The Champagne Gene

The champagne gene is a dominant dilution gene, first documented worldwide in 1996 by Dr. Philip Sponenberg, Ph.D., and Dr. Ann Bowling, Ph.D. While the champagne gene did exist prior to this, it was often misidentified. Many champagnes were mistakenly called "pumpkin-skinned palominos" due to their mottled skin and golden coloration. However, the champagne gene is distinctly separate from the cream gene (palomino, buckskin, etc.) and the dun gene (grullo, dun, etc.).

Many champagnes were mistakenly called "albinos" because their bright blue eyes and pink skin at birth. However, albinism is not common in horses. In fact, there has never been a documented case of a true albino horse.

In addition to the bright blue eyes that later change to hazel or gold, and the pink skin that mottles with age, the champagne gene effects the coat color pigments. The gene causes red pigment to be diluted to gold, and black pigment to be diluted to chocolate.

See our "research" section for more information and articles published about the gene and horses carrying it.

In 2008, researchers at the University of Kentucky successfully mapped the champagne gene. A genetic test is now available!

Copyright 2005 CHBOA. All rights reserved.