Coat Coloration

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Coat Coloration


the color of an animal’s hair, determined by the pigmentation of the skin and integuments (hair, wool, and bristles).

In wild animals, coloring is adaptive and usually consistent for a given species, with insignificant individual deviations. The term “coloration” cannot, therefore, be applied to wild animals. In domestic animals, coloration has largely lost its adaptive value. Many breeds of farm animals (for example, merino and Romanov sheep, Large White swine) have a particular, fairly standard color, for which the animals have been selected and bred over a long period of time. In such breeds, color is an important criterion of pedigree. Color is economically important in karakul and fine-fleeced sheep breeding, rabbit breeding, and fur farming, since (together with other qualities) it determines the value of the pelt, fur, or wool. The colors of horses are the most varied, and they often have specific names that differ from the common names of the colors. For example, a cinnamon brown horse with black legs, mane, and tail is described as bay; a sandy yellow horse with black legs, mane, and tail is called dun; a horse with a black trunk, head, and legs, and reddish yellow markings at the tip of the muzzle, around the eyes, and under the belly is called dark bay; and a horse with black or cinnamon spots on a white body or with white spots on a dark body is referred to as dappled. At birth, colts are generally darker than older horses. Small markings may be found on the head and legs of horses of all colors. The ability to distinguish and describe coloration accurately is important in preparing zootechnical documents on animals.


Kniga o loshadi, vol. 1. Edited by S. M. Budennyi. Moscow, 1952.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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