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grey mare-color genetics?

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  • grey mare-color genetics?

    Okay so I'm sure there are threads about this but I've never ventured to this part of the forum before.

    I am thinking about breeding my grey thoroughbred mare. I don't have a ton of experience in color genetics (and I know it can vary with which coat color she started out with, and I'm not 100% positive on that actually). But, as much as I love that my horse is grey, what are the odds of being able to breed for a baby that won't grey out.

    I'm sure there are certain stallion colors to breed to that are more dominant and may help over ride the grey, or be more predisposed, as well as their history and what colors their parents are etc.

    Any input? Color is not the most important and if I end up with a gray offspring, that's okay, but I would like to know my odds of avoiding it, in case I find a few stallions I really like and one may be better for that than another.

  • #2
    You need to know her parents' colors. If one of them was not gray, then you have a 50/50 shot at any foal she produces turning gray (assuming you aren't breeding to a gray stallion).

    If both parents were gray, she could be homozygous gray, meaning ALL foals will be gray.

    Gray is the dominating cover-up of all colors. There is nothing that will hide gray.

    You don't have less than a 50% chance of producing a gray foal. It's either 50% or 100% from her genetics, or 75% or 100% when breeding to a gray stallion based on his genetics.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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    • #3
      You will have at least a 50% chance of a grey foal regardless of the stallion you breed to. There are no stallions that will override the grey. If your mare is homozygous for grey, you will have a grey foal for sure - you can get her color tested. Obviously if you breed to a grey stallion, your chances of a grey foal get higher. But, again, it does not matter what color the sire is, your mare has a 50/50 chance of passing the grey gene to her foal, unless she is homozygous and then she will pass the gene 100% of the time. The color of the sire or his bloodlines do not matter. Sorry.
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      • Original Poster

        #4
        She's not homozygous-her dad is grey but mom is bay.

        I am assuming if I breed to a grey (both of who's parents were) the 100% holds true.

        Thanks!

        A grey foal is definitely okay with me if it happens.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Wordplay1832 View Post

          I am assuming if I breed to a grey (both of who's parents were) the 100% holds true.
          Nope...not unless the stallion was homozygous for grey. Your mare is heterozygous grey, and if she is is bred to a heterozygous grey, there is a 75% chance of the foal turning grey and 25% chance that it will not inherit the grey gene (of that 75% chance of turning grey...25% is a chance of being homozygous grey). We have a grey mare that we bred to our grey stallion and ended up with a chestnut. (they are both heterozygous grey, so only have a 50% chance of passing the gene on to their offspring)
          www.DaventryEquestrian.com
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          • #6
            Here's how it breaks down:

            Bred to a non-grey stud: 50% chance grey foal

            Bred to a grey stud with one copy of the grey allele: 75% chance grey foal

            Bred to a grey stud with two copies of the grey allele: 100% chance grey foal

            If color is important to you, and you find a stallion that is grey that COULD be homozygous for grey (has two grey parents and no colored foals) you can request to test the stallion. The grey allele test is $25 and only requires a hair sample.

            Grey is finite and nothing else about color will "influence" these odds.

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            • #7
              What is your mares base color?

              Black, bay, chestnut?

              I have had arabs for years and seen alot of the people NOT want grey. When they do NOT want grey they usually breed to a stallion who has a very solid BAY background. And one who produces alot of BAY. Bay seems to be very strong on its coloring. It is a toss up on black, and chestnut. They seem to throw the color up in the air, iow any color can come out. But bay is very strong. Nothing wrong with bay - btw. Also I would choose a bay with very little color pattern ie white on legs and face.

              Pretty much it is a 50-50 chance.

              My current arab gelding had a grey dam and her background very much so varied. I do not know what her base was but I think it was chestnut. The sire is chestnut. Yes, every horse was chestnut on the sire side. Yes, true. Oddly enough. All chestnut.

