Cremello Breeding Information

Cremello

Cremello is a color of horse consisting of a cream-colored body with a cream or white mane and tail. It is the result of "double dilution" on a red (chestnut base coat. This means, that the horse is homozygous for the creme gene, also know as a dilution gene. Such horses have pink skin, blue eyes, are a light cream when born, but can fade to almost white as an adult.

Cremello horses are not albino: their eyes are blue or brown, whereas a true albino would have red eyes, and true albinism is a lethal trait in horses. Cremello's are also not true white horses, which have a pure white coat from birth with brown or blue eyes and pink skin, but no dilution factor.

A horse who has a "red," or chestnut, base coat and is heterozygous for the dilution gene, that is, has only a single copy of the gene, is a palomino. Most palominos have a golden coat with a white mane and tail, and usually have dark eyes (though occasional individuals inherit the blue eyes of the Cremello.

The Creme Gene

The creme gene is a dilution gene expressed in horses, producing lighter colors. When one copy of the gene is present, it dilutes "red" color (chestnut) to yellow or gold, but not black color. When two copies of the gene are present, both red and black hairs become a pale cream color.

A horse with the creme gene does not carry lethal white syndrome. Dilution coloring also has nothing to do with frame overcoat patterns, lethal white syndrome, white- colored horses or the controversial "white" gene.

The creme gene also does not produce the Dun color. There is a separate dun gene that dilutes all colors in a distinct manner.

The Creme Gene produces the colors:

  • Palomino
  • Buckskin
  • Smoky black (Moon is DNA tested and does not carry the Smokey Black gene)
  • Cremello
  • Perlino
  • Smoky creme

Eye color: double dilutes usually have blue eyes (unlike brown eyes of a gray horse or some white horses). Some palominos are born with light eyes, along with pink skin, which darken within a couple weeks of birth.

The creme gene is an "incomplete dominant" gene, which means that it is expressed even when there is only one copy of the gene--it is dominant--but it expresses itself even more when there are two copies (one from each parent).

It is very important to note that the creme gene only makes the horse's color lighter, but does not remove it, even when there are two present. They cannot make a horse an actual albino; it will always have pigment in it skin, hair and eyes. The only truly pink skin and white hair on a horse will be its markings, if any.

Also, genes that cause albinism in other mammals are "recessive" genes, meaning they will not be expressed unless the animal gets 2 copies of the gene. The carriers of the "recessive" gene will not show any characteristics of the gene. In contrast, Creme genes are "incomplete dominant" genes, meaning they cannot be "hidden". A horse with one copy of the Creme gene will exhibit characteristics of that gene (i.e. palomino, buckskin coloring.) And thus far, research has not been able to find any albinos, or even albino genes, in the horse world!

Single Dilutes

Single dilutes receive the creme gene from one parent, and a different gene for coat color from another parent.

Palomino: One parent gave the creme gene, one the "red" base coat gene. The creme gene lightens the coat to pale yellow/ gold and the mane to white, producing a palomino.

Buckskin: One parent gave the creme gene, the other had the genes for bay (the black base gene and the agouti gene that restricts the black to the points only. The creme gene lightened the coat to pale yellow, but could not change the black of the horse, leaving the mane, tail, and lower legs black.

Smoky black: One parent gives the creme gene, the other the gene for a "black" base color. The one creme gene can not change the black hairs, so the horse looks black, "masking" the creme gene. Only on true blacks can the creme gene be totally masked. Those horses with some brown or red hairs will have those hairs turned gold, and have a "glow" on their coat.

Double Dilutes

Double dilutes have 2 creme genes (one from each parent). This even further lightens the red color: from the golden color of one dilute to a pale "creme" color of the double dilute. It also results in lightening of black hairs to a dark cream color.

Double dilutes are not true white horses, nor are they albinos, even though they have pink skin. Albino, whether in the form of Lethal White Syndrome or dominant white, is a lethal condition in horses, there are no true albinos in the horse world.

Nor are double-dilutes gray: they have blue eyes and pink skin, whereas a gray horse has dark eyes and black skin.

Some experts debate if the "white" (W) gene, exists, but in any case, the white gene is not a dilute gene, and if homozygous, is a lethal gene and the foal will not live. A horse with the heterozygous white gene (Ww) will have a white coat and blue, hazel or brown eyes.

Cremello: The double dilution of chestnut/red coats. The body and mane is a cream color (hence the "cream gene").

Perlino: Double dilution of bay, so that the body is a light creme, with "pinkish" points (mane, tail, lower legs).

Cremello and Perlino horses fade in color as they mature, so that they look almost white. Their eyes and skin remain their respective colors.

