Equusite.com > Beginner Basics > Colors and Markings > Grullo/Grulla

WRITTEN BY: Roxanne Watson   [March 23, 2002]

Sherman Quarter Horses, Specializing in Grullo and Grulla color Breeders of Grullo
Quarter Horses


Grullo - pronounced (grew-yo)
Grulla - pronounced (grew-ya)

Either of the terms are correct in describing the color. AQHA recognizes the color as grullo. The color is the diluted form of black with dun factor. In other words the black color is modified by the dun gene. "Grulla" is the Spanish word for a gray crane which is a slate-gray colored bird.

You may find grullo or grulla definitions in the rule books of different registries under different definitions but for this I will include the AQHA definition:

Body color smoky or mouse colored (not a mixture of black and white hairs, but each individual hair is mouse colored) Usually has a dorsal stripe, shoulder striping or shadowing and black leg barring on lower legs.

Within this definition there are variations of the color often refered to as slate grulla, silver grulla, olive grulla, black dun or wolf dun. The grullo color in the quarter horse is very rare and only about 0.7% of those registered in the quarter horse breed each year are grullo.

Body of a Grullo or Grulla Horse © Roxanne Watson

One determining factor of the grulla is the primitve markings which can be seen on all duns to some varying extents.

Primitive Markings:

Dorsal stripe in Grullo / Grulla colored horses © Roxanne Watson

Dorsal Stripe
The dorsal stripe will run along the backbone of the horse from the withers to the base of the tail, often going well into the tail. The width will vary, and often will have transverse stripes running of the main dorsal stripe.

Ear Tips and Edging in Grullo / Grulla color © Roxanne Watson


Ear Tips, Edging, & Barring
Ear tips will appear in the darker/base color of the horse and cover the tip of the ear, edging again in the darker color will outline the ear, often horizontal bars can be found going horizontally through the back of the ear in this same darker coloring.

Shoulder Stripe, Shadowing
and/or Transverse Stripe

Neck shadowing often appears as dark areas throughout the neck, extending into the hollow of the shoulder. Striping or transverse striping most often appears at the withers and dorsal stripe running in a horizontal direction.

Leg Barring, Zebra Stripes, Tiger Stripes © Pat Fausser @ TSRE

Leg Barring
Again in the darker base color can be seen on both the front and hind legs usually above the knee and hock, often refered to as tiger striping.

Face masking in Grulla colored horses © Roxanne Watson

Face Masking
The face will be masked often midway on the face or even covering the whole face again this will be in the base color of the horse.

Will be seen as lines running off from the face masking in varying lengths, usually found on the forehead or around the eyes.

Send your picture of a Grullo horse

Can be seen as a circular motif of this base coloring found in the areas of the forearms, gaskins, shoulders, chest, and even on the underbelly.

Mane guard hairs in Grullo colored horses © Roxanne Watson

Mane and Tail Guard Hairs
Best described as white or cream colored hairs at the base of the neck line or interdespersed throughout the mane. Usually also at the base of the tail but can run well into the tail as well.

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