              My gelding is chestnut. The minute he was born, I knew he was to be always chestnut. Just something you learn after seeing many young arabs over time. I can spot grey easy, pretty much from birth. ;-) My arab is typical to his sire's color combo. Chestnut with a blaze, and 4 tall tall stockings. He is an Aulrab / Aurab bred on the sire side. This is Crabbet breeding.

              Also your mare being a TB is even better in the odds you will not get a grey. Grey is not very dominant in the TB breed. But still, go with a stallion who is known to cookie cutter the bay color no matter what he breeds.

              Good luck. Hope to see YOUR foal here on COTH next year.

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              • #8
                Being a TB has exactly zero to do with this. Gray is gray, regardless of breed. If the horse is gray, he's either heterozygous for it or homozygous for it.

                The OP's mare's parents are gray and not gray, therefore the mare is heterozygous gray.

                The odds of producing a gray foal are no different less because she's a TB and not, say, an Arab.

                It doesn't matter if the stallion is EEAA and always produces bays when bred to black, bay, or chestnut - the gray mare still brings a 50% chance the foal will be gray.

                Gray trumps all, no matter what.
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                • #9
                  Grey is very prominent in the arabian breed. And lots of folks do not want grey these days. OR gray.

                  TB not so prominent.

                  Yes, it comes to genetics.

                  My horse is not grey. His dam was grey.

                  My friends peruvian mare is grey (chestnut based), she bred to a bay peruvian stallion, and her foal was liver, and still is.

                  Grey is as grey does but I don't think it trumps it all.

                  Here is my gelding's pedigree.

                  http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/diamonds+in+xs

                  So how does grey trump all? It didn't in this case. He is chestnut with a blaze and 4 white stocks. Go back on the allbreedpedigree and check out his ancestors pictures on the sire side. The chestnut with stockings, white legs and white face goes way way back.

                  http://i1122.photobucket.com/albums/...d102/RSide.jpg

                  http://i1122.photobucket.com/albums/...d102/LSide.jpg

                  If the OP chooses a stallion with a strong color pattern, she just may very well get a foal NOT grey.

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                  • #10
                    It doesn't matter if gray is more prevalent in Arabs than in TBs.

                    If a horse is gray, the genetics are the same, the odds of passing it on are the same - it's not breed dependent.

                    Gray DOES trump all, but is has to be present. If it's not present, the horse isn't gray, can't become gray, can't be responsible for producing gray.

                    If it's present, the horse IS gray (or will be soon) and has at least a 50% chance of passing it on.

                    Your gelding had a chestnut parent and a gray parent. There was a 50% chance he would have come out gray. No more, no less, (the gray's parents were gray and bay, therefore he was heterozygous gray), and certainly no more or less because he was or wasn't a certain breed. He ended up not getting his dam's gray gene, therefore he isn't gray.

                    Your friend is in the same boat - bred a gray to a bay, obviously the gray mare was only heterozygous gray, therefore a 50/50 shot of passing the gray on, and she didn't; therefore, the foal was not gray.
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                    • #11
                      I know the odds. 50-50.

                      However, grey does not trump *all*. Still 50-50 chance. And not all grey horses turn "white". If there is a grey parent, not *all* foals will be grey.

                      We are all in the same boat when breeding any color.

                      The color on my arab gelding was very strong on the sire side.

                      If I had another grey mare, I would breed to a horse who had zero or very little grey in the pedigree, or when bred to grey, didn't produce it. Still, regardless, it is up to genetics to determine the color. I dislike grey, I have had many many, so I will not be buying or breeding to any grey ever again.

                      Greys in the egyptian lines are very strong. Not so in say the polish, bays are. In the spanish there are greys and bays usually. Russian, chestnut is very dominant. Crabbet, chestnut.

                      Yeah, all a chance. But like I said above, if I had one to breed I would choose a color and stallion who had a VERY strong color dominance, that is if you wanted the best chance to not have grey.

                      I do think it does have to do with the breed. Grey is not a common color in TBs. Arabs, it is. More chance for an arab to be grey, than a TB.

