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Champagne Horse

Country of Origin: USA

Amber Champagne

Image from Kersti Nebelsiek


The Champagne horse is a colored breed and is registered based upon their color genetics rather than their breed genetics. The champagne gene is common in several breeds and seems to be most apparent in gaited animals.


The Champagne gene is still a bit of a mystery and its appearance has been traced back to the 19th century. The coloration appears to have originated in gaited saddle stock which explains why is is so often found within gaited breeds.


The champagne gene creates a number of very distinct characteristics.

The skin of a newborn foal is bright pink and as they age it will begin to mottle. Generally exposed skin (around muzzle) will display this coloration.

This gene also gives a metallic sheen to the animals coat which is believed to be due to a unique hair shaft structure. Foals are born the color of their base coat (bay, black, etc.) and reveal their champagne coat after they shed their baby fur.

The pigment of both base colors are affected, chestnut becomes gold and black becomes chocolate or lilac.

The eye color of newborn foals is bright blue and as they age they go through various stages of green and usually to gold. The adult eyes vary between green, gold and brown.

When combined with other genes (namely pinto & creme) their eyes may remain bright blue.

Champagne Colors

The gene affects different colors differently, so the result is a rainbow of combinations.

Amber Champagne – From a bay base, body is lightened to gold and points become chocolate.

Classic Champagne – From black base, the body & points are all lightened to a chocolate or lilac color.

Gold Champagne – From a chestnut base, the body is lightened to gold and may have a flaxen mane & tail.

Champagne Cream – The two dilutions enhance each other, chestnut becomes cream & black become rust.

Champagne Silver – The two dilutions enhance each other only on a black base and black pigment is further lightened.

Champagne Dun – The dun gene is dominant enough to suppress most of the champagne traits, & they generally display primitive markings.

Champagne Roan – Perhaps the most difficult to identify the roan pattern may only cause the coat to appear lighter.


Because so many different breeds carry the gene confirmation standards follow that of the primary breed.

Traditional Colors

All colors affected by the champagne dilution gene


Varies based on primary breed

Champagne Horse Products


Animals with this coloration are used within all aspects of the equine industry.

Helpful Links

* all links open in a new window
International Champagne Registry
Champagne Horse Breeders’ & Owners’ Association
Champagne Horse Genetics
The Equine Champagne Gene


Do you have images or know more about the Champagne breed? I’d love help completing this page, please contact me to get involved.

Country of Origin: USA | Colors:
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