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Dun and buckskin are used rather messily to
refer to horses with light red- yellow, yellowish or sandy bodies, with or
without black points (mane/tail/legs/ears), with or without dorsal stripes.
(Darker bodied horses are called bays if they have black points, and chestnuts
or sorrels if they have non-black points.) However, there is a lot of
disagreement about the two terms.
In the past, buckskin registries have referred
to darker shades as buckskin and lighter ones as dun, while geneticists usually
called buckskin the lighter shade. Another definition sometimes used was that
buckskin horses have black points, and duns have brown or light points. Various
registries and dictionaries have defined one or the other as having a dorsal
stripe. The AQHA has sent out an advisory to its members that they have a new
definition of dun and buckskin, to whit: duns have dorsal stripes, buckskins do
not. Apparently, they are revising new registrations to reflect this new
The following is a compilation of information
from the books "Horse Color" and "The Horse", along with
help from the net.
- BUCKSKIN: clear light yellow, tan, sandy,
& dark cream horses with *black* points and *without* a dorsal stripe. This
is the definition that was used in the old American West. (Genetically buckskin
is a cremello-dilution of bay.)
- DUN: This is a larger category. It includes:
- a) yellow/tan horses with *black* points,
*with* a dorsal stripe (Genetically a dun-dilution of bay.)
- b) yellow/tan horses with *non-black* points,
with or without a dorsal stripe. (In practice these horses usually have a
dorsal stripe anyway.) The dorsal stripe can be any shade. (Genetically a
dun-dilution or a cremello-dilution of chestnut.)
Note that yellow/tan horses with *black* points
are buckskin if they don't have a dorsal stripe, and dun if they do. (To
remember this, think of "buck skin" -- deer don't have dorsal
stripes. Or think of D=dun=dorsal.) Horses with yellow/tan coat colors and
*non-black* points used to all be called "duns" regardless of the
stripe. However, the new AQHA rulings mean that horses with non-black points
without the stripe will be called buckskin rather than dun.
color can be of different shades. For horses with *black* points, without
dorsal stripes (if the horse has a stripe just change "buckskin" to
- Dark or smokey buckskin = head and neck and
rump a very dark brown, with more yellowing on the belly. (Caused by black
hairs being mixed in with the yellow, the smutty Sty gene.) Definitely not
grulla. Called "coyote dun" if there's a dorsal stripe.
- Dusty buckskin = yellow-brown body color.
- Peanut butter buckskin-just like it
sounds-sort of a orange-tan buckskin with black points.
- Golden buckskin = the classic golden color
with black points.
- Oatmeal buckskin = a shade just lighter than
golden, with darker hairs on the rump and neck. But it isn't oatmeal color at
all. ("Zebra dun" if striped.)
- Silver or creamy buckskin = very pale gold,
almost cream body color, with black points.
For horses with *non-black* points:
- Lilac dun -- an unusual rosy color with brown
points, hazel eyes, and no dorsal stripe. (Cremello-dilution of a chocolate
- Muddy dun -- pale brownish red with brown
points and head, and a brown stripe. (Dun-dilution of a chocolate brown horse.)
- Red dun -- very washed out red or
yellowish-red bodies with brown, red or flaxen points. Usually with dorsal
stripe. The legs and head are usually a darker shade of red than the body
(unlike sorrel, which can have the same body color but pale legs. Also a sorrel
wouldn't have a dorsal stripe). Variations in body shade are called
"orange dun", "apricot dun", etc.
- Yellow dun -- yellow/tan body with non-black
points. May have dorsal stripe, or may not. With brown points, often
called "claybank dun".