Dapple grey horses are one of my all-time favorite horse colors, and it’s easy to see why they’re favored in many disciplines. Their unique and eye-catching coat makes them stand out from the competition.
I used to own a dapple grey horse myself, and I was surprised by some things I didn’t realize before becoming an owner.
How common are they, and what factors determine their unique coloration? Well, the dapple grey coat features lighter hair patterns that usually appear as star shapes or circles across their bodies.
While you can find this coloring across several breeds—Andalusians, Percherons, Thoroughbreds, Lipizzans, Connemaras, and Welsh Ponies, to name a few—not every grey horse will display this stunning pattern.
Age, genetics, and health are crucial in determining whether a horse will become a dapple grey.
Why read on? To quickly learn cool facts about dapple grey horses! We’ve got photos, a breed list, and more, all at the end. If you’re captivated by these stunning horses like I am, keep reading for new insights!
21 Dapple Grey Horse Facts
Fact 1: A dapple grey horse can start out as any base coat color.
Fact 2: Dapple grey horses are not born dapple grey. Foals are born as their base coat color.
Fact 3: A dapple grey has to get a dominant grey gene to become that gorgeous color. This gene makes their hair turn white over time.
Fact 4: Grey yearlings start getting lighter hairs around their muzzle, eyes, and legs as they begin greying.
Fact 5: Not all grey horses will go through the dapple grey stage.
Fact 6: The dapple grey coat is the second stage coat in the greying process.
Fact 7: The dapple grey stage most commonly occurs between the ages of 3 years old to 12 years old. But it can occur younger and older than this range.
Fact 8: Dapples are typically most noticeable and prominent around 3-4 years old.
Fact 9: There are two main types of dapples – true dapples and bloom dapples. True dapples are caused by genetics and are present continuously during the greying process. Bloom dapples are temporary and come and go based on the horse’s diet and health.
Fact 10: A dapple grey horse has a pattern of darker rings over a lighter grey coat.
Fact 11: The dapples, which are circular patches surrounding the grey, white hairs, are the color of the horse’s base coat color.
Fact 12: More study needs to be done on how the dappling occurs, but it has been hypothesized that there is a deactivation of the dominant grey gene that allows the rings to form.
Fact 13: With each shedding of the coat, the dapple grey horse will get lighter.
Fact 14: The dapple grey horse will not keep their beautiful coat forever. Very rarely, some horses keep their dapple coat throughout life.
Fact 15: The dapple grey coat lightens as the horse ages until the dapples are gone.
Fact 16: Different horses, breeds, locations will go through the greying process at different rates.
Fact 17: Some dapple grey horses will end up with an almost all-white coat, whereas other dapple greys will become a flea-bitten grey color.
Fact 18: Dapple greys have black skin under their coats, not pink like white horses.
Fact 19: Famous dapple greys include George Washington’s horse Blueskin and Snowman the ex-plow horse show jumper. Their memorable coats made them iconic!
Fact 20: According to a 2008 Swedish study, all grey horses share a common ancestor from around 500 AD originating in medieval England.
Fact 21: One theory suggests dapples help camouflage greying horses in the transition between base and white coats.
Horse Breeds That Have Dapple Greys
Grey specifically dapple grey is a common color among most of the horse breeds. In some pony and horse breeds the color grey can be more prevalent than in other breeds.
Common breeds with a large majority of grey horses include:
- Welsh Pony
- Welsh Cob
- Spanish Norman
- Mangalarga Marchador
- Irish Sport Horse
- Irish Draught
- Orlov Horse
- Oldenburg Horse
- Poitevin Horse
- Camargue Horse
- Carthusian Horse
But there are many other posts online that talk about the different horses that come in the color grey. So I thought you might also like to know horse breeds that don’t get the dapple grey coloring.
Breeds that don’t commonly have dapple grey:
- Fells Pony
- Exmoor Pony
- Black Forest Horse
- Pony’s Of The Americas
Health Implications-Grey horses, especially older ones, are prone to melanomas – benign tumors that can form under their tail, around their eyes, and internally. Yearly vet checks are crucial to monitor for melanomas in greying and grey horses. The grey coat color is linked to a mutation that affects melanoma prevalence.
Dapple Grey Resources
Here are some resources for those who have, are getting, or just love dapple grey horses. Feel free to share down in the comments any other dapple grey resources you think others will like.
Products For Dapple Grey Horses
Here are some products to help with the care of your dapple grey horse!
Silver Horse Supplement
I recently came across an interesting product that caught my eye—Silver Horse Supplement by Cheval International. It’s designed to bring out the natural beauty in grey and dappled horses, making those dapples really pop! Plus, it’s a 2-in-1 supplement, aiming not just to enhance the coat but also support joint health.
What’s in it? Ingredients range from Western South Dakota Wheat Grass and seaweeds to Turmeric and CoQ10. All organically grown and GMO-free.
Just a heads-up, I’m not affiliated with Cheval International in any way. I just found this product intriguing and thought some of you might be interested! 🌟
HAAS Schimmel Brush
I found this nifty tool called the HAAS Schimmel Brush, designed just for grey and white coats. What makes it special? It’s made with strong coconut fibers that are ace at removing stubborn stains.
Beyond that, it’s designed with hygiene in mind—fully washable, water-resistant, and long-lasting. Best part? It has an inserted hand strap for easy handling. 🙌
Just to be clear, I’m not affiliated with HAAS or any retailers. Just sharing what could be your next favorite grooming tool!
Dapple Grey Horse Names
I found this blog post with dozens of name ideas for grey horses.
There is a section specifically for dapple grey horse names, but there are many different sections that are relevant if you are trying to name a dapple grey horse.
Just remember when you go to name your horse they won’t stay dapple grey forever… tear.
Also if you want to have fun choosing your new horse’s name I have the horsey name game printable, which you can get in my resource library or you can sign up to receive for free at the bottom of this post.
Here is the blog post link for the grey horse names:
Colors That Look Good On A Dapple Grey
Dapple grey looks good with pretty much any color. The colors I am listing below are what I believe look great on a dapple grey or grey horse.
- Royal Blue
- Navy Blue
- Lime Green
- Forest Green
- Mint Green
- Hot Pink
- Rose Pink
Want to choose for yourself for what looks good on a dapple grey horse?
If you haven’t done it before I think your going to have fun!
There is this website that has a horse doll maker.
You can choose your horses coat, mane and tail color and then dress the horse up with different colored tack, saddle pads, polo wraps and ear bonnets. They have different pages for different doll makers.
Go try it out and have fun! It is called snafflez.com
Answer The Poll Below!
Dapple Grey Progression Pictures
Would you like to share with us pictures of your dapple grey’s greying progression and have them featured right here?
Email me at kacey@sparklesrainbowsandunicorns with your name, your horses name and at least one before and after picture.
If you can remember the horse’s rough age for each picture that would also be interesting for all of us to know!
Dapple greys are a beautiful color of horse.
If only they would stay dapple grey. I mentioned I owned a dapple grey. I bought him at 8 years old and my friend owns him now, in which he is 18 years old roughly. It seems he went from dapple grey almost directly to fleabitten grey with not much time in between.
With that said we get to see the grey horse go through different seasons of color in their lives and the length of time in each color season can all depend on the individual horse.
I guess if you like change then the different shades a grey goes through wouldn’t bother you too much.
Hopefully you learned something new about dapple greys and maybe enjoyed yourself. 🙂
P.S. Here is the horsey name game I mentioned above. Have fun!
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