokey black horses are sometimes called black buckskins or, if in the UK, dilute blacks. These are black horses with a cream gene that may be very difficult to identify because they may look bay, brown, liver chestnut or even faded black. The CCr allele is a semi-dominant and dilutes red pigment to yellow when in the heterozygous form but it has only a very subtle effect on black pigment. The wild-type C+ allele is recessive since it needs to be homozygous for there to be no dilution of the base color at all. Buckskin and Dun genetics are thoroughly discussed on the Coat Color Genetics web site of the University of California - Davis Genetics Laboratory, as well as other horse coat color genetics sites.

The American Buckskin Registry (ABR) keeps track of these lovely colored horses. It was founded in the United States in 1962 and opened its registry not only to the Buckskin, but also to Grulla and Dun colored horses. It also includes the Red Dun with varying body shades of red, and the Mouse Dun or Coyote Dun, a slate color resembling a salt-and-pepper coloration.

Unlike some color breeds, the ABR will not enter any horse into its registry that shows signs of below-average conformation for its breed, regardless of the desired coloring. The mature horse is to stand at least 14 hands in order to be registered with the ABR.Ponies and horses showing a predominance of draft horse blood are not eligible.

Author Resource:-> Crystal is a writer for, classifieds of Peruvian Paso Horses for sale










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