17 Jul 2011

Appaloosa White Patterns

Appaloosa Horse
A favorite by many due to their colorful coats and tenacious nature, the appaloosa has long been appreciated for being different.
White color patterns are not linked to the color of the horse, they are actually a pattern on top of the base coat. The appaloosa patterns are expressed through the Leopard Complex and can appear on both chestnut and black base coats.


  • Two or more patterns can occur in the same horse
  • Varies a great deal in expression

Spotted Terminology

There are three different traits characteristic of the Appaloosa patterns.
  • They can occur on solid coats with other leopard complex patterns
  • They are not a reliable way to determine pattern
  • Rarely are all three displayed together in the same animal
Mottled Skin
Appaloosa Mottled Skin
  • A minimal expression of the gene
  • Small dots on skin around mucus membranes, on skin with pigment dots are pink or white, and on pink skin they are dark colored
White Sclera
Appaloosa White Sclera
  • Sclera of the eye is commonly white
  • Also called ‘walleyed’
Striped Hooves
Appaloosa Striped Hooves
  • Can occur with any color legs
Rat Tail
Appaloosa Rat Tail
Image from Povo Host
  • Hair grows sparse & often tail is short

Types of Appaloosas

There are an immeasurable number of different patterns in the appaloosa world & here are the general categories used to describe them.
Leopard Appaloosa
  • Dalmatian spots
  • White coat with dark spots all over body
  • Spots can be concentrated on head and legs
Few Spot Leopard
Few Spot Leopard Appaloosa
Image from bankerssilvermoon
  • Maximum expression of Leopard complex
  • Mostly white with a few colored spots usually on flank, elbow, neck and head
Frost Appaloosa
Image from StarWatcher307
  • Can be mistaken for roan
  • White hairs scattered along topline
Snowflake Appaloosa
  • Can be mistaken for birdcatcher spots
  • Colored horses have small spots of color randomly over body
  • Spots can enlarge as horse ages
Varnish Roan
Varnish Roan
Image from jumpinghooves
  • Not associated with classic roan pattern
  • Born colored and grow lighter with age
  • Not related to graying gene
  • Horse retains some color over bony parts
Chestnut Appaloosa Horse
Image from evelynbelgium
  • Most common and well known
  • White blanket over hindquarters
  • Can have clean edges or be roaned
  • Most have dark spots on blanket field
  • Spots may move and change with each shedding
Snowcap Appaloosa
Image from Dreamer Horse Farm
  • Similar to blanket except blanket field doesn’t have spots on it
  • White area can extend across most of body
  • Usually retain color on head, legs, flanks and elbows

1 comment: