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Buckskin Breed Description

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Breed Organization

The Buckskin Registry Association, Inc. ABRA

Native Country
United States Of America

Other Names
American Buckskin

Adult Height

Adult Weight

General Description

The modern buckskin, technically a color breed, is actually a descendant from ancient time, his color being an indication of a strong heritage. In the West, horses of the Buckskin, Dun, Red Dun and Grulla hues trace to the Mustang - Spanish Barb descendants which originated in Spain as the Sorraia.

Other Buckskins brought to this country can be traced to the Norwegian Dun, descendants of the nearly extinct Tarpan horses. The flourishing number of Buckskin horses found today are the strongest living descendants of the ancestral breeds. Along with a mixture of other bloods, Buckskins can be found in all breed types.

  • Dun: Dun is an intense color with a hide that has an abundance of pigment in the hairs. The dun color is a duller shade than buckskin and may have a smutty appearance. Most dun horses have dark points of brown or black. Dun horses sport the "dun factor" points which include dorsal and shoulder stripes, leg barring, etc.
  • Grulla: Grulla is also an intense color. The body color can be mouse, blue, dove or slate colored, with dark sepia to black points. Grulla (pronounced grew-yah) has no white hairs mixed in the body hairs. Grulla horses have the dorsal and shoulder stripes, and leg barring.
  • Red Dun: The Red Dun will vary in shades of red, in the range of peach to copper to rich red. In all shades, the accompanying points well be darker red or chestnut and be in contrast to a lighter body color. Red Dun must have a definite dorsal stripe to be eligible. The dorsal stripe will usually be dark red and predominant. Leg barring and shoulder stripes are common. Horses with faint dorsal stripes that do not appear on photos may be denied registration.
  • Brindle Dun: A different and unique body coloration with stripes appearing over the barrel of the body and most, if not all, the dun factor characteristics. Brindle Duns show up in the Netherlands and they are referred to as an ancient dun color. The peculiar body markings can appear in the form of tear drops or zebra stripes.
  • Note: Any horses having Albino, Appaloosa, Paint, or Pinto characteristics are not eligible for registration. Mature horses must be a minimum of 14 hands.

    White Markings And Conformation: White markings on the face and lower leg are acceptable. Blue eyes are permissible providing the body color and conformation is acceptable. The horse should be a good representative of its breed-conformation varies from the Arabian type to the Quarter Horse type. Horses showing draft characteristics or undesirable inherent qualities would not be accepted for registration.


    When The Buckskin Registry Association was founded in 1962, it opened its registry to not only the Buckskin, but also Grulla and Dun colored horses. Also included in the colors accepted is the Red Dun with varying body shades of red, and the Mouse Dun or Coyote Dun, a slate color resembling a salt-and-pepper coloration. Most Buckskins are of Spanish origin, European pony origin, or of America's Norfolk Trotter origin. This is mainly due to the fact that Dun coloration in these bloodlines was not frowned upon as it was with horses that contained Arab background. Any horse that is registered with the ABRA can also be registered in any other breeding association.


    The Buckskin developed a strong reputation as a sturdy working horse in the frontier of the western United States. Highly regarded by the cowboys of the early west, Buckskins were used for pack, harness, and saddle. It is said that Buckskin horses, those of tan or bronze coloring with black points, had the greatest endurance, the surest footing, the hardest hooves, and the greatest stamina. Although those in the old west were known to exaggerate, given a choice a cowboy would almost always choose the Buckskin or Dun horse.


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