Cremello horses are some of the most beautiful and eye-catching equines in the world. Their unique coloring makes them stand out even among similar-looking horses, as Cremellos are incredibly unique and just a delight to look at. Just in case you’re not already aware, a Cremello horse is basically a completely white horse, but keep in mind that Cremello is not a breed but a horse color.
Almost any horse can become Cremello – this is a genetic affection that can affect a great number of horse breeds, including the Quarter Horse, Saddlebred, and Shetland Pony. The base color for Cremello horses is chestnut or red. Two cream dilution genes are responsible for the final white coloring. A Cremello horse has blue eyes, a creamy pale coat, and a pink nose.
It’s been widely established that Cremello horses get their coloring from the color genetics of their dams and sires. Now it’s time to answer some other questions regarding these beautiful horses, including their place in history, other aesthetic elements, and even their price.
What are the chances of a horse being born Cremello?
The Cremello color variation in horses comes down to science and genetics. I’m not going to pretend I’m a scientist here, but what I do know about these horses is that they are born with two cream dilution genes, which makes their color double diluted. For comparison’s sake, a Palomino horse is basically a chestnut with a single cream dilution gene, while a Buckskin is a bay with a single cream dilution gene.
If a breeder were to pair two Palominos together, there would be a 25% chance that the resulting foal would be Cremello. Therefore, breeding these horses is never a sure thing. Actually, it’s more like playing the genetic lottery.
What’s the difference between a Cremello and an Albino horse?
There’s a big difference between Cremello and Albino horses, but it’s not one that can be distinguished at a glance. Let me explain: an Albino horse is a horse born completely white and without any coat pigmentation. Being Albino means there’s an absence of pigment in the horse’s coat.
A Cremello horse has some pigmentation in its coat, which gives it a cream appearance. Some of these foals might actually come into the world with darker coat colors that eventually fade to cream as they mature. Both Cremello and Albino horses have blue eyes and pink noses, but their coat colors are actually quite different.
What’s the difference between a Cremello and a Perlino?
These two horses also share quite a bit when it comes to their coloring and general appearance, but they too are fundamentally different. A Perlino horse distinguishes itself from a Cremello with a darker mane and tail, at least when compared to the rest of its coat color. A Cremello always has a white mane and tail.
Moreover, Perlino horses are actually diluted bays, while Cremellos are diluted chestnuts. In order to breed Perlino horses, breeders use Buckskin horses and hope that the resulting foals will be born with the Perlino gene dilution.
How much does a Cremello cost?
Since Cremello is actually a horse color and not a horse breed, the price of such a horse would mainly be influenced by its breed. These beautiful horses are in high demand, as you can imagine, especially by those who take part in competitions and horse shows. In order to determine the price of a Cremello horse, I did some personal research on a variety of equine selling websites.
What I found was that Cremellos can be quite expensive. A Cremello Standardbred that stands 17.0 hands is sold at stud for no less than $1,200. A Tennessee Walking horse of 15 hands costs $10,000, and I also found a Lusitano mare for $20,000. There are also some cheaper offerings available, such as a Quarter Horse filly that cost $2,700.
Prices for Cremello horses vary wildly depending on their pedigree, age, height, and conformation. What’s clear is that they’re always more expensive when compared to the breed’s standard colors, which makes sense.
Issues with the American Quarter Horse Association.
There was a time when the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) would not allow the registration of Cremello and Perlino Quarter Horses or many other horses with double dilute genetics. This was likely because these horses looked so much different than the breed standard.
Fortunately, the Cremello and Perlino Educational Association went to great lengths to change the AQHA’s mind, and so in 2003 Cremello quarter horses were welcomed into the association’s registries.
Like all horses with very light coat coloring, Cremello horses require special care. This is particularly true for horses that live in arid or very sunny environments, as their exposed pinkish skin is at great risk of sunburn and other skin conditions. Caring for such a horse is a big commitment and not one to be taken lightly.
A Cremello horse will likely need sunscreen applications and it might not be a bad idea for it to wear sun sheets or UV-blocking masks during the hot months of the year. If you would like to learn more about preventing sunburn in horses, just have a look at this article that I wrote specifically on the subject.
Cremello horses are beautiful and unique in their appearance. They are often mistaken for Albino horses or Perlinos, but this coloring has its own characteristics and genetic properties. Horses from all breeds can become Cremello, but some breeds have a much higher chance of doing a cream-like coat.
Today, many breeders work tirelessly to create Cremello horses. Some want to sell them for a profit, while others keep them for their own needs. I never owned a Cremello horse myself but I have spent time with one at a nearby ranch when I was younger. Pictures are nice, but seeing such a horse in person is a truly breathtaking experience.