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Pinto (the tobiano gene).

English: Skewbald, tobiano, piebald, pinto.

German:  Schecke.

Swedish: Skäck.

Danish:  Broget.

Icelandic:  Skjóttur.

DescriptionThe horse has a bodycolor with big white spots, always with socks. The back can have white spots, usually there is a white spot going over the withers.  The base color can be any of the occurring horse colors, the tobiano gene controls the white spots.  The white area can be so widespread that just the head and the tail are colored, or the white area can be so small that the horse only shows white socks and a few white hairs on the withers, and everything in between.

Some genetics: The tobiano gene is dominant, so 50 % of the offspring of a tobiano horse should on average become tobiano.  The gene has the letters To.

Foal color: You can see right from the start whether the foal is pinto or not, the white spots can be seen already on the newborn foal.

A rather newborn bay pinto foal, Tildra from Langhúsum.

© Lukka.

Pictures with examples of horses that are pinto, with different base colors:

Click on the pictures to see them bigger.

Black and white pinto (brúnskjóttur):

Some typical black pintos:

© Lukka.
© Lukka.
© Lukka.
Black pinto with a “washed out” spot, this sometimes happen because of some genetical coincidences.
© Lukka.
This mare has very pretty face markings.  Such rough edges between the white and black patches (in body or in face) are not common. Blazes are rare on black horses, which is why you seldom see a blaze on a black and white tobiano. Irregular white spots on the face like on this mare are a rare treat. 
©Lukka.
©Lukka.
Another sweet treat:
© Lukka.
Chestnut pinto (rauðskjóttur):
Some typical medium chestnut pintos:
© Lukka.
© Lukka.
A light chestnut pinto:
©Tim Kvick
© Tim Kvick.
A minimal chestnut pinto. The foal looks like a chestnut, exept for the tiny spot on the withers, and four socks:
© Dawn Shaw.
A chestnut pinto splash white, a typical chestnut pinto, and a chestnut pinto roan together:
© Lukka.
Bay pinto (jarpskjóttur):
Medium bay pinto (blod bay pinto):
© Lukka.
Extremely dark bay pinto mare:
© Catharina Hedsäter.
Medium bay pinto (Kátína from Langhúsum):
© Lukka.

A light blue dun pinto (mósaskjóttur), showing the two-colored mane and stripe on the back of the blue dun gene, and the socks and spots of the tobiano gene.:

A ligth blue dun pinto (mósaskjóttur), showing the two-colored mane and stripe on the back of the blue dun gene, and the socks and spots of the tobiano gene.:

©Lukka.

A red dun pinto (bleikskjóttur):

©Lukka.

A bay dun pinto:

© Lukka.

Black roan pinto in summer coat (brúnlitföróttskjóttur) – Hersing from Langhúsum:
© Lukka.
Same black roan pinto mare in winter coat (the spots come and go depending on the time of the year):
© Lukka.
A bay roan pinto:
© Lukka.
Palomino pinto (ljósaskjóttur):
© Lukka.
© Lukka.
The palomino spots often get lighter in the winter coat, almost vanishing, and then returning with the golden shine in the summer time:
© Lukka.
Grey pinto (gráskjóttur):
A grey pinto is born in some regular pinto color, and then the spots become lighter as the horse grows older.  This horse became white later, as all grey pintos do:
© Lukka.
Another grey pinto:
Smoky black pinto (móbrúnskjóttur):
This mare is smoky black pinto.
© Linda Bergström.
Silver dapple pinto (vindskjóttur, vindóttskjóttur, móvindóttskjóttur):
© Lukka.
© Lukka.
© Lukka.
© Lukka.
A silver dapple, heterozygous splash, pinto:
© Lukka.
Minimal and maximal tobiano:
A horse can be what is called minimal tobiano. An icelandic does hardly ever have 4 socks without having the tobiano gene… and an icelandic hardly ever has the tobiano gene without having 4 socks. Sometimes horses have socks and hardly a spot on the body above the feet. If such a horse is bred, it can be a surprice to the owner when the foal is a loud pinto. In those rare cases where a horse is with 4 socks and not tobiano, it is usually a splash white, or a splash white carrier.
A rather minimal pinto, with socks and a small spot on the withers:
© Lukka.
An extremely minimal pinto, with white socks, and 5 white hairs on the withers (too small to be seen on the photo) – Æska from Langhúsum:
© Lukka.
On the other extreme end of the scale is a pattern like this, which is a very maximal tobiano, only leaving some color on the loin and head.  In rare incidents the horse is totally which with just color on the ears and forelock, that is though a combination of splash white and tobiano. – Óskadís from Langhúsum:
© Lukka.
A maximal chestnut pinto foal, with his grey pinto mother (old enough on the picture to be totally white):
© Lukka.

Ink spots (hrafnaspark):
Small spots on the big white areas, looking like some small animal with dirty feet has walked on the white spots, these spots are called ink spots.  These markings are an indication, it’s higly likely this horse is homozygous for pinto (so all it’s offspring will become pinto).   But, horses can have some markings similar to ink spots without having two pinto parents (then the horse can’t be homozygous), and horses can be homozygous pinto without having any ink spots.  
© Lukka.
© Susanne K. Möller.
Very loud ink spots:
© Lukka.
Mosaic pattern.
  • A unique horse, Miljón from Grund. Her color is chestnut and black, forming a pinto pattern. The color of Milljon is a coincidental genetic pattern not reproducable (has been observed in other icelandic horses), her babies have not had this color. It is called mosaic pattern.  The reason is that when her mother was pregnant, she has been carrying twins, that merged together into one foetus (foal).  So, the originally two foals (one chestnut and one black) melted into creating this chestnut and black mare.  Nature can be amazing at times.