Since buckskin horses are heterozygous for the cream dilution gene they do not breed true, being able to produce foals of any base or cream dilute color when bred together.
The scheme below shows what happens when two buckskin horses are bred together.
There’s a 25% chance of a base colored foal. This could be black, brown, bay or chestnut, depending on the genotype at the agouti and extension loci. There’s also a 25% chance of a double dilute foal, which could be cremello, perlino or smoky cream, again depending on the genotype at the agouti and extension loci. There’s a 25% chance of a foal inheriting the dilution gene from the mare only and a 25% chance of a foal inheriting the dilution gene from only the stallion, giving a 50% chance overall of a single dilute foal, which could be palomino, buckskin or smoky black.
Buckskin foals, like bay foals, are often born without fully pointed lower legs (which may therefore be pale, as in some of the photos above). The black points begin to show when the foal coat is shed.
|Genetic contribution from mare:
50% chance of either allele in the egg
|Genetic contribution from stallion:
50% chance of either allele in the sperm
| C+ || CCr |
| C+ ||25% chance: C+C+
|25% chance: C+ CCr|
| CCr ||25% chance: C+ CCr
|25% chance: CCr CCr
The only guaranteed way of producing buckskin horses is to use one perlino parent and one bay or brown parent. At least one parent must be homozygous for the wild-type allele at the extension locus, which could be tested for using the red factor test. Also at least one parent must not carry the black allele Aa at the agouti locus, for which a new molecular test now exists. Alternatively use a stallion that has never sired a chestnut, palomino, cremello, black, smoky black or smoky cream foal. This increases your odds of a buckskin foal but doesn’t guarantee it.
Tobiano buckskin mare Zip Idie Dodah and her cremello foal Beaux. Many thanks to Megan Daughenbaugh of Just Lopin Performance Horses for these lovely photos.