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Our "Questionable" are horses that, for one reason or another, have not been generally accepted as being duns, yet may be, whether or not they have dun-like markings.

For more on this topic, see "tested horses".


It's nice when we have "all of the requirements" to declare a horse a dun: a sharp dorsal stripe, clearly visible leg markings, other (neck, shoulders, ears, face, back) dun markings, and similarly-marked parents and offspring...and now, a positive test for the "dun markers"!

But what of those with some of those "requirements" missing?  A test is now available, but sometimes it raises more questions than it answers!

There are many, many horses in the "doubtful area" of dun-like markings:

  •  horses with a sharp dorsal stripe but no visible markings on the legs

  •  horses with other markings, when there are no visible markings on either parent

  •  horses with no visible markings, yet which beget those having them

  •  horses born with markings that fade with age

  •  horses with one or many dun markings that belong to breeds wherein dun is not believed to exist

  •  horses that are graying (see Iberian section, below)

  •  horses that are so dark all over that the markings are not completely discernable as being a darker color, but more of a difference in texture or nap

  •  horses whose markings come and go with the seasons or different ages

  •  palominos or offspring of palominos in whose registry dun is a disqualification

  •  extremely light horses where dun markings, if extant, would amount to "white on white" (see OSO X ["Blue"], just below, or button at right.)

  •  horses with dun markings that are also sooty in places (some believe the two cannot co-exist)

If you have some related pictures you'd like to share, please send them to the "dungenes" list or to bakostelnik@gmail.com . Please be sure to explain your pictures' purpose in your email.  Otherwise I won't know on which web site or which page to use it, or regarding what question you're sending it.  Thank you.


Indigo Sierra
Sage on Bey

Avispado, an Iberian who tests "black" and has a diluted body color and dun striping.  Owned by Linda McLachlan of New Zealand.  He has relatives with similar coloring, as well.

Newest puzzle!  This Morgan mare is believed to be "only" a brown buckskin.  "Everyone says" that she has none of the known dun carriers in the Morgan breed in her pedigree.  However, she has a stripy smoky black sire, who has a cremello dam, who has two palomino parents.  She has never been tested.  Indigo Morgans' Indigo Sierra

Tbear.jpg (32651 bytes)

The "dun-marked" Arabian, Sage On Bey

BlueBathDay.jpg (106402 bytes)

This puzzle has been solved.  "Blue" is an APHA/AQHA cremello dun stallion, now residing in Denmark, who has no visible dun markings.  His sire was said not to have any, either, but that turned out to be a misunderstanding.  Blue has sired dun foals and has dun in his pedigree. More about him here. (Or use button at right.)

NEW!  These pictures were provided by Carolyn Shepard, who is positive these cannot be dun horses, so they have not been tested. Added to this page 7/24/2008.


Some foals have temporary or partial "dun markings"

Yet they belong to breeds where the pattern is unheard of in adult horses!

Arabian, LL Amaretto, registered bay; his owner says he is colored like a dun. "He was lighter in color as a six year old. He is almost black now so it may be hard to see his dun factor". Owned by Janet,  Diamond Branch QH's.

gayle_n_Black_arab_mare.jpg (58671 bytes)

Gayle Norman had the honor of presenting us with the first photo we displayed on this page.  Here is a black Arabian mare, who turned out this way one year.  Gayle thinks it's the unusual amount of sunshine & warmth they've had.  She says the stripe is sharp-edged (click small picture to see bigger one) and much more visible in person.

Gayle also sent us this picture of a black Arabian foal who later turned gray.  This begins to address the phenomenon of many horses developing dun markings as they turn gray.

arabian colt with dorsal .jpg (44624 bytes)

This purebred Arabian foal also belongs to Gayle Norman.  Many Arabian foals have strong dun markings at birth, and a few keep them throughout their lives!

bay_stud_forelegs.jpg (27434 bytes) bay_stud_hocks.jpg (25483 bytes) 

bay_stud_rear.jpg (15343 bytes)These three pics are of a Morgan stallion who lives in Rising Sun, IN with Ray Taylor and Linda Scott.  He was presented to me as a bay, but he had such a beautiful dorsal stripe I just had to take these pictures.  I should have taken more of his stripe, these don't show it very well.  It goes the whole length of his back and is very sharp-edged.

