How to Breed Buckskin Horses

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A buckskin colored horse
A buckskin colored horse

Breeding for colored horses is a tricky business and producing rare horse colors is like playing genetic dice. Sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you don't. Your results will be living, breathing creatures that need care and good homes, so it is a serious game you are playing. Here are the basics on how to go about breeding a horse with the buckskin coat color.

Things You'll Need

  • Ability to do research and ask questions
  • Good vision

Breeding for the buckskin color is no easy task. Buckskin is a rare and unusual color. What makes it even harder is that it can closely resemble a "dun" colored horse, as they share many of the same characteristics. The most important and deciding factor is that one parent MUST be a verified "dilute" gene carrier. What this means is that somewhere in the immediate family tree--usually a parent or grandparent--there must have been a double dilute (albino).

Learn the differences. What makes a buckskin different from a dun is that it is, genetically, a bay horse that carries one copy of the dilute gene. A dun is a sorrel or a bay with the "dun factor" gene. A dun can result from the breeding of a standard colored horse to a standard colored horse that carried the dun factor genetics. A buckskin can ONLY result if one parent carries the dilute gene and has passed this onto the buckskin foal. So the parent of a buckskin MUST be a perlino, a cremello, a palomino, or a buckskin.

Testing the horse genetically is the only 100 percent way to be sure you have a dilute gene carrier. The tests are common and can be done through any number of labs who specialize in pet genetic testing. If you plan on breeding for the buckskin color, take the time and spend the money to have the test done.

Look at the horse. In some cases, the horse is clearly a buckskin--even to the naked eye. A "buttermilk" buckskin is obvious to anyone. Even a person who knows little to nothing about horses can see that this is certainly a horse of a different color. The coat will be a buttery or a milky color, with the mane, tail, muzzle, and legs in black. It is quite striking, and quite beautiful.

Buttermilk buckskin
Buttermilk buckskin

Breeding for color is not an easy business. You must keep in mind that quality is far more important than color. After all, a buckskin horse of the most beautiful color can have the worst conformation and disposition and not be breeding material.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always consult professionals when considering breeding.

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