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Champagne (Dilution factor Horse)

The Champagne mutation lightens the coat, mane and tail of the horse (dilution). Less colour pigments are produced and the base colour appears faded. Depending on the base colour of the horse, different champagne shades appear: Classic Champagne (black), Gold Champagne (chestnut), Amber Champagne (bay).

One copy of the gene is sufficient (Ch/n or Ch/Ch) to trigger the dilution of the coat colour. It can easily be confused with other dilution factors and occur in combination with those e.g. with cream dilution.


Genetic Test: available in Shop

Also in the Dilution package

General Information

  • This mutation will cause coat, mane and tail to be lighter in color than usual (dilution) because the melanocytes produce less pigment.
  • Different shades of the Champagne dilution are possible, depending on the base colour of a horse: 'Classic Champagne' (black base colour), 'Gold Champagne' (chestnut base colour), 'Amber Champagne' (bay base colour).
  • Champagne may occur in combination with other dilution factors, and is sometimes confused with the Cream dilution.
  • Foals with the champagne dilution have pink or “pumpkin” colored skin, and often show mottling or freckles around the eyes and muzzle.
  • Champagne is a relatively “new” mutation that originates in North America.  It is therefore mainly found in American breeds (e.g. Quarter Horses, Tennessee Walking Horses, Saddlebreds, etc.). 
  • It is only found in breeds of non-American origin through cross-breeding.

Test Information

Locus Informationen: CH-Locus


This tests detects the single basepair change in Exon 2 of the SLC36A1 gene.


Test in Shop

Genotype and Lab Report

Inheritance: autosomal-dominant

→ Horses with one or two copies of this variant (Ch/n or Ch/Ch) will have a diluted coat colour.




n/n = No copy of the Ch-variant

No Champagne dilution.


Ch/n = One copy of the Ch-variant

The horse shows the diluted coat colour. Depending on the base colour, the horse will be 'Classic Champagne' (black), 'Gold Champagne' (chestnut) or 'Amber Champagne' (bay).


Ch/Ch = Two copies of the Ch-variant

The horse shows the same phenotype as horses with only one copy of the variant.


Amber Champagne


A bay horse lightened by the Ch variant.

One can see the shiny coat and the distinctive pink/pumpkin skin and freckling/mottling on the skin around the eyes and muzzle.


Ch/n oder Ch/Ch


Cook, D., Brooks, S., Bellone, R., Bailey, E.: Missense mutation in exon 2 of SLC36A1 responsible for champange dilution in horses. PLoS Genet 4:e1000195, 2008. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000195


Further information is available at Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals.

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