|The Brindle Horse - Equiworld horse breeds and horse breeding.|
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The Brindle pattern consists of a watery or drippy looking striping (sometimes just partial striping) over the body of an animal. It is more commonly seen in dogs or cattle. In horses, the pattern is extremely rare. Brindle has occurred in such diverse breeds as Arabians, Thoroughbreds, Mustangs, Quarter Horses, Tennessee Walking Horses, German and Bavarian Warmbloods, Russian Horses, Spanish Horses, and also in Donkeys and Mules.
Many people confuse the Brindle pattern with Dun Factor markings (stripe down the back, barring on the legs, and occasional regular-spaced striping down the ribs). At one time, it was thought Brindle was a just a variation of Dun Factor. Indeed, there have been many examples of horses that were probably carrying both Dun Factor and Brindle. However, as can be seen from pictures of numerous Brindles in our slideshow, many do not have any Dun Factor markings whatsoever, indicating the two patterns are probably distinct genetically.
Brindle horses also have texturing in their coat, similar to that seen in some Appaloosa horses. The pattern seems to be inheritable, especially in terms of coat texturing, but the expression of the darker or more intense pigment to make the pattern visible is highly variable, and even varies with individual horses seasonally / yearly. Sometimes the pattern seems to be composed of dark hair (black or brown), sometimes of white hair (roan or gray).
Information collected since 1990 on Brindle horses is now shedding some light on the Brindle pattern. It now appears there may be two ways in which a Brindle phenotype (outward appearance) can occur. In some horses, the pattern has not been inheritable, pointing to a possible mosaic or chimeric origin, such as seen in tortoiseshell cats. In other horses, the pattern has been shown to be inheritable. However, there could be several genes involved, producing similar patterns (much as pinto/paint spotting can result from several different genes).
For more information on Brindle Horses, visit the Brindle Horse website at http://members.aol.com/brindlehos/
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Updated: October 2005.