What Exactly is a Buckskin Horse?

Buckskin horse Staring at the camera

According to genetic analyses available on the Oklahoma State University Department of Animal Science website, the true Buckskin horse is a breed that descends directly from Dun or Buckskin colored ancestors, going back as far as the recorded history of the animal allows.

International Buckskin Horse Association is known to be the largest registry of Buckskin and Dun Horses worldwide. Unfortunately, they do not disclose the number of horses in their registry, making it difficult to determine their prevalence.

A buckskin horse’s body is cream in color with black points on the mane, tail, ears, and legs. Colors are genetically encoded. Here are some interesting facts about this type of breed:

Dun Horse

The cream gene does not affect the color of a dun. Duns are easily identifiable by their dorsal stripe, which runs the length of their backs.

Red Dun

The Red Dun has a dorsal stripe as well, but the coat color varies from peach to copper to deep maroon. Legs, mane, and tail are all a darker shade than the body. 


A grulla’s (pronounced grew-ya) body color varies from silver to slate to blue, with dark sepia to black points. Additionally, the grulla has a dorsal stripe down its back and no white hairs mixed in with its body hairs.

Brindle Horse

This coloring is extremely rare, as it is the result of a genetic mutation. The majority of brindle horses are chimeras—horses made up of two genetically distinct DNA types. This is believed to occur during the early stages of development when non-identical twin embryos fuse into one.

While the horse normally develops within the mare’s womb, two distinct genotypes exist in its organ cells. Chimerism has been observed in both cats and humans. Moreover, brindles have a distinctive striped appearance. Additionally, a brindle dun has a dorsal stripe.

10 Facts About Buckskin Horses

  • A buckskin horse’s body is cream-colored with black points (mane, tail, ears, and legs), though the exact shade of the body color varies considerably. Certain buckskins are a dark tan color, while others are a light cream hue.
  • Buckskin is a bay horse with at least one cream gene. The cream gene causes the body color to lighten to buckskin. (A bay horse with two copies of the cream gene is perlino.)
  • Although the terms buckskin and dun are frequently used interchangeably, they are not the same color. (The cream gene has no effect on true dun.)
  • Buckskin horses occasionally have amber-colored eyes. Palomino horses are the same way.
  • Buttermilk, Dale Evans’ horse, was a buckskin. Buttermilk was an American Quarter Horse gelding who appeared in numerous episodes of The Roy Rogers Show and lived to be over 30 years old.
  • The International Buckskin Horse Association (IBHA) was founded in 1971 to serve as a registry for buckskin, dun, and Grulla horses of various breeds. However, stock-type horses account for a sizable portion of the registry’s membership.
  • Although dun horses have primitive markings (such as a dorsal stripe and leg barring), buckskins typically lack these characteristics. (However, this is not always the case.)
  • The buckskin color is found in various breeds, including the American Quarter Horse, Andalusian, mustang, Morgan, Peruvian Paso, Tennessee Walking Horse, and all sections of Welsh Ponies and Cobs.
  • Buckskin horses have long been featured in television Westerns, including Ben Cartwright’s on Bonanza and Trampas’ on The Virginian. Buckskin horses have also made film appearances in Dances with Wolves and The Man from Snowy River (I and II).
  • Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron’s animated star is a buckskin.
Buckskin horse standing on the surface of grasses

Buckskin horses have existed for as long as horses have been around. Their ancestors originated with the primitive Sorraia horse breed. Today, the majority of horse breeds are influenced by Sorraia; as a result, all types of horses exhibit buckskin coloring.

In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadors brought Sorraia horses to North America for use as pack animals. The Sorraia breed was ideal due to its exceptional endurance and low maintenance requirements.

Spanish horses were released into the wild. The Sorraia blood found its way into the wild west horses, and so, Sorraia’s cross with other wild horses resulted in the development of the western buckskins.

These horses earned a reputation as an invaluable all-around western workhorse due to their endurance, soundness, and sure footing. Due to these desirable characteristics, they were frequently the preferred steed of cowboys.

Have A Horse In Coconut Creek?

Millpond Stables in Coconut Creek is your number one choice when it comes to horse care. Our horse boarding services are top notch, our all wood stables are maintained by expert staff. Take horse back riding lessons with seasoned professionals and ride your horse on scenic trails near our stables. Get engaged in the community with local horse shows and gatherings. Are your kids interested in horses? We offer an annual summer camp designed to teach kids how to ride and care for horses. Contact us today to sign up.


Krizzia Reyes is an author for Millpond Stables.

About The Author

As a writer at many renowned websites Krizzia Reyes has covered a wide range of topics in many industries. It has been her passion to only deliver the truth and nothing but the truth.