I've heard the term Appaloosa applied to a wide range of horses and even to describe colour.

What does the word "Appaloosa" mean? Is Appaloosa a colour?

1 Answer 1


Appaloosa is a breed of horse originating from America.

It's commonly known for its spotty coat colours. However, there are other requirements for a registered Appaloosa:

  • White sclera
  • Mottled skin (most notably around the mouth,eyes, genitalia and anus)
  • Have a height between 14-16hh
  • Striped hooves

My Appaloosa in the image below displays the white sclera, mottled lips (and around the eye) She currently stands at 14.3hh and has striped hooves (not shown)

enter image description here

Appaloosas regularly carry what's known as the leopard-complex or LP gene which is a unique group of spotting patterns. This is a white marking overlaying a base coat. Thus, an Appaloosa displaying a leopard spot pattern with black spots actually has a black base coat with a large white marking, not the other way around.

As Appaloosa is a breed, not a colouring, it is possible to have a solid colour Appaloosa. If one LP allele is carried, then the horse will show the breed standard characteristics even if it's a solid colour (white sclera, mottled points, etc.).

A horse can have markings similar to an Appaloosa horse. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are in fact an Appaloosa. It's very common to use the breed name to identify any kind of "spotty" horse, even though there are other naturally spotted horses such as the Knabstrupper horse.


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