Eye color - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 28 Old 02-14-2014, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Eye color

Most horses have brown eyes.

What about blue eyes? I know that that usually happen in paints and maybe cremellos? Is there a gene (or more) that is known to cause blue eyes?

Once I saw a picture of a horse with grey eyes (but he was a foal, he might have grown to normal brown) and another time a different pic of an adult horse with green eyes. Did you ever see those unusual colors? And amber (light brown)?
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post #2 of 28 Old 02-14-2014, 10:17 AM
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I believe it comes from the sames genes that cause white patterns, or pink skin. I have seen solid bay or chestnut horses with blue eyes, but they usually have some kind of paint genetics. Like a breeding stock paint could still be solid with blue eyes, or a QH paint cross that is solid bay could still have blue eyes. But I think it is a recessive gene. It doesn't "just happen."

I could be wrong. I am terrible at color genetics. But this is my understanding.
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post #3 of 28 Old 02-14-2014, 10:20 AM
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I have a paint with blue eyes that have brown patches in them. There kind of freaky looking cause you notice them from a mile away! I think it has to do with there genes. My first horse was a paint and he had one blue and one brown eye.

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post #4 of 28 Old 02-14-2014, 10:36 AM
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Blue eyes are generally associated with pinto patterns, particularly tobiano, though their inheritance is not entirely understood. Champagne horses will have green or amber eyes. Cremello and pearl horses will have lighter eyes. As far as we know, horses do not have genes that specifically dictate eye colour. Their eye colour is usually influenced by their coat patterns and dilutes, however it is possible there is a gene for eye colour that has not yet been isolated. If there is a specific gene for blue eyes, there is a good chance it is physically near a pinto patterning gene and the mutation for blue eyes occurred in a pinto so now that mutation is often inherited together with the pinto pattern because of their close proximity on the chromosome.

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post #5 of 28 Old 02-14-2014, 11:52 AM
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Blue eyes are not from tobiano, they are linked to frame and splash. Double dilutes also have blue eyes(cremello, perlino, smokey cream). Champagnes will have a hazely-green type colored eye.
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post #6 of 28 Old 02-14-2014, 01:42 PM
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To add to what's already been said, the blue eyes caused by pinto patterns are generally a brighter blue than those caused by double dilution, and double dilutes can be more green-ish as well. My cremello has one blue eye and one green eye:


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post #7 of 28 Old 02-14-2014, 01:46 PM
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There's also an as-yet unidentified gene in Paso Finos that causes light amber colored eyes (called "tiger eyes") in otherwise "normal" colored horses. I'll be interested to see if this study comes up with anything: "Tiger eye" in Paso Fino horses explored - News - Horsetalk.co.nz
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post #8 of 28 Old 02-14-2014, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiltsrhott View Post
Blue eyes are generally associated with pinto patterns, particularly tobiano, though their inheritance is not entirely understood. Champagne horses will have green or amber eyes. Cremello and pearl horses will have lighter eyes. As far as we know, horses do not have genes that specifically dictate eye colour. Their eye colour is usually influenced by their coat patterns and dilutes, however it is possible there is a gene for eye colour that has not yet been isolated. If there is a specific gene for blue eyes, there is a good chance it is physically near a pinto patterning gene and the mutation for blue eyes occurred in a pinto so now that mutation is often inherited together with the pinto pattern because of their close proximity on the chromosome.
I have no idea where you got your information, but it could hardly be more incorrect.

Tobiano definitely does not cause blue eyes. We know that splash and frame do. It is not believed that sabino1 does, but it is the only mutation of sabino that is isolated currently, so it is uncertain if other mutations can cause blue eyes.

Cream also causes blue eyes when homozygous. Perlino, cremello, and smoky cream will always have blue eyes.

Champagne horses commonly have greenish or amber eyes.
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post #9 of 28 Old 02-14-2014, 01:54 PM
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What is it that causes blue eyes in Shires?
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post #10 of 28 Old 02-14-2014, 02:46 PM
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Cream can also make golden eyes too! This mare is color tested palomino. Like said the only know white patterns that cause blue eyes are frame and splash. Double cream also causes blue eyes.

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