Miniature Horses and Tunis Sheep

Modifying Color Genes


Horses with the greying allele {denoted with a G} can be born with any base color. The Grey gene is dominant, in other words it only requires one copy of the Grey gene to produce a grey horse. Subsequently, to be grey a foal MUST have a grey parent. A foal of two grey parents has a 25% chance of being homozygous for grey and thus producing only greys. NOTE: In order to be homozygous the foal must inherit a grey gene from each parent.

Horses go through many shades of grey while maturing.
Bay Grey Black Grey
Black Grey Grey

Since the greying gene almost totally "masks" effects of the other color genes, it is important to distinguish any white markings while under six months. For this reason, greys are not normally selected for use in pinto breeding programs, but you will see them often in miniature horses.

Grey Tobiano Grey Tobiano

A progressive action, the hair of grey horses gradually turns grey, at various stages many will show dappling patterns. Miniature and Shetland breeders should not confuse a dappled grey with a SILVER DAPPLE. See illustration:

BLACK "EE or Ee"/ GREY "GG or Gg" BLACK "EE or Ee"/ SILVER "ZZ or Zz"
Black Grey Black Silver
Note greying of color on head Note dark "mask" on head


Breeders use the area around the eyes as a guide to color identification of greys. The head area generally starts to grey first. Later the horse will have a mixture of white and colored hairs throughout the body and one must not confuse this stage with ROAN. See illustration:
BAY "AA or Aa"/ GREY "GG" or Gg" BAY "AA or Aa"/ ROAN "Rr" (RR is lethal)
Bay Grey Bay Roan
Note greying of color on head Note natural bay color on head



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