Smoky Cream: Double dilution on a black coat. The cream gene is not completely hidden like it was in the smoky black. The horse is a pinkish or pinky-gray color (although colors vary).

Color Chart

Find the color at the left that you want to know the outcome of a mating with the color at the top, and find the spot where they meet to get the results. This chart is strictly for the creme-related colors; if you have other genes modifying the colors, such as pinto, dun, Appaloosa, Champagne, roan, etc., you would need to take those into account as well. In colors where the black gene or the bay gene is present, the possibility of heterozygosity (mixed) is assumed. Percentages are not guarantees; they only show probability where applicable (except 100%). We're using "sorrel" to mean sorrel OR chestnut. The most probable outcomes are at the top of the list in bold, the rest are in no particular order.

Colors Mixed
Cremello
Perlino
Smoky Cream
Palomino
Buckskin
Smoky Black
Sorrel
100% Palomino Buckskin, Palomino, Smoky Black Smoky black, Buckskin, Palomino 50% Palomino 50% Sorrel Palomino, Buckskin, Smoky black Sorrel, Bay, Black Smoky Black, Buckskin, Palomino, Black, Sorrel, Bay
Bay
Buckskin, Palomino, Smoky black Buckskin, Smoky Black, Palomino Smoky black, Buckskin, Palomino Palomino, Buckskin, Smoky black, Sorrel, Bay, Black Buckskin, Smoky black, Palomino Sorrel, Bay, Black Buckskin, Smoky black, Palomino Sorrel, Bay, Black
Black
Buckskin, Palomino, Smoky black Buckskin, Smoky black, Palomino Smoky black, Palomino Palomino, Buckskin, Smoky black, Sorrel, Bay, Black Buckskin, Smoky black, Palomino Black, Bay, Sorrel Smoky black, Palomino Black, Sorrel
Palomino
50% Palomino 50% Cremello Palomino, Buckskin, Smoky black, Cremello, Perlino, Smoky cream Smoky black, Buckskin, Palomino, Perlino, Cremello, Smoky Cream 50% Palomino, 25% Sorrel, 25% Cremello Palomino, Buckskin, Smoky black, Sorrel, Bay, Black, Cremello, Perlino, Smoky cream Smoky black, Buckskin, Palomino, Black, Bay, Sorrel, Perlino, Smoky cream, Cremello
Buckskin
Buckskin, Palomino, Smoky black, Cremello, Perlino, Smoky cream Buckskin, Smoky black, Palomino, Perlino, Cremello, Smoky cream Smoky black, Buckskin, Palomino, Perlino, Cremello, Smoky Cream Palomino, Buckskin, Smoky black, Sorrel, Bay, Black, Cremello, Perlino, Smoky cream Buckskin, Palomino, Smoky Black, Bay, Sorrel, Black, Perlino, Cremello, Smoky cream Smoky black, Buckskin, Palomino, Black, Bay, Sorrel, Perlino, Smoky cream, Cremello
Smoky Black
Smoky black, Buckskin, Palomino, Perlino, Smoky cream, Cremello Smoky Black, Buckskin, Palomino, Pelino, Smoky cream, cremello Smoky black, Palomino, Cremello, Smoky Cream Smoky black, Buckskin, Palomino, Black, Bay, Sorrel, Perlino, Smoky cream, Cremello Smoky black, Buckskin, Palomino, Black, Bay, Sorrel, Perlino, Smoky cream, Cremello Smoky black, Palomino, Black, Sorrel, Smoky cream, Cremello
Cremello
Cremello Cremello, Perlino, Smoky Cream Cremello, Smoky Cream Cremello, Palomino Cremello, Perlino, Buckskin, Palomino, Smoky Cream, Smoky Black Cremello, Palomino, Perlino, Buckskin, Smoky Cream, Smoky Black
Perlino
Perlino, Cremello, Smoky Cream Perlino, Cremello, Smoky Cream Perlino, Cremello, Smoky Cream Perlino, Buckskin, Cremello, Palomino, Smoky Cream, Smoky Black Perlino, Buckskin, Cremello, Palomino, Smoky Cream, Smoky Black Perlino, Buckskin, Smoky Cream, Smoky Black, Cremello, Palomino
Smoky Cream
Smoky Cream Perlino, Smoky Cream, Cremello Smoky Cream, Cremello Perlino, Buckskin, Smoky Cream, Smoky Black, Cremello, Palomino Perlino, Buckskin, Smoky Cream, Smoky Black, Cremello, Palomino Smoky Cream, Smoky Black, Cremello, Palomino