Unusual and beautiful with a pinch of a majestic appearance, the Cremello horse has a cream color with no markings and a white mane and tail. Blue eyes and pink skin are also a physical trait of Cremello horses. They almost look like they galloped right out of a fairytale, don’t they?
Is Cremello a Color or a Breed?
Cremello is actually just a color and can be found in any breed. The color results from the color genetics of the dam and sire. The most common breeds to find the unique coloring are Quarter Horses, Shetland Ponies, Draft Horses, and Saddlebreds just to name a few. The base color of a Cremello is actually red or chestnut. Two cream dilution genes on a chestnut horse (double diluted) are responsible for the unique color. It all comes down to genetics and base colors. Palominos are chestnuts with one cream dilution gene and a Buckskin is a bay with a cream dilution gene. A Cremello has two cream dilution genes, making them double diluted. Remember Punnet Squares back in Biology class? By breeding two Palominos together, there is a 25% chance the foal will have both cream genes resulting in a Cremello color!
Close to the Cremello color, a Perlino horse has a bay base color instead. Perlinos have the cream-colored coat, but instead of a white mane and tail, theirs is darker than their coat color. Perlino horses still have pink skin and blue eyes. Instead of breeding Palamino horses, Buckskin horses are used in the hopes of having a Perlino horse, resulting in a double dilute color of a bay horse.
Now that we have had a crash course and refresher on biology and genetics, here are a couple of interesting facts about Cremello horses:
Confused with Albino
Many people try to call a Cremello horse an albino horse because of their appearance. Indeed, their blue eyes, pale coat, and pink noses make them look that way, but albino horses are born white and have no pigment. Cremellos may appear white, but when compared to a white horse, it is obvious they are a cream color. Cremello foals are also born of with blue eyes and of a darker color usually, and fade to the light cream.
Shunned by AQHA
For the longest time, a Cremello and Perlino Quarter Horse or horses of double dilute were not able to be registered by AQHA. With the help of Cremello and Perlino Educational Association, the AQHA withdrew their rule about registering Cremello horses in 2003. Today, there are people across the world breeding these horses just for the color itself.
Cremello horses are a science. The reasoning behind their unique color is interesting and the result of their genetics is that of a majestic looking horse with gorgeous blue eyes. Now that you have an understanding of where a Cremello horse comes from, the next time you hear someone call a horse albino, you have the information you need to stop them in their tracks!
About the Author
Dani Buckley is a small-town resident in Montana. She is a veterinary technician manager and mom of eight four-legged kids – 5 dogs, 1 cat, and 2 horses. When she moved back home to Montana, her horses and her dogs moved with her (Carbon and Milo). The pack grew by three when she moved in with her boyfriend, Cody. Altogether there is a German Shepard (Lupay), a Border Collie (Missy), a Blue Heeler (Taz) and her two adorable mutts.
Her horses are her free time passion – Squaw and Tulsa. Dani has owned Squaw for 17 years and this mare has made 2 trips across the country with Dani! Squaw is a retired rodeo and cow horse. Her other mare, Tulsa, is an upcoming ranch horse. The girls have an unmatched personality and bond with Dani. She has been around horses her entire life and rodeoed throughout highschool and beyond. Now, she enjoys riding on the ranch, working cattle and trail riding.