Akhal-Teke Horse Coat Colors: Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Akhal-Teke Horse Coat Colors! If you’re a horse enthusiast or simply curious about the magnificent Akhal-Teke breed, this article is for you. We’ll dive into the various coat colors and patterns of these stunning horses, providing you with all the information you need to know. So, let’s get started!

Origin and History

buckskin akhal teke stallion in a bridle standing outdoors

Turkmenistan and Akhal Oasis

The Akhal-Teke horse breed has a deep-rooted history, with its origin tracing back over 3,000 years to Turkmenistan, a region in Central Asia. This area is known for its harsh climate, including the arid Karakum Desert, which covers a vast portion of the country. Among the desert landscapes, you can find the Akhal Oasis, surrounded by the stunning Kopet Dag Mountains. This oasis played a crucial role in the development and endurance of the Akhal-Teke breed, as the horses adapted to the extreme environmental conditions.

Turkoman Horse

The Akhal-Teke breed descends from the ancient Turkoman horse, which is one of the oldest horse breeds in the world. This bloodline has been carefully preserved over centuries, forming the foundation for the unique and versatile Akhal-Teke breed we know today. The Akhal-Teke horses are famous for their speed, endurance, intelligence, and stunning metallic sheen, a feature that has earned them the nickname “Golden Horses.”

Influence of Arabian and Thoroughbred Blood

Throughout history, the Akhal-Teke breed has encountered influences from other remarkable horse breeds, such as the Arabian and Thoroughbred bloodlines. The ancient Nisean horse, once a massive and powerful breed employed in Chinese cavalry, also played a role in shaping the Akhal-Teke. Combining these influences with the breed’s innate characteristics paved the way for a versatile and elegant horse, capable of excelling in various equestrian disciplines.

The Russian influence brought further refinement to the breed when a breeding farm was established in the late 19th century. Since then, the Akhal-Teke horse has continued to thrive and expand its presence across the globe.

The Akhal-Teke coat colors are a fascinating subject in itself. The breed exhibits a broad range of colors, among which the following are noted as most typical:

  • Black (dominant gene, varying shades from raven black to sunburned-chestnut color) source
  • Bay
  • Chestnut
  • Grey
  • Palomino
  • Cremello

Some less common, but equally beautiful coat colors include perlino, dun, and roan. The unique and captivating metallic sheen observed in the Akhal-Teke’s coat is a key attribute that sets them apart from other breeds.

In summary, the origin and history of the Akhal-Teke horse breed is a fascinating journey through time and geography, shaped by the rugged landscapes of Turkmenistan and the valuable contributions from Arabian, Thoroughbred, and Nisean horses. The Akhal-Teke has evolved into a truly exquisitely elegant and versatile breed, with a stunning array of coat colors that capture the imagination of horse lovers everywhere.

Breed Characteristics

Black Shinning Akhal Teke stallion running in trot along white fence


The Akhal-Teke horse is known for its friendly and personable nature. These horses are highly intelligent and can form strong bonds with their owners, making them excellent partners in a range of equestrian activities. They possess a natural sensitivity, allowing them to respond well to their rider’s cues, which makes them very appealing to experienced riders.

Athleticism and Stamina

Akhal-Teke horses are renowned for their incredible endurance, speed, and athleticism. The breed’s ancient heritage has led to the development of these traits over the course of thousands of years, making them well-suited for multiple disciplines, including eventing or racing. With a lean, elegant physique and sweeping gaits, the Akhal-Teke is a true athlete in the equine world.


The Akhal-Teke horse is known for its unique and captivating appearance. They typically have a lean, muscular frame that is designed for speed and efficiency. Characteristic features include almond-shaped eyes, a long neck, and straight back, which contribute to their overall elegance.

One of the most striking features of the Akhal-Teke is the height and weight of these horses. They can measure up to 16 hands (64 inches) and weigh between 900 and 1,100 pounds, showcasing their athletic build.

Metallic Sheen and Coat Colors

Akhal-Tekes are renowned for their beautiful coat colors, which often have a unique metallic sheen. This sheen is a result of the fine, translucent hair that makes up their coat, which reflects light in a way that gives their coat a sparkling, golden quality.

The most common coat colors found in this breed include bay, chestnut, black, gray, dun, and palomino with a wide range of shades and variations. The Akhal-Teke has three main basecoat colors, which are black, bay, and red, that can be further modified by different genes, leading to stunning variations in coat color. For example, black can range from a raven black, known as voronaya, to a sunburned chestnut color.