                      My friend with the grey peruvian mare, the year before bred to a blue roan twh. Foal was chestnut grey (she was actually pink) when born, and she is now a very very light grey. As I said before, same grey peruvian mare bred to a bay peruvian, she got a liver, and filly is still liver. She also bred a chestnut roan twh mare, to a bay peruvian (different sire) and she got a blue roan filly. The same chestnut roan twh mare was bred to a black and white pinto twh stallion and she got a 95% white, and 5% bay filly.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rmh_rider View Post
                        However, grey does not trump *all*. Still 50-50 chance.
                        No - re-read what I wrote. If gray is there, that horse WILL be gray.

                        The 50/50 is based on what that horse can pass to its offspring. If the horse is heterozygous gray, Gg, then *each breeding* there is a 50/50 chance the foal will be gray (again assuming a non-gray other parent). Every gene is 2 copies. Every breeding gives a 50/50 chance one or the other of those 2 copies will be passed on.

                        And not all grey horses turn "white".
                        If they live long enough they certainly do

                        If there is a grey parent, not *all* foals will be grey.
                        Never said that - please go back and re-read

                        However, if the gray parent is homozygous gray GG, then yes, ALL foals will be gray, regardless of the gray/non-gray status of the other parent. That's because the only copy of that gene to pass on is G, the "on" for gray, and when G is present, the foal WILL be gray.

                        The color on my arab gelding was very strong on the sire side.
                        What does that mean? His sire was chestnut - absolutely no chance of gray coming from that side. His dam was gray. HER sire was not gray, the dam was. That makes her Gg, heterozygous gray. That means every breeding gives her a 50/50 shot of passing on the G (which would produce a gray foal) or the g (which means a non-gray foal). Your guy got her g, therefore he is not gray.

                        His sire's chestnut "strong color" did not overcome the gray. There WAS no gray given to the foal. The stallion had absolutely nothing to do with the odds of the gray dam passing her G or her g.

                        If I had another grey mare, I would breed to a horse who had zero or very little grey in the pedigree, or when bred to grey, didn't produce it.
                        It doesn't MATTER what's in the pedigree if the horse isn't gray.

                        If the horse IS gray, then you keep looking back. You can have a line FULL of grays and them ALL be heterozygous gray Gg and bam out pops a non-gray foal.

                        Still, regardless, it is up to genetics to determine the color. I dislike grey, I have had many many, so I will not be buying or breeding to any grey ever again.
                        Yes, it IS up to the genetics, and I and simkie and Daventry and quicksilver have explained several times how it works.

                        Greys in the egyptian lines are very strong. Not so in say the polish, bays are. In the spanish there are greys and bays usually. Russian, chestnut is very dominant. Crabbet, chestnut.
                        ALL that means is there are more homozgyous grays in those lines/that breed. Look at Welsh ponies - HUGELY gray population, but there are some non-grays. MUCH more likely to find GG grays in Arabs and Welshes. But that doesn't matter. All that matters is the horses that are bred together. If 2 arabs are not gray, then it doesn't matter if their 10 gen pedigree is gray, they *will not* produce a gray foal when bred together.

                        But like I said above, if I had one to breed I would choose a color and stallion who had a VERY strong color dominance, that is if you wanted the best chance to not have grey.
                        If you don't want gray, don't breed a gray horse, don't breed TO a gray horse. Nothing else matters, not the horse being bay or black or chestnut, not even if the horse comes from 10 generations of black or 10 generations of chestnut. If one parent is gray, there IS at least a 50% chance of gray, regardless.

                        I do think it does have to do with the breed. Grey is not a common color in TBs. Arabs, it is. More chance for an arab to be grey, than a TB.
                        it DOESN'T have to do with breed.

