Perfection's Champagne Callallily, owned by Kathy Hill
Callie was genetically tested and is a Classic Champagne

Champagne is a one of the DILUTION GENES similar Creme, Dun, Pearl & Silver Dapples. It lightens the coat as well as skin and eye color.  It acts as a simple Dominant. If another dilution gene, such as Creme, are also carried by a horse, the result will be a heightened dilution, similar to the action of a double dose of creme, such as is seen with the American Cream Draft Horse:

Here are a few a good websites devoted to Champagne horses:

Champagne's Key Characteristics: 

  • pumpkin/pinkish skin that is 'freckled' or mottled with dark purplish spots.

  • bronze/gold cast to the hair coat; metallic sheen

  • Eyes that are light blue at birth but change to very light amber, greenish, bluish, or even a 'normal' brown shade 

  • foal coat color that starts darker and sheds to a lighter color as they mature. 

  • Both Gold and Amber expressions of the Champagne gene often fade to look very much like Creme (palomino & buckskin) with age. 

Photos: "Tarnished Champagne" owned by Katy Bowen-Brazell

A Champagne horse must have at least one Champagne parent. Their foal coats are usually darker in color than their adult coats - the opposite of most other colors. Champagnes are born with bright pink skin and bright blue eyes that take a long time to change, but usually become hazel or amber by adulthood.* As adults, the skin may still retain its pumpkin-with-purple freckling, but other colors can mimic this, and some champagnes darken to fairly ordinary colored skin in adulthood.

Golden Champagne quarter horse at Back Country Horsemen Rendezvous, Madera, CA 2002


Sometimes a horse looks like it might be a champagne but is really something else. A particularly confusing situation is when horses carry multiple types of dilutions, such as creme and silver dapples or dun and silver dapples. for photos and more discussion of champagne and champagne look-alikes

Click here for a more complete explanation of Champagne or Here
Original Champagne Horses Website

Champagne looks a lot like Palomino, Buckskin and Cremello, but differs in some definite ways.


Animal Genetics Inc. will begin offering a new genetic DNA test for Champagne Dilution in horses. Our test will give individuals the ability to identify horses that carry a single copy of the mutation (Heterozygous or CH/ch) or two copies of the mutation (Homozygous CH/CH). We can also identify those horses, which do not carry the mutation (Homozygous negative ch/ch). Studies showed that unlike Cream Dilution the hair pigmentation in of horses with Champagne Dilution do not differ between heterozygous and homozygous.

Thus far, We have documented Champagne in Quarter Horse, Tennessee Walker, American Saddlebred, Missouri Fox Trotter as well as Miniature Horses.

Cost is $25.00 and results are generally available by email or through our site in 2-3 days.

For additional information please contact Animal Genetics at:

Toll Free: 1-866-922-6436
Outside the U.S.: 1-850-386-2973
Fax: 1-850-386-1146



is often mistaken for grullo, as it is a similarly diluted black coat. But champagne has no stripes or undiluted black face

Classic = champagne on Black;
photo from "1Rainbowhorses" Yahoo discussion group

Classic Champagne

This is Cathy Hill's FT mare, Callie, who was genetically tested as Classic Champagne. 

Gold = champagne gene on Sorrel. (looks sort of like a metallic palomino)

(black + agouti)
Ginger Rex's CapuccinoSpirit
Wasilla Alaska


Amber = champagne on Bay  Looks much like buckskin - but the eyes,  skin, and chocolate points give it away!

Lots more pics, and clear explanations HERE

owned by Ginger Rex


Although "Brown" is not a "Basic Color" and can come about in a variety of ways genetically, the International  Champagne Registry considers it a base color for naming purposes





Champagne can, and does, appear with other color genes on the same horse. New definitions make it easy. Just add the other gene and the champagne color (i.e. "Amber Silver" or "Gold Cream" or "Classic Dun") - no more fancy, confusing terms like "ivory"


Pony owned by Cathy Hill


Champagne Information
- from HORSE GENETICS by the late Ann T. Bowling

"Champagne foals are born a smoky gray with blue eyes and pinkish gray skin. As the foals age, the eyes darken to hazel or brown, but the skin and coat remain light and distinctive.

The color trait is inherited as a dominant. It resembles the palomino/ buckskin dilution effect but is probably due to a different gene. From its phenotype it does not seem to be an allele of dun or silver dapple, but those possibilities and their combinations with this gene remain to be identified. We also have no information about the color of homozygotes. Champagne may be the same color as globrunn in Icelandic horses and lilac dun in other ponies."

(HORSE GENETICS, copyright 1997 CAB International, ISBN# 0-85199-101-7) The above was written in 1997. A lot more is known now! Champagne is now a recognized gene that can be tested.


American Cream Draft Horses are Champagne:

Draft Horse Classic, Grass Valley, CA, 2001

They occur in both Gold Cream and Double Cream versions.


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