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Dun Color Horses: Interesting Facts and Pictures

Dean Eby

Majestic and unique, dun horses have a distinctly wild appearance. Their beautiful coloration is caused by a dilution gene that lightens the body color without lightening the legs, ears, mane, tail, and often the head. Duns aren’t a breed of their own. Almost any breed can be dun-colored, though some of the most common are Mustangs, American Quarter Horses, and Highland Ponies.


Dun Features

Certain features immediately differentiate a true dun from other types of horses, even though certain colorations like buckskin seem pretty similar at first glance.

Dorsal Stripe

dun horse dorsal
Credit: Augenstern, Shuttertstock

All duns have a dark dorsal stripe that runs down the middle of their back. This stripe can sometimes extend all the way into the tail.

Zebra Stripe Legs

dun horse zebra stripe leg
Wikimedia Commons

One of the most unique features shared by some dun horses is zebra-like stripes on the legs. All duns have dark markings on their legs, but they don’t all have zebra stripes.

Face Masks

dun horse face mask
Credit: Pictries, Shutterstock

Sometimes, the gene that lightens the body color of dun horses doesn’t extend to the face, leaving it the darker color of the points and legs. This can cover all or some of the face.

Black Points

dun colored horse_Shutterstock_Julia Siomuha
Image Credit: Julia Siomuha, Shutterstock

Duns have black points on their lower legs and around their ears.


Different Duns

The dun gene only affects the genes for black and red coats, so there are two main types of dun horses.

Classic Dun

dun colored horse
Image Credit: Elya Vatel, Shutterstock

The base color of a classic dun is bay, allowing them to vary in hue from a light tan to a darker brown. All the points are black on a classic dun.

Red Dun

red dun horse
Wikimedia Commons

Red duns have no black points because of their sorrel base color. They still have the standard striping that you’ll find on classic duns.



With dark points, manes, tails, and lighter bodies, duns are one of the most unique-looking members of the equine family. They’re only a color breed since dun colorations can appear in many horse breeds. Still, their distinct features make them easily recognizable and they’re the image that many people see when they think of wild horses.

See: Can Horses See in The Dark?

Featured Image: Olga_i, Shutterstock

Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan.  He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning.  An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.