Yellowish/sand-colored coat with black points (lower leg, mane, and tail). Has dorsal stripe and primitive leg markings ('zebra' stripes).
Caused by one Dun gene lightening bay or other "red"-based colors (E- A- Dd).
Can easily be confused with buckskin.

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  • classic dun coloring
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  • Przewalski's horses with the dun coloring and "primitive" dun markings
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  • red dun
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  • blue dun, or grullo


DD or Dd: Dun gene. Another dilution gene. Horse shows a diluted body color to pinkish-red, yellow-red, yellow or mouse gray and has dark points including dorsal stripe, shoulder stripe and leg barring.
dd: Horse has undiluted coat color.

he dun gene has a stronger dilution effect on the body than the mane, tail, legs and primitive markings, and so lightens the body coat more. This explains why points on a dun are a shade darker than the coat, or in the case of a "classic" dun, the mane, tail, and legs are often black or only slightly diluted.

* Dun, also called Bay dun or "zebra" dun. The most common type of dun, has a tan or gold body with black mane, tail and primitive markings. Genetically, the horse has an underlying bay coat color, acted upon by the dun gene.
* Red dun horses do not have black points, as there is no black on the horse to be affected. Instead, the points and primitive markings are a darker shade of red than the coat. Genetically, the horse has an underlying chestnut coat color, acted upon by the dun gene.
* Grullo (GREW-yo, or Grulla, GREW-ya), also called blue dun or "mouse" dun, have a smoky, bluish, or mouse-brown color and can vary from light to dark. They consistently have black points and they often have a dark or black head, which is an identifying characteristic of the this color. The primitive markings are usually all black. Genetically, the horse has an underlying black coat color, acted upon by the dun gene. Unlike a roan, there are no intermingled black and white hairs, and unlike a true gray, which also intermingles light and dark hairs, the color does not change to a lighter shade as the horse ages. With a dun, the hair color itself is one solid shade.

Dun vs. Buckskin

Since the dun gene, when on a "bay dun" horse, can closely resemble buckskin, in that both colors feature a light-colored coat with a dark mane and tail, classic duns are frequently confused with buckskins. The difference between these two colors is that dun is a tan color, somewhat duller than the more cream or gold buckskin, and duns also possess the primitive markings. (Though a few buckskins do show a dorsal stripe.)

Genetically, a bay dun is a bay horse with the dun gene that causes the lighter coat color and the primitive markings. A buckskin is bay horse with the addition of the cream gene causing the coat color to be diluted from red to gold, without primitive markings.

To further confuse matters, it is possible for a horse to carry both dun and cream dilution genes; such horses with golden buckskin coloring and a complete set of primitive markings is referred to as a "palomino dun" or a "dunalino"/"buckskin dun" or a "dunskin." On such horses, the distinctive markings of a dun can be more noticeable during the summer months when the winter hair sheds.

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