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Question from Kitty Cummings:

Can you give me some idea as to producing palominos and what crosses are most sure to give palomino? I've bred buckskins, red duns and grullas but I've never produced a palomino.

Response from Tracy:

Palomino and buckskin (true buckskin as opposed to dun buckskins) are caused by the incompletely recessive c-cr gene. This is the gene that causes cremellos and perlinos. When both of the genes at this locus are CC then the horse is an ordinary non-creme, non-palomino. When both genes are c-cr c-cr then the horse if bay genetically will actually be perlino (creme to white body color, reddish points, blue eyes) and if chestnut genetically it will be cremello (creme to white body color, off-white points, blue eyes). If one C and one c-cr gene are present then the bay horse will look buckskin (yellow body color, black points, no stripe) and if chestnut genetically the horse will look palomino (yellow body color, flaxen to white mane and tail). Your best chance therefore of producing palomino would be to breed a chestnut mare to a cremello stallion or vice versa, this would give 100% palomino coloring.

I've always heard that a palomino bred to a chestnut will produce palomino 50 % of the time, perhaps Tracy can clarify...

You're absolutely correct. Palomino is by definition Cc-cr ee and chestnut is CC ee, so the 1/2 of the offspring will inherit the palomino c-cr gene plus a C gene from the chestnut therefore they would be palomino, the other 1/2 of the offspring would be CC ee chestnut colored. The only way to achieve 100% palomino color is to mate a cremello c-cr c-cr ee horse with a chestnut CC ee horse.

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