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Breeding for Blankets – Case Study #2

As there is no single pattern-causing gene that governs the highly desirable blanketed pattern, breeding for blankets can result in extremely variable outcomes, including no coat pattern at all.   However, it is possible to stack the odds of producing blanketed foals in your favour, if you are very careful about the stallion and mare that you use.

In our second Breeding for Blankets case study, we’re exploring a magic cross that has resulted in blanketed foals from every mating. 

Since we can’t yet DNA test for the modifiers that combine to create blankets, we’ll take you through the process we used to determine the genetic make up of the stallion and the mare, based on their appearance, parents and progeny, and show you what to look for. 

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Breeding for Blankets – Case Study #1

Breeding for Blankets – Case Study #1

One of the best ways to learn about the complex topic of appaloosa coat pattern inheritance is to look at living examples.  When a breeder performs the same cross multiple times, we can witness both the similarities and the variety that genetics can contribute. 

In this article and the two that follow, we will examine the results of crosses between specific stallions and mares.  We will study the appearance of the parents and their grandparents, and occasionally other foals, in order to further understand what the parents are potentially able to pass on to their offspring.

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A Breeder’s Guide to Appaloosa Pattern Identification

Appaloosas, Knabstruppers and all other breeds of horses with the LP mutation display a wide variety of coat patterns. These are wonderful just to look at, but they are also very interesting to study!

In order to discover the underlying genetic mechanisms involved in producing them, our team of researchers have had to develop a way of categorizing these patterns. This article lays out the classification system we have created, explains why we use the terminology that we do, and shows you how to correctly identify the coat patterns of your horses.

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PATN1 Discovery and What it Means for Breeders

The saying, “It takes a leopard to make a leopard” is a familiar one to many Appaloosa breeders. 

In order to identify the genetic mechanism behind the leopard-specific appaloosa spotting pattern, we began by looking at the progeny records of several stallions.  We decided to use few spot and snowcap stallions for this study because they are homozygous for LP (read more about LP)  thus all of the offspring would have a spotting pattern or at least characteristics which enabled us to track the amount of white spotting on a large number of horses.  

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Appaloosa Roan Patterning

Appaloosa roan is one of the characteristic traits caused by the inheritance of LP.  It is often referred to as 'varnish roan' because of the distinctive dark areas that appear over the bony areas of the body, while the fleshy regions of the body develop a progressive amount of white hairs.

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Multi-colored spots

One of the more unusual features that many spotted Appaloosas share is variation in the color of their spots.

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Appaloosa manes and tails

Thin manes and tails are a common trait in LP-carrying horses.

Some animals are much more severely affected than others. The basecoat colour of the horse appears to be connected, with black and black-point colours being the ones to potentially suffer greater hair loss.

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