Light Black Horse Coat Color Dilution Gene

Perhaps one of the newest and least understood types of colors, we may be mislabeling it by lumping types together and calling them a dilution. Until we find more information we’ll call it the light black dilution and provide some basic information.

Light Black Dilution

The light black color term refers to animals are genetically black without any known dilution genes, but aren’t black. First, this shouldn’t be confused with fading black, which is a black based animal whose coat simply fades from sun or sweat as it ages.

Light Black Types

While I’ve used the term loosely here, there are several different instances of animals who test genetically black without coat dilutions, but simply aren’t black. There is very little information to go on so I’ll name them by color to keep things simple.

Actual Light Black

These animals have a black coat that has been uniformly lightened to brown all over (not to be confused with seal brown animals who are affected by the Agouti gene). They have been know to be born with pinkish skin and blue eyes that turn golden as they age. This color combination is the prime suspect being considered for an actual light black dilution.

Brown Black

The color of these animals ranges from bay to buckskin, but their mane, tail and points are always black. This color combination is the second contender for the title of light black and may be genetically related to actual light black above.

Seasonal Black

These animals are slightly different from fading-black animals whose coat grows burned or faded with age and sun exposure. Seasonal black animals grow a pure black coat every season, however within a few months it fades to a ruddy brown, red or light brown color. This color combination is not likely to be genetically related to the two above and could possibly need its own classification.

Other Light Black Genetics

Aside from the obvious smoky black connection there are other combinations that can produce an animal that has similar coloring. A mild expression of the leopard complex has been known to slightly dilute black pigment. The silver dilution can play funny tricks as well and doesn’t always present a flaxen mane and tail, leaving the body a chocolate color and the skin dark pink.

Image Anyone?

Finding good images to use for the color section has always been a challenge and we rely on public domain and creative commons which leaves us limited. If anyone has images of a light black animal they’d allow us to use we’d be happy to credit you for them and link to you in return. contact us if you are interested in sharing.