Horse of a Different Color: Learning About Peacock Spotting

Posted by Kat Tretina
peacock spotting

Have you ever seen a horse with peacock spotting?

Horses come in many colors, far beyond the commonly known chestnuts, grays, and bays. From paints to metallic coats, equines have plenty of variety in looks. One of the most interesting colorations is peacock spotting, a particular look most commonly seen in Appaloosas.

This unique pattern is the result of genetics and breeding for color. While rare, the color is not considered to be an anomaly like albinism.

What is Peacock Spotting?

peacock spotting
Appy Little Angels

Peacock spotting, sometimes referred to as haloes, is a unique color pattern. The spots on the horse are surrounded by lighter shading, with the dark skin showing through, making the coat resemble the spot's on a peacock's feathers.

What Breeds Have Peacock Spotting?

peacock spotting
Strickland Stables

Appaloosas most commonly have peacock spotting, though other kinds of horses can develop the coloration too, particularly if they are mixed breeds.

Other equines that develop this particular pattern include donkeys. Peacock spotting has been linked to genetics and passed on down to offspring.

Spotting and Genetics

peacock spotting
Love Long Ears

In horses, spotting is caused by a single partial dominant gene. In simple terms, every spotted horse has one set of genes for spotting, and one copy for non-spotting. That means that a spotted horse must have at least one spotted parent; a spotted horse cannot come from two parents without spots.

Spotted horses and donkeys are considered colored with white spots, not white with brown spots, regardless of how prominent the white really is. The base is the color-- the spotting the overlay. While the spotting patterns can resemble other forms of spotting, such as tyger patterns, peacock spotting is a distinct pattern unique to itself.

Horses and other equines are known for their common colors, but they can come in unique patterns and colors too. Peacock spotting, most frequently seen in Appaloosas and donkeys, is one of the rarest forms of coloration.

Have you seen a horse with peacock spotting? Tell us in the comments below.

READ MORE: 10 Horses with Fantastic Coat Colors

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Horse of a Different Color: Learning About Peacock Spotting