  DustyDorsal1.jpg (55953 bytes)  

DustyDapples1.jpg (32383 bytes)Dusty012904_3.jpg (26429 bytes)Vanzi Moonlit Bronze, aka "Dusty", a Champagne QH of My Skip Vanzi (gold dun) breeding.

Tari dorsal 11-03-031.JPG (89809 bytes)

Tari right 8-3-0311.JPG (39675 bytes)This is Glass Eyed Tari, a brown champagne (sable) filly bred by Mary Haas.

wystyreabody1.JPG (133438 bytes)

wystyrea1.jpg (25777 bytes)Amanda Boyle's purebred Arabian mare, Wystyrea, who is turning gray.  Look at the leg marking in the picture at left!

wellwisher01.jpg (60721 bytes)  wellwisher06.jpg (39336 bytes) wellwisher04.jpg (59630 bytes)

Arabian foal, Wellwisher,  bred by Katy Bowen-Brazell, with dorsal, leg , shoulder, and face markings.  Dun is unknown in adult Arabian horses, yet many are born like this.

buckfo2.jpg (12708 bytes)
 Luckyfoalday4g.jpg (29072 bytes)

buckfo1.jpg (9311 bytes) buckfo4.jpg (30973 bytes)

Goldie, a Thoroughbred buckskin filly bred by Julia Lord in Indiana.  Dun is unknown in adult Thoroughbreds.  We are awaiting the disappearance of her dorsal stripe;  she still had it, at age two.  She has not been tested.


The pics below are also of Goldie:

Goldie17mo21.jpg (21409 bytes) Goldie17mo5.jpg (16338 bytes)

Quite a change, eh?  Lends some credibility to the theory that dun-type markings can be related to sootiness, at least on foals.

Lusitano_dun_foal_Oelke.jpg (327787 bytes)

This picture is from Hardy Oelke's book, Born Survivors on the Eve of Extinction.  It's a purebred Lusitano foal.  Some believe this foal grew up to be non-dun, since "there are no dun Lusitanos"; but that view is fading fast.

 Dorsal 15 mo.JPG (71602 bytes) Leg bars 15 mo.JPG (67261 bytes)

Leg bars 1.JPG (40583 bytes)These photos are from a maturing THOROUGHBRED filly!  She's owned by Carolyn Shepard of Rancho No Robles. Has not been tested.

(Mary) Annita Blake writes: "Here is Sissy the dun Appaloosa's seal brown filly. She has stripes on the rear legs well above the hocks. Pictured a few hours old... Annita" www.wolfrunranch.com

Nancy Nard of Ragtime Morgans sent these pics of :

"a smoky black colt I had born last year who expressed every dun factor in the book- and leg bars to die for- who now is so dark it will take a test to prove/disprove."

Iberian duns:

An Over-simplified Overview

Of course, the Sorraia and related breeds/crosses have many, if not all, undisputed duns.

Portuguese-bred: There are some undisputed duns in the Lusitano breed.  Others are being studied.

Spanish-bred: This list/website recognizes at least one Andalusian dun.  He resides in New Zealand.

In addition to these, it seems that most other Iberian horses with markings usually accepted as Dun either:

  •  are, or may be, turning gray

  •  are suspected to be black or smoky black (with one cream gene) and their markings are at least partially obscured by the dark coloring of the surrounding areas

Some believe that the gray gene itself is causing the dun markings in the first case, and that something like nap or hair texture is causing them in the second case.

Afortunado / Indigo Sierra / OSO X / Maia / Quixote / Sage on Bey

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  This web site created with delight by Hippo-Logistics   2011 Barbara A. Kostelnik
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