The “American Paint Horse” is a breed of horse that combines both the conformational characteristics of a western stock horse with a pinto spotting pattern of white and dark coat colors. Developed from a base of spotted horses with Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred bloodlines, the American Paint Horse Association breed registry is now one of the fastest-growing in North America. The registry allows some non-spotted animals to be registered as “Solid Paint Bred” and considers the American Paint Horse to be a horse breed with distinct characteristics, not merely a color breed.

The American Paint Horse’s combination of color and conformation has made the American Paint Horse Association the second-largest breed registry in the United States. While the colorful coat pattern is essential to the identity of the breed, American Paint Horses have strict bloodline requirements and a distinctive stock-horse body type. To be eligible for registry, a Paint’s sire and dam must be registered with the American Paint Horse Association, the American Quarter Horse Association, or the Jockey Club . At least one of the parents must be a registered American Paint Horse. There are two categories of registration, regular, for horses with color, and solid Paint-bred, for those without color.

In addition to bloodlines, to be eligible for the Regular Registry of the American Paint Horse Association , the horse must also exhibit a “natural paint marking”, meaning either a predominant hair coat color with at least one contrasting area of solid white hair of the required size with some underlying unpigmented skin present on the horse at the time of its birth. Or, in the case of a predominantly white hair coat, at least one contrasting area of the required size of colored hair with some underlying pigmented skin present on the horse. Natural Paint markings usually must cover more than two inches and be located in certain designated areas of the body.

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