Palomino Horse – Breeds, Colors, and Genetics

Last Updated on February 24, 2022 by Allison Price

Palomino horses are a sight to behold. A beautiful golden body contrasts with the snow-white tail and mane. Roy Rogers, who used a Palomino horse named Trigger for his movie series, made this color famous. The palomino horse is still very popular today. Palomino horses can come from many breeds. There are many color options, from very light coats that look almost like white to dark chocolate colors. You are probably looking for more details, so let’s get to know the Palomino Horse!

Palomino coat color genetics

True palomino horses are bred with a chestnut-colored base coat and one copy (nCr) of the creme gene . There could also be other modifiers, such as a paint gene to palomino pintos and a LP gene to palomino appaloosas. The base color will be chestnut, (ee), and one cream (nCr).

Palomino Horse

Many horses that appear Palomino are actually not genetically Palomino. Flaxen chestnut horses can be dark red with white mane and tail. They can also be champagne-colored or pearl, which is caused by different dilutions and not the cream gene.

You can test your horse for the cream gene at any major equine DNA labs to determine if your horse is truly a palomino. For more information, see our horse DNA Testing article!

How to Guarantee a Palomino Foal

Remember that color is only one consideration when breeding horses. First, consider temperament, confirmation, and quality.

Both horses must be free of genetic diseases that could pass on to their baby. Before breeding, both horses must be in good health and should be at least 18 years old.

Even with all this, it’s usually more cost-effective to simply find and purchase a horse of the right color, right size, and confirmation than trying to breed a foal.

How can you ensure a palomino foal if you want to continue breeding your mare or stallion? Only one combination can guarantee a palomino foal.

One parent must be a chestnut and one must be a crèmello if you want to guarantee a palomino colt. A palomino foal will be 100% guaranteed if this combination is used.

What are your chances of having a palomino-colored horse? It all depends on the genetic makeup of your horse.

Knowing this information will help you choose the right horse to breed. To experiment with different combinations, once you have determined the color of your horse’s coat, you can use the color calculator on Animal Genetics.

Palomino Horse Characteristics

Palomino horses can be easily identified by their striking gold color and contrast white tail and mane. Some shades may be misidentified, however. Some shades are so light that they almost appear white.

Some palomino horses can be compared with chocolate because of their dark color. Below are some examples of palomino colors in different shades.

What about the physical type? Because a palomino does not belong to a specific breed, the physical characteristics of a palomino may vary greatly. A Palomino Quarter Horse will look very different from a Palomino American Sddlebred. There are many cross-bred horses that can be palomino, as well as ponies and horses.

Palomino shades in horses – The White-Maned Golden Horse

Palomino horses are available in many colors! Palomino horses have a white tail and mane. Although they are best known as the white-maned, golden-colored horse, palomino can also be found in other colors. These are some common palomino shades:

  • Light Palomino
  • Golden Palomino
  • Champagne Palomino
  • Pearl
  • Chocolate Palomino

Let’s take a closer look at these colors!

Light Palomino Horse

The majority of palominos were born with a light-colored foal hair like the one below. However, foals that will grow up to be dark-colored, such as a chocolate palomino can be born darker.

Palomino foals are usually born with blue eyes or light-colored pupils that will change in color as they age.Palomino Foal

Although we think of palominos as horses with a dark brown coat and white mane, some palominos don’t have that deep gold color. They are a light cream color instead.

You might consider light-colored horses with palomino names, such as Buttercream.The palomino mare of light palomino was called “Paloma”, which means Dove in Spanish.

Golden Palominos

When someone mentions palomino, the most common color is the golden palomino. The palomino’s dark yellow hair stands out against the palomino’s stark white mane. The winter months are when golden palominos become lighter due to the longer winter coats.

Below, you can see how the palomino mustang mare is about to shed his winter coat.Dark Golden Palomino Mustang Gelding

Chocolate Palomino

The chocolate palomino is at the darkest end. These horses can look so dark that they appear brown, which is how they got their name.

They look more like they’ve been rolled in ashes, or liquid milk chocolate. While they still have their white mane, sometimes they have black hairs in their tail and mane.

Palomino Champagne Horses and Other Rare Palominos

A palomino champagne, such as the one shown below, is not a true palomino. The champagne gene is what makes this horse a chestnut. Champagne gene reduces red to make horses look palomino. It’s also responsible for the horse’s amazing shine.

The horse shown below is a foundation quarter horse that I used to own. He would become super light during winter just like the palomino.Quarter Horse in Gold Champagne

The Pearl gene is similar to the champagne gene. It transforms a red horse into a super shiny, cream-colored horse with blue eyes. Although pearl horses are more common in the Lusitano and Andalusian breeds, they can also be found in other breeds.

Palomino Horse Breeds

Palomino horses are a color and not a breed. Not all breeds of horses have Palomino horses. Some horse breeds have had to remove or eliminate diluted colors such as Palomino and Buckskin. This means that you will need to search for purebred palomino breeds if you are looking for one. These are:

  • Quarter Horse
  • Paint Horse
  • Lusitano Horse (check out our article)
  • Appaloosa Horse
  • Tennessee Walker
  • Morgan
  • Fox Trotter
  • Thoroughbred
  • Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse

Horse Breeds Without Palominos

  • Andalusian
  • Lipizzan
  • The creme gene is not present in Arabian (flaxen) chestnuts, but it can appear palomino in some Arabians. This is illustrated by the horse Fire and Ice.

Palomino horses are amazing because they come in many different breeds and colors. Malibu is a palomino-paint mustang mare. A palomino is a great choice if you’re lookin

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!