Champagne Dilution

The Champagne gene is a recently discovered dominant gene that has the ability to dilute both black and red pigment. Champagne has visual characteristics that differ from cream, pearl and dun dilutions. Some common characteristics of a champagne horse are: pink skin, dark freckles especially around the eyes and on the muzzle, a shiny coat that is often slightly darker in the winter and eye color that will go through a number of color changes starting blue and evolving to a hazel or amber color. It is possible for a horse to have several dilution genes in which a combination of the dilutive affect will be seen. Champagne has been documented in the Quarter Horse, Tennessee Walker, American Saddlebred, Missouri Fox Trotter, Miniature Horses and several other breeds.

Base colour interaction of Champagne Dilution:
Classic Champagne: Uniform Black horses (excluding Bay) are diluted to Classic Champagne, this involves the lightening of all body pigmentation to a pale-black colour.

Gold Champagne: Chestnut/Sorrel based horses are diluted to Gold. Full coat modification occurs leading to uniform dilution of the body, additionally the Gold horse will often have a flaxen mane and tail. They are visually similar to Chestnut-based horses modified by the Cream gene (Palominos).

Amber Champagne: Bay horses carrying Champagne dilution are designated Amber, unlike coat dilutions that only work upon Black Pigment, the Champagne will dilute the whole coat of the bay horse. Amber Champagnes are sometimes referred to as Amber Buckskins.

Animal Genetics offers testing for the dominant Champagne gene-mutation. DNA testing may be useful in cases whereby a horse has previously tested Negative for Cream or Silver Dilutions, but appears to have a lightened-coat. Testing is also used to determine Homozygosity of the Champagne gene.


Test Results:
Animal Genetics offers DNA testing for the Champagne gene. The genetic test verifies the presence of the Champagne mutation and presents results as one of the following:

Ch/Ch Champagne Positive for dominant Champagne gene, possessing two inherited copies. Coat will be diluted accordingly, will pass Champagne gene to all foals regardless of mate.
Ch/n Champagne Positive for dominant Champagne gene, possessing one inherited copy. Coat will be diluted accordingly, will pass Champagne gene to approximately 50% of foals when bred.
n/n Negative Non-Champagne horse.

To Submit a Sample For Testing:
Please download a submission form, or order canine sample collection kits at Test Now.

Mail samples to:
Animal Genetics UK,
PO BOX 107, Truro,
Cornwall, England.
TR1 2YR.

Animal Genetics UK
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Pearl Dilution
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Champagne Dilution
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Roan Zygosity


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