Grulla Horse – Fun Facts & Breed Profile

Last Updated on February 24, 2022 by Allison Price

Grulla is a Spanish word that means “crane” and many people simply refer to it as Grulla. The name of the Grulla is often based on its origin. For example, the grey dun is given to the Icelandic horse. The same goes for Highland Pony, which is also called a mouse-dun and the Norwegian horse, grey dun.


Grulla, or Grullo horse, is an acronym that means “grew youa” or “grew youo”. It is very popular with equine lovers due to its rare colour.

Grulla horses are known as “Grulla” and “Grullo”. The most common name for mares is “Grulla” or “Grullo”. A gelding or stallion is called “Grullo”. These horses are often called mouse dun, blue dun and gray dun.

Grulla Horse

The Dun Gene

Grullo is born with a “dun gene” along with the black gene. This is why grullo can also be called Blue dun (or grey dun) or mouse dun. A variety of colors are possible with the dun genetic. The dun gene dilation on dark genes determines the color of the coat. We get a blue, grey, and mouse dun from a family of dun genes.Contentsshow

Grulla Characteristics

Grullo is a rare horse and many breeders have bred them to produce a variety of Grullo, such as a black, blue, slate, light Grulla, silver grulla, silver dun or Lobo dun. Grullo’s primary coat color remains the same. However, there are slight shade variations in the summer and winter seasons.

  • Grullo comes in a variety of body colors, including a darker head color than the body.
  • Its hair is uniformly tan or mouse-coloured, as opposed to the Roan’s multiple shades.
  • The distinctive shoulder stripes extend back from its tail and mane to form distinct patterns.

Color Shifts in Grulla

Grulla usually has the same body colour from birth until the end of her life. Sometimes, however, Grulla’s colour may change due to the changing seasons. A gorilla born with a grey dun gene will have a mouse-tan grey shade. As they age, young grullas develop a white haircoat and their primitive markings become lighter.

Grullo is Rare

Although many breeders raise grullo horses, it is not always possible to tell if a horse has grulla. Some horses do not carry the dun gene into the next generation. Only 0.7% of quartered horses registered as grullo are quartered. The horse is more rare and difficult to recognize.


Because it is a color that can easily be seen in any horse breed, Grulla horses will usually be the same weight as other breed horses. The average Grulla horse weighs between 380 and 1000 kg, just like regular horses.


This color can be found in any horse breed, so not all Grulla horses will be the same height. We can give an idea of their heights, which would be between 1.4 and 1.8 meters at the withers.

How do you recognize a Grulla?

It is best to observe the horse’s body color and primitive markings in order to determine if it is grulla. Dark grey or tan should be the body color.

There are many primitive markings that can be used to identify a grulla. These markings include:

  • Dark skin
  • Eyebrows and forehead cobwebs
  • Cark mottling on body
  • Leg barring (also known as tiger striping or leg barring)
  • Dark ear tips, edges and corners
  • Dark earbarring
  • Dark shadowing around the neck
  • Transverse and dark dorsal stripes
  • Borders of dark mane and tail with light guard hair

Grullo Foals vs. Dun Foals

These two terms are often misunderstood by equine enthusiasts and experts alike. Sometimes, grullo foals are born red dun but shed their red grullo within a few years.

Long-time breeders mistakenly call a black foal grullo because they lose their black colour within four months. To avoid buying a black foal at a premium price, be aware of common misconceptions.

Grulla Horse Pictures

Differentiating Characters of Grulla

These Grulla horses are distinguished by their unique color and black gene. They also have black ear tips and manes.

Grulla horses are remarkable in their evolution, but their coat color is the same

Grulla horses were the smallest in height back then. Their hooves and teeth were not well developed. As the climate changed, Grullas became taller and developed hooves and teeth that could eat grass and their hooves to walk, run, and trot on unsuitable bridleways. Despite the fact that many parts of their bodies have changed, the color of their coat is still intact. It retains the dun marking and gray color.

Grulla horses slighty change their color

Grulla horses are more consistent with their original color than many horses who become lighter over time. They are barely noticeable if their color changes.

Grulla horses are distinguished from gray-gray or tan horses by the primitive mark

There are many gray horses, so it can be difficult to tell if the gray horse is “Grulla”, or just gray tan. You can identify the Grulla horses by their primitive marking.

Health issues

The same problems that other horses face are faced by Grulla horses, except they are more prone to melanoma. Melanoma, a form of skin cancer that can spread anywhere under the skin, is very serious. Melanoma can affect any horse’s performance, but it is more common in gray horses, Grulla especially. Melanoma usually appears in the areas without hair, and is often characterized by black lumps.

Black lumps are a sign of a skin cancer called Melanoma. They can be found under the tail, in or around the anus.

Untreated melanoma could endanger a horse’s health as it spreads with each passing day. Melanoma has been linked to the death of many Grulla horses. This deadly skin cancer cannot be stopped. However, increased surveillance and diagnosis can help to reduce its effects. Grullas and the gray horses must undergo surgery, laser treatment or cryotherapy in order to be treated.


How can you get a Grulla horse?

Grulla horses have a dark stripe, with leg barring and shoulder stripes. It is rare to breed grulla horses, so it isn’t necessary. Grulla horses can be produced by black stallions and dun mares.

How to Pronounce Grulla Horse?

Grulla can be pronounced “grew youa” or “grew youo”.

What’s the difference between Grulla & Grullo?

AQHA recognizes Grullo and Grulla as a Spanish term. Horse lovers sometimes give Grulla to the female horse and Grullo for the male horse.


Grulla could be described as a mix of a black horse and a female dun horse. They are extremely rare. Comment on the article and cite your grulla’s behavior.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!