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Dilutions In Horses

Dilutions in horses "dilute" the base color of the horse making the horse appear lighter in color. Some, as with homozygous cream, can make the horse appear very nearly white. Some dilutions affect black pigment, other affect red and some affect both red and black pigment. A horse can carry and express more than one dilution and at times it can be difficult to distinguish different dilutions with similar expressions. The dilutions in horses are Cream, Dun, Champagne, Pearl and Silver

Canine Coat Color Basics

Colors:  Black, Yellow, and Red

Canines produce two types of pigment: eumelanin, which is black pigment; and phaeomelanin which is red/yellow pigment. It is the combination of these pigments, along with dilutions, modifiers, and white patterns, that make up the entire spectrum of dog coat colors.

In dogs and wolves there are four known alleles of the extension locus: EM, EG, E, and e. In the absence of dilutions or white patterns, a dog that is ee will be red or yellow. Its skin and eyes will still be dark, but the coat will only contain red or yellow pigment; thereby producing a red or yellow dog. In an ee dog, many other genes are masked. They are there, and will still be passed on to offspring, but they will not express. Dilutions and white patterns will still affect an ee dog.

How the Dog Got It's Spots...

During fetal development cells called melanocytes migrate out from the spinal cord to other areas of the body. These melanocytes produce the pigment that “colors” the dogs coat and skin. Areas where the melanocytes do not reach during fetal development remain without pigment causing areas of white hair and pink skin. The areas most commonly white in dogs are the last areas that are reached by the melanocytes: the chest, tip of the tail, and the toes. The current theory on white pattern development is that environmental factors in the womb (and perhaps white booster or suppressor genes) can affect melanocytes migration resulting in small white spots in these areas without an actual white pattern mutation. When mutations occur in the genes that control melanocyte migration, large areas of white can result. Recent studies have shown that at least one white pattern is the result of a mutation in the gene microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF). However, this mutation does not account for all the white patterns found in canines and in some dogs the mutation does not follow the expected pattern indicating additional genes at work. (Schmutz et al. 2009)

White Patterns in Horses

Horses can have a great variety of white patterns. All of the following white patterns can occur on any color horse, with any combination of dilutions, modifiers, and other white patterns. For example, it is completely possible to have a tobiano/sabino/splash/roan/palomino. However, while it is possible, not all horse breeds carry all white patterns and dilutions, and possible does not equate to a likely outcome. All white patterns can also be present in minimal and maximal forms. Minimal can be very minimal indeed (think white spot on the bottom of a hoof for frame), and maximum expression can be almost completely white, especially when more than one pattern is present.

Basic Rabbit Color Genetics: Extension and Agouti

Although originally kept and bred for meat and pelts, since the 19th century the popularity of rabbits as pets has been increasing. It is estimated that there are over 6 million pet rabbits within the US and their popularity is growing. With rabbits increasing popularity as pets, color has become more important, and although color should never be considered more important than health and conformation with any animal, most people do take color into account when choosing a pet.