Perlino Horses: Information On This Rare Golden Coat Color


A special thanks to @andalusianfurioso for letting me use this image! Go check out their Instagram @andalusianfurioso

Perlino is an extremely rare color that is hardly seen in any horses at all. This gorgeous coat color consists of a golden-creme colored coat and a chestnut-orange mane. I originally stumbled across this coat color when writing my article on Cremello horses and right when I saw it I was intrigued..

What Is Perlino?

Perlino is a coat color caused by the influence of two copies of the creme gene in a bay horse. This color shows off a golden or creme-colored coat with a red-orange mane similar to that seen in a chestnut horse. Because of the pigment dilution caused by the creme gene, Perlino horses often have blue, white, or pale-colored eyes as well as pink skin all over their bodies. The most common breeds to carry this coloring is the Akhal-Teke horse and the Andalusian. Remember, Perlino is a color and NOT a breed.

How Can I Tell The Difference between Perlino & Buckskin?

Perlino horses and buckskin horses are genetically very similar because they both carry creme genes, they both have a bay base color, and they both are only allowed in a certain number of breeds, but there are still a variety of differences between them that they can be distinguished by.

Genetics

Though both of these horses have a bay base color and carry creme genes, there is one distinct thing that tells them apart. This is that in buckskin horses only one creme gene is present whereas in Perlino horses there are two creme genes.

Coat Color

If you were to put a Perlino and a Buckskin horse next to each other, you would immediately be able to see a difference in their coat color. Perlino horses have a pale silvery golden coat color while a buckskin has a yellow tan coat color similar to that of a dun.

Mane & Tail

This is one of the traits that really sets these horses apart when it comes to physical appearance. Perlino horses have an orange-red mane and tail while buckskins have a black mane and tail. This is because the two creme genes carried by Perlino horses dilutes not only their coat color, but also the color of their mane and tail.

Eyes

Buckskin horses are seen nearly always with brown eyes unless a white facial marking covers one of their eyes. Perlino horses will always have blue, white, or another pale colored eye regardless of white markings.

Skin Color

Thanks to the two copies of the creme gene that these horses carry, Perlino horses have pink skin. Buckskin horses will always have black skin just like a normal horse would.

How Can I Tell The Difference Between Perlino & Cremello?

Cremello horses and Perlino horses get confused with each other all the time. This is mainly because their coat colors are nearly the same! (I actually found some of my pictures of Perlino horses by searching up cremello horses. Even these photo sites get the two mixed up!!)

There are two ways to tell these horses apart:

Genetic Identification

The main way to tell these horses apart genetically is to see if they carry the genetics of a bay horse or of a chestnut horse. if one of these horses has the genetics of a bay horse they are a Perlino and of they carry the genetics of a chestnut horse they are a Cremello.

Physical Identification

Telling these horses apart by their physical appearance can be tricky, especially because the color of their coats is almost the same. The main way to tell them apart is by the color of their manes and tails. the mane and tail of a Cremello horse will be white while the mane and tail of a Perlino will be an orange-red color.

What Makes A Horse Perlino?

A horse is only able to be considered a Perlino if they carry the correct genetics of two copies of the creme gene and a bay base color

How Can A Perlino Horse Be Identified?

Eyes

Perlino horses have pale colored eyes. The most common eye colors seen in Perlino horses are blue and white though other colors can be seen though rarely.

Mane & Tail

Perlino horses have an orange-red mane and tail. The color is similar to the color a chestnut horse’s mane and tail might be.

Coat Color

These horses have a beautiful coat color that is a silver-gold shade. Sometimes, their coats might even have a slight pink tinge to them as well caused by this horse’s pink skin.

Skin Color

Like I have mentioned before, Perlino horses have pink skin. This trait is caused by the double pigment dilution caused by the two copies of the creme gene. The downside to this skin color is that these horses are much more prone to sunburn and skin issues due to the lack of protection from the sun.

Genetics

These horses can be genetically identified by the two copies of the creme gene and the bay base color that they carry in their genetics. It is their genetics that make them the most identifiable.

Can Perlino Horses Have White Markings?

Yes, Perlino horses can have white markings though this is pretty rare to see. The markings that these horses can have include:

  • Star
  • Blaze
  • Stripe
  • Interrupted Stripe
  • White Face
  • Coronet
  • Half Pastern
  • Fetlock
  • Half Cannon
  • Below The Knee
  • Over The Knee
  • Sock
  • Stocking

Are Perlino Horses Rare?

Yes, these horses are extremely rare and are only seen in a select few breeds. There are a limited number of these horses in the world with the most being seen in just two breeds: the Andalusian and the Akhal Teke.

Breeds That Can’t Be Perlino

There are a number oif breeds that can not be registered as purebred if they are Perlino in color. This includes:

  • Thoroughbreds
  • Arabians
  • Clydesdales
  • Belgians
  • Cleveland Bays
  • Haflingers
  • Suffolk Punches
  • Fjord Ponies

There are several more breeds that can’t have this coat color to be determined purebred, but this is what I can remember off the top of my head.

Breeds That Can Be Perlino

A special thanks to @andalusianfurioso for letting me use this image! Go check out their Instagram @andalusianfurioso

There are several breeds that can in fact have the Perlino color. Some examples of these breeds are:

  • Andalusians
  • Akhal Tekes
  • Brumbys
  • Lusitanos
  • Oldenburgs
  • American Saddlebreds
  • Falabellas
  • Czech Warmbloods

Can the Perlino Color Affect The Health Of These Horses?

Sadly yes. Because of the lack of pigmentation in the skin caused by the creme gene, the horse has little natural sun protection on their ears, eyes, and nose. This can cause, sunburn, skin cancer, and other exposure-related issues. these horses also don’t handle the cold very well because the light skin doesn’t attract as much heat from the sun that a darker horse would.

Fun Facts On Perlinos

  • Perlino horses can produce buckskin or palomino offspring because of their creme genes. These horses are guaranteed to pass on one creme gene to their offspring.

FAQs On This Unique Color

Are Perlinos just albino horses?

No! Perlinos just are horses that have two copies of the creme gene which dilutes their color and rudeces their pigmentation. An albino horse has no pigment whatsoever which is what sets them apart from Perlinos and Cremellos.

Are Perlino horses expensive?

Yes, because of their unique coloration, their ability to produce creme offspring, and their rarity, these horses can be extremely expensive. Even for a stud fee, the prices are through the roof.

Hailey Johnson

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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