Overall, the Akhal-Teke horse’s unique combination of temperament, athleticism, stamina, appearance, and eye-catching coat colors make it a highly desirable breed in the equestrian world.

Popular Disciplines

Exterior photo of buckskin akhal teke stallion in a field

The Akhal-Teke horse is quite versatile and has gained popularity in several equestrian disciplines due to its exceptional stamina, intelligence, and unique coat colors. This section will delve into some of the popular disciplines in which they excel: Dressage, Show Jumping, and Endurance Riding.


Dressage showcases the athletic abilities and elegance of the Akhal-Teke breed. With their natural grace, balance, and fluid movements, these horses make for captivating performers in the dressage arena. Their innate intelligence and keen ability to learn makes them highly trainable, allowing them to effortlessly execute precise movements and transitions as required by dressage tests. Additionally, their distinctive metallic sheen and coat colors make them stand out from other breeds, creating a visually impressive display during competitions.

Show Jumping

While not as commonly seen in show jumping as some other breeds, the Akhal-Teke is still capable of excelling in this discipline. Their athleticism, agility, and endurance make them suitable competitors in show jumping events. Their lean build enables them to move quickly and efficiently, clearing jumps with notable ease. Furthermore, their adaptability and intelligence allow them to learn and respond to complex courses, making them a force to be reckoned with in show jumping competitions. As with dressage, their unique coat colors and metallic sheen can also catch the eyes of judges and spectators alike.

Endurance Riding

The Akhal-Teke breed truly shines in endurance riding events. Hailing from Turkmenistan, these horses were bred by Turk nomads, who prized them for their diversity of coat colors, natural stamina, and exceptional hardiness. These qualities make them perfectly suited for the rigors of long-distance riding events. Their resilience and ability to adapt to harsh climates have historically been tested in demanding environments, making them tough competitors in endurance races today. Their lean, muscular bodies give them an advantage in energy efficiency and speed over long distances, and their intelligence allows them to navigate challenging terrain effectively.

In conclusion, the Akhal-Teke is a highly endowed horse breed that excels in numerous equestrian disciplines, especially dressage, show jumping, and endurance riding. Their unique coat colors, intelligence, and stamina set them apart from other breeds and make them a valuable addition to the equestrian world.

Breed Registry and Population

Perlino Akhal Teke stallion running toward camera

North America

The Akhal-Teke breed has a growing presence in North America. Breed enthusiasts have established the Akhal-Teke Association of America (ATAA), which serves as the primary breed registry for the region. The ATAA aims to promote the Akhal-Teke horse breed and diligently works to document and preserve its unique traits. The registry currently lists nearly 3,500 Akhal-Teke horses and has close to 100 registered members.


In Europe, Akhal-Teke horses can be found in various countries, with dedicated breeders and enthusiasts contributing to the horse breed’s preservation and growth. The European Akhal-Teke Registry works to maintain accurate records on the breed’s population within the continent, and European breeders often participate in international events and competitions celebrating the Akhal-Teke.


The Akhal-Teke horse holds a special place in Russian equestrian history, as the breed has its roots in the ancient Turkoman horse. These horses eventually evolved into the modern Akhal-Teke, known for their endurance, elegance, and unique, often metallic, coat colors. The Russian equestrian community cherishes the Akhal-Teke and is actively involved in the breed’s preservation. With a substantial population of Akhal-Teke horses in the country, Russia plays a significant role in promoting and showcasing these beautiful animals.

The Akhal-Teke breed offers a diverse range of coat colors, which is one of their most remarkable traits. They have three primary base coat colors: Black, Bay, and Red, and various color modifiers contribute to the stunning variations seen in these horses. Among these, the metallic sheen is highly sought after in the breed and can range from a “raven black” to a sunburned-chestnut color. The breed registry and population in North America, Europe, and Russia ensure the preservation of this ancient breed and its incredible characteristics.

Akhal-Teke Coat Colors

An elegant Black Akhal Teke breed horse

Basecoat Colors

The Akhal-Teke horse breed features a diverse range of coat colors, with three main basecoat colors that serve as the foundation for its vibrant variations. These basecoat colors include Black (EE or Ee and aa), Bay, and Red. The black color is due to a dominant gene, meaning that the horse only needs one copy of the “E” gene to exhibit this coloration. Bay and Red also contribute to a variety of Akhal-Teke shades, such as chestnut, palomino, and cremello.

