Sooty or Smutty Horse Coat Color Modifier

Sooty or Smutty Horse

Thought to be a form of natural camouflage, the sooty or smutty gene causes black hairs to grow mixed into the body coat (generally concentrated on the topline & points). This often results in countershading, dappling & in rarer cases brindle or dun type striping.

Sooty or Smutty Modifier

This modifier can display a seasonal effect, which is best seen in lighter animals affected by a creme dilution. The result is darker striping & shading certain times of the year. There is speculation about whether this is related to the primitive striping found in duns as well as dark bays, liver chestnuts & dark palominos (shading can actually conceal the animal’s original color). Sooty buckskins can be mistaken for duns, dark bays & even black animals.

Quick Sooty Facts

  • Modifier darkens color from the topline down
  • Can create brilliant dapples
  • Can darken coat uniformly
  • Also called countershading or coloring modifier
  • Can express itself in smudges, patches, stripes, spots or dapples

Smutty Shades

This coloring can be found on both chestnut & black bases (yes, that includes bays). Although for obvious reasons, darkening of the coat only has a visible affect on variations of bay & chestnut animals.

Although the cause of this coloring & how it’s passed on genetically is unknown it’s passed on readily enough to be dominant to some degree.

Sooty on a Black Base

Sooty Bay Horse

Sooty gene displayed on two different bay horses
Sooty on a Chestnut Base

Sooty or Smutty Chestnut Horse

Sooty gene displayed on a chestnut base (with a flaxen modifier)