Classic Appaloosa Characteristics

Conformation (size, proportion, substance) and Color...

The Appaloosa Model Horse

The Classic Appaloosa is of average size (14 hands minimum). We prefer a horse of about 15 hands. The conformation is one of balance and ability. The top line is level, with well-defined withers and a short to medium length back. The bottom line is long and the chest deep. The croup tends toward level rather than steeply dropped, and the tail is set high. Legs have good substance and the hooves are of good size, hard and durable. The pasterns are set at about a 45-50 degree angle and match the slope of the shoulder. The neck ties high into the body and is of average length. The head is refined, but not overly small. The overall appearance is one of balance and the horse is well muscled, but smooth and not bulky.


Appaloosas have several traits which taken together are unique to the breed. These include mottled skin, stripped hooves, white sclera around the eyes, and of course the distinctive appaloosa coat patterns. While it is not necessary for an Appaloosa to have all of these traits, most Appaloosas will display them.


 Coat Patterns

The coat patterns consist of several basic types:

1. Blanket
is the classic Appaloosa coat pattern. This is a dark background and a white area over the hips (possibly extending over the back also), with spots of the base color throughout the white "blanket".
2. Snowcap or "White Blanket"
is typically a dark background with a large white "blanket" having no spots. This pattern has been associated with horses that are homozygous for "Appaloosa Color" (100% color producers).
3. Frosted Tip
is a dark background with light colored or white spots over the loin and hips.
4. Marble (or "Appaloosa Roan")
is perhaps more common in mares. White hairs intermix throughout the base color, giving a salt and pepper mixture appearance. The horse is often born nearly solid in color and then gains more and more intermixed white hair as it ages.
5. Snowflake
is an all-over dark "background", with white spots or flakes over this base color.
6. Leopard
is white with spots scattered over the entire body.
7. Fewspot
is white with a (very) few small spots of another color. This pattern has also been associated with horses that are homozygous for "Appaloosa Color" (100% color producers).

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Last updated 4/11/2011. Stay tuned - more updates are coming

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