                        Gray is gray. Black is black. Bay is bay. Horse color genetics are the SAME. Gray in a TB is not any different from gray in a Welsh or Arab or Morgan or Shire or any other breed or mix. It's just not. It doesn't matter what you think - the genetics are what the genetics are.
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                        • #13
                          Genetics or not, if it's anything like my grays it will be some form of dirty bay, muddy brown, pinto or green at least 75% of the time!!!!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JB View Post
                            Gray is gray. Black is black. Bay is bay. Horse color genetics are the SAME. Gray in a TB is not any different from gray in a Welsh or Arab or Morgan or Shire or any other breed or mix. It's just not. It doesn't matter what you think - the genetics are what the genetics are.
                            Well said and worth repeating

                            Originally posted by tucktaway View Post
                            Genetics or not, if it's anything like my grays it will be some form of dirty bay, muddy brown, pinto or green at least 75% of the time!!!!
                            This too

                            My grey filly has only just started the process, she she's still far more dark than light. I am really relishing this color while I've got it!

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                            • #15
                              Interesting thread. I fully understand the math behind whether a foal is likely to be gray or not.

                              Here's a question I don't know the answer to: what determines how fast a horse grays out? I know ponies who are snow white at age 3 and some 10+ year olds who are practically still steel gray? Is there a variance in the Gg that determines rate of fade? How about whether they go flea-bitten vs just "white"? Thanks
                              A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ElementFarm View Post
                                Here's a question I don't know the answer to: what determines how fast a horse grays out? I know ponies who are snow white at age 3 and some 10+ year olds who are practically still steel gray? Is there a variance in the Gg that determines rate of fade? How about whether they go flea-bitten vs just "white"? Thanks
                                I believe THAT is very much an unknown. There is some belief that homozygous greys grey out faster than heterozygous greys, and some believe that grey on chestnut based horses may grey out more quickly than grey on bay or black based horses. I am unsure if either of those things has been proven in any way.

                                There must be some genes that modify grey that influence how quickly the horse loses it's color, but they are unknown.

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                                • #17
                                  I think the graying faster if GG is fairly established, though certainly not all individuals do that. I've never heard gray on chestnut vs other colors making a difference though.

                                  Because GG horses tend to gray faster, they are also more prone to melanomas, as that is a result of that melanin transference, which happens faster in those guys.
                                  ______________________________
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by rmh_rider View Post
                                    I do think it does have to do with the breed. Grey is not a common color in TBs. Arabs, it is. More chance for an arab to be grey, than a TB.
                                    JB, she doesn't get it...so I would save your breath


                                    rmh_rider, you are so misinformed on this. Yes, maybe grey is seen less in the TB world than the Arab world...so what? There is absolutely NO CHANCE of an Arab getting the grey gene more or less than a TB because of that. The grey gene works the same in all breeds. You breed to a grey, you have at least a 50% chance of getting a grey. The odds don't increase just because it's an Arabian. Breed a grey Arab (heterozygous), 50% chance of getting a grey foal. Breed to a grey TB (heterozygous), 50% chance of getting a grey foal!

                                    You need to do some Google searching and read a ton of articles...and then come back and discuss color genetics with us.

                                    I'd hate for a newbie to read any of that and think they have a better chance of getting a grey foal if they breed to a stallion just because it is Arabian. Color genetics does not care what breed a horse is.

                                    Originally posted by rmh_rider View Post
                                    More chance for an arab to be grey, than a TB.
                                    Whether you breed to a grey Arabian or a grey Thoroughbred...you still would have the EXACT same chance of getting a grey foal (if both horses were heterozygous grey). Just because the Arabian breed may have more greys in their breed does NOT mean there would be a greater chance of getting a grey foal. This is not rocket science!
                                    Last edited by Daventry; May. 8, 2012, 08:55 PM.
                                    www.DaventryEquestrian.com
                                    Home of Oldenburg, Westphalian & RPSI approved pony stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
                                    Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness www.EquineAppraisers.com

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                                    • #19
                                      Gray is gray no matter the breed. Comohn folks ! Lets stay intelligent here.

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                                      • #20
                                        Where'd she go? I was seriously enjoying this hilarious conversation =D

                                        PS. My purebred Arabian mare is chestnut and she had two GREY parents! shocker! lol Oye, sorry, I'm just being mean, but I did think that'd be a funny little two bits.
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