Buckskin Horse Color

A buckskin is a horse with a cream, yellow, golden, or tanish body and dark points. This is genetically a bay or brown with one cream gene. Buckskin is created by the same dilution that makes palomino-- only buckskin is cream acting on a bay base, and palomino is cream acting on a chestnut base.

The single cream gene, which dilutes red pigment but not black, gives a tan-bodied horse with black points. The body color can range from a pale almost-white cream color, to a deep chocolate or almost red body. Some buckskins can be almost mistaken for bays, like the Morgan stallion Blacksaddle Starbuck at the right, who looks like a dappled bay but is a buckskin because he has produced double-dilute foals. He is owned by Chris Holm of Devine Morgans.


Buckskin is often confused with dun, a dilute which can be almost identical to dun. A dun, however, will have a dorsal stripe and other "dun factors" that distinguish it from a regular buckskin. Sometimes the mane or tail will have 'frosting', where the outer hairs are diluted like the body color. This looks similar to the frosting in duns; however, the two color are caused by different genes.

Buckskin horses were thought to be tough and hardy by cowboys-- a saying says "you can't kill a buckskin". Buckskins were-- and are-- considered flashy or showy colored horses for showing.

Buckskins are heterozygous (one cream gene, not two) so do not breed true-- meaning that buckskin X buckskin will not always yeild buckskin (in fact, it can yeild a variety of color-- chestnut, bay, black, buckskin, palomino, smoky black, cremello, perlino).

Very light buckskins are often called Buttermilk Buckskin; Darker golden buckskins are called Golden Buckskin

The genetic makeup of a buckskin is E?A?Crcr, the ?'s standing for either dominant or recessive form; it depends on the horse-- can be either "E" or "e" in the first case, or "A" or "a" in the second-- either way the horse will be a buckskin.

Mystery Warrior, a Kentucky Natural Gaited stallion. Very pale wild-bay based buttermilk buckskin with frosting in the mane and tail. His sire is a cremello and his dam a regular (not wild) bay.

A golden dappled buckskin.

This buckskin has a reddish shade. Lelio, half Andalusian stallion. Owned by Sophie MARSILLI site: www.haras-anatis.com

AQHA Zans Classic Sonny - the low black on the legs is from his base color of wild bay.

A pale-- or buttermilk-- buckskin. Always So Perfect, Quarterhorse. Owned by Lindy Sandy. SkippaAlways.com

Vegas Q Tee, quarterhorse mare
. A light smutty/sooty buckskin.



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