The Colors of Life

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Appaloosa Patterns

Leopard Complex (LP) is the base gene for all Appaloosa patterns. It is inherited in a semi-dominant manner and is responsible for appaloosa roaning and necessary for other appaloosa patterns to exhibit. In very minimal form, the horse may only show what are known as characteristics (sclera, mottled skin, and striped hooves on non-white legs) and even these can, at times, be so minimal as to escape notice. When LP is present along with a pattern gene (PATN), the horse will present with a blanket, leopard, or a pattern somewhere in between. Horses that are homozygous for LP and also carry a pattern gene will have white areas without spots. A blanket without spots is known as a snow cap, and a leopard without spots is known as a few spot. Horses that are homozygous for LP are also night blind. LP roaning (varnish) is progressive, meaning that the horse lightens as it ages. The difference between LP roaning and gray is that with LP roaning the bony areas and spots of the horse will stay dark so that the horse never turns completely white. A test for LP is available from Animal Genetics.

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