Dapple Grey Horse – All About Genes, Color & Breeds

Dapple grey breed is an attractive breed of grey horses. Actually it is not a separate horse breed, a step or condition when coat colour turns into grey colour. These horses have dark grey coat colour with dapples on their body.

What are Dapples?

Dapple is a ring with a dark ring with light coloured hairs. These rings are scattered on all body. These dapples appear on the special stage of horses.


The grey horse is characterized by silvering of coloured hairs. Most of the grey horses appear with black skin and dark colour eyes. Like some other horses, grey colour does not affect eyes or skin colour in any life stage. Their adult horse coat colour can be dappled, white or white colour intermingled with other colours.

You should not confuse white colour horse with mature dapple grey. White horses have pink skin and blue eyes.

Grey horses can be of different colours at birth. As they mature their base colour replaced by white hairs. With age, their colour changes into iron-grey rose grey or dapple grey colour. Later this colour will change into flea-bitten grey.

Some horse owners confused with slight dappling bloom appear on healthy or overweight horses. This will disappear as the horse lose this condition.

Characteristics of Dapple Grey Horse


Dapple Grey horses are breathtakingly similar to grey horses except for the dark rings containing white hair inside. As it’s not a breed but a coat color, the Dapple Grey horses can be taller, medium-sized, muscular, or compactly built. 


Dapple Grey is a coat condition, it has nothing to do with height or weight. On average, the horses usually are 1.4 to 1.8 m(at the withers) so a Dapple Grey horse would be somewhere between the said height. 


How much do Dapple grey horses weigh? The answer to this question depends on the breed they belong to. Generally, no matter which breeds the Dapple Grey horses belong to, they would be somewhere between 900 to 2000 pounds. 

Like all grey horse Dapple Grey get lighter with age 

Dapple Grey horses might have been the ordinary grey horses if they didn’t have the “Dapples” on their coats. Like all grey horses, they hardly stand by their true color. Their coats get lighter and lighter with every year passing. All Dapple Grey horses get lighter but some get earlier and others take a few more years to develop white hair. 

The subject of discussion can be of any base color but most Dapple Grey horses have been blessed with black skin

It is usually assumed that all Dapple Grey horses have black skin but this is not true at all. Some Dapple horses have other base colors as well but black is a little more common. So, it’s totally wrong to assume that all Dapple Grey horses out there have a black base color. 

Dapple Grey look spectacular but color fading and the risk of developing skin cancer makes them less desirable 

Not just Dapple Grey, all grey horses are prone to developing skin cancer at a certain stage and they get lighter and lighter until they start looking more whiter than grey-ish. The risk of developing skin cancer and the color fading bring down the value of this spectacular coat color. The horse enthusiasts look for other colors as they are less likely to get affected by the deadly disease called “Melanoma”. 

Dappling is more prominent at a younger age

As the Dapple Grey horses are darker as they should be in the young age, the Dapples are more prominent in the young age, it starts fading away as the horse’s coat gets lighter and lighter with every day passing. 

Health issues

Besides the dapples and the magnificent grey color, Dapple Grey horses have to face more or less the same health issues as other horses. As per the study conducted recently, these spectacular horses fall victim to Melanoma more than horses of any other breed or color. Read more about chimera horses‘ genetic issues.

The said disease is a type of skin cancer that appears in the form of black lumps around the hairless parts of ha orse’s body. Most Dapple Grey horses usually develop around the anus, head, under the tail, and sometimes in the sheath of geldings. Let alone Dapple Grey, all grey horses have been at the risk of developing Melanoma. 

Horse Breeds that show Dapple Gray Color

Dapple grey character will not appear in all horse breeds. This colour is specific for some breeds. Here are some breeds that show this character.

Mangalarga MarchadorIrish Sport Horse
Andalusian HorseLippizan Horse
Poitevin HorseOldenburg Horse
Standardbred HorseHanoverian


What is Dapple Gray Horse?

Dapple grey is an intermediate condition of the coat when turning into grey. It looks attractive because of the dapples on their body. Dapples are rings of dark colour with white hairs.

Is Dapple Grey Breed of Horse?

No, it is not a specific breed, dapple grey is a condition of many breeds with dapples of light colour on their body.

Do Dapple Gray Horses turn white?

Horses born with grey allele can have any type of skin colour. As their age increase, hairs lose the ability to produce melanin. Their skin appears in a dappled condition which later turns into complete white colour.

Related>>> Piebald Horse

Dapple Grey Horse Images


This image was taken by Hannah Gilbert.A gorgeous Dapple Gray Horse.

Image was taken by Andrew and named it Dapple Grey fell Pony.

Dapple Grey Pony Horse

dapple gray horse

An image from common wiki . A dog with Horse

dapple grey

Grey Arabian Horse


So for the readers who are not familiar with horses. Dapple grey is coat colour condition of horses when they show dappled on their body which are rings with light hairs. Most of the grey horse breeds change into dapple grey in later stages of their life.



Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

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