Color Modifiers

A notable characteristic of Akhal-Teke horses is their stunning metallic sheen, visible on their coats. This sheen is especially striking on cremello, pale gold, and light chestnut individuals. There is an extensive range of additional color modifiers that alter and add unique features to the coat of the Akhal-Teke breed. Some of these modifiers include:

  • Grey: This modifier causes the horse’s coat to lighten over time, often with dapples appearing.
  • Roan: Produces a pattern of intermingled white and colored hairs, potentially with darker legs, mane, and tail.
  • Perlino: Results in a pale, cream-colored coat with blue eyes, featuring darker points on the mane, tail, and legs.
  • Buckskin: A color variety with a tan or gold body and black points, including legs, mane, and tail.
  • Smokey Black: A dark coat color influenced by the cream dilution gene, appearing similar to black but with an undertone of brown or purple.
  • Liver Chestnut: A deep, dark chestnut coat color without any black hairs, often with a flaxen or light-colored mane and tail.

Some other distinct coat features that might appear on Akhal-Teke horses include:

  • Dorsal stripes: A darker spinal stripe running along the back of the horse, often seen on buckskins or duns.
  • Sooty factor: Darker hairs scattered across the coat, giving a shaded appearance.
  • Counter-shading: Lighter hairs on the underside of the horse, creating an apricot or chrome hue in certain areas.

White markings might also appear on the legs or face, such as stockings or star markings. It is essential to note that each Akhal-Teke horse is unique, and these coat characteristics may vary between individuals. The combination of basecoat colors, color modifiers, and other coat features results in a diverse and visually striking breed renowned for its racing capabilities and intelligence.

Cultural Significance

buckskin Akhal Teke stallion posing elegantly

The Akhal-Teke horse breed, known for its stunning coat colors, has gained considerable cultural significance over time. These horses have been celebrated not only for their beauty and athleticism but also for their endurance and versatility in various disciplines.


The Akhal-Teke has been notably featured on banknotes, indicating its importance in certain regions. For instance, the Turkmenistan government has honored this remarkable breed by displaying it on the national currency. The magnificent coat colors of the Akhal-Teke capture the essence of these “Golden Horses,” making them an ideal visual representation for the nation.

Postage Stamps

In addition to banknotes, Akhal-Teke horses have been depicted on postage stamps in various countries. These stamps showcase the breed’s unique coat colors and distinctive metallic sheen, which are highly admired by equine enthusiasts and collectors alike. The inclusion of the Akhal-Teke on postage stamps signifies the breed’s international cultural impact and its enduring appeal.

The coat colors of the Akhal-Teke are truly mesmerizing, with a wide range of hues and shades. There are three main basecoat colors found in this breed: Black, Bay, and Red source. However, these colors can be further modified by various genetic factors, resulting in a dazzling array of stunning variations. The Akhal-Teke’s distinctive metallic sheen adds to its allure, as it appears to shimmer in sunlight.

To sum up, the Akhal-Teke horse breed, with its incredible coat colors and unique characteristics, has undeniably established a significant cultural presence. The breed has been celebrated through various mediums, such as banknotes and postage stamps, reflecting its remarkable influence and admiration in different parts of the world.

Akhal-Teke Horse Coat Colors

Three akhal teke breed horses running in the field

The Akhal-Teke horse breed is known for its wide range of unique and stunning coat colors. The three primary basecoat colors found in these horses are black, bay, and red. However, it is the numerous color modifiers that contribute to their exceptional diversity in coat coloration.

Black Akhal-Tekes have a dominant gene, either EE or Ee, combined with aa, which results in their deep black coat. Bay horses possess the Agouti gene, and their coloration ranges from light to dark bay, showing off variations in the shades of reddish-brown. Red Akhal-Tekes, on the other hand, have a true red overall hue with lighter-colored manes and tails.

Perhaps the most extraordinary quality of the Akhal-Teke breed is the metallic sheen found in some of their coats. This unique sheen, often referred to as the “golden shimmer,” is what has earned them the nickname “Golden Horses”. Typically, these metallic coats are more prevalent in horses with lighter basecoat colors, such as palomino or cremello. This shine is due to the unique structure of their coat hairs, allowing light to refract differently and generate the metallic appearance.

In addition to the main coat colors, the Akhal-Teke breed may also display various markings, such as stars, blazes, and socks, which add further diversity and beauty to their overall appearance.


In conclusion, the Akhal-Teke horse breed is not only famous for its speed, endurance, and intelligence but also for its captivating range of coat colors. Their diverse color palette, combined with the fascinating metallic sheen exhibited by some individuals, makes this breed one of the most visually stunning horse breeds in the world. The Akhal-Teke’s unique coat colors are a testament to the breed’s ancient heritage and the dedicated efforts of breeders to preserve and enhance their distinct beauty.