Tigre’s main emphasis is on the production and development of a gaited, superior trail riding/sport horse, therefore it should be sound of limb, as well as having a good mind, be flashy in the extreme and love the company of humans. Here we discuss some common Tiger Horse breed standards.


First generation Tiger Horses are sized a little differently from one another, some are 14.3 Hands while others might be quite tall ie, 16 Hands. Our goal is for the breed to average 15 Hands, a handy size for most people. 1 Hand = 4”. Because we had to dip into different breeds to create the modern day Tiger Horses there was a lot of sorting to be done from descendants of feral Appaloosas that were first rescued 70 years ago by the Appaloosa horse clubs founding members. Not an easy project, but for the most part the genetic mix that Nature allowed could not have been more advantageous for us. Similar in many ways to the intended mix that China used to develop her Soulons, Nature who does not care what a horse looks like, or what breed it belongs to, functions on the principle “survival of the fittest.” During the past 300 years Nature produced a combination of really strong, disease resistant horses from which to choose, although different from the spotted Tiger Horses that first arrived in the USA from Spain. Today most Spanish infused characteristics have been bred out of the Appaloosa, first by Nature when horses of all breeds were turned loose to fend for themselves, and then 300 years later when the Appaloosa club decided to write show rules for non-gaited horses.
Thats one quick way to eliminate original characteristics. This was furthered by adding Arabians, Thoroughbreds, and Quarter Horses into the mix. Tigre’s breeders are at least grateful that the ApHc rescued the spotted coat patterns, and twenty years ago (1992/3) during Tigre’s first selection for foundation stock we made some really good choices from the Appaloosa groups. Good looking horses with balanced profiles, and athletic abilities. Even a few gaited ones. We avoided obvious Draft Horse characteristics like “jugheads” (too big), or cone hooves too small to support bulky bodies. We also chose carefully from gaited breeds like the Missouri Fox Trotters to put middle gaits back together. MFTs because they are nicely proportioned and have wonderful dispositions. Their powerful necks readily transfer to our new breed, they have great “lift” and within the first generations we were producing Tiger Horses that closely resemble the Chinese Soulon.

This 14.3H blue roan filly is almost certainly homozygous for the roan gene


The Roans :

The two mares (below center and right, and the young filly above) all represent the roan gene which appears to be a strong part of the Leopard complex gene. All Appaloosa coat patterns have some version of the roan pattern present, and it appears to be more important in other ways than we had originally thought. Of course everyone loves the exotic coat patterns like the leopards, near leopards, and Ghost Horses (aka Few Spots), but we have learned over time to respect and appreciate the roans too. Remember “we can not ride a color.” Performance is much more important than color, although the exotic coat patterns are desirable, and very much a part of our Tiger Horse Breed , we take much more into account than mere color, or their gaits, Every entry is evaluated for its ability to enhance the rescue goals of Tigre.

A “Snowcap” Roan
A “Flea-bit” Roan
A “Spotted” Roan

We use two commonly recognized types of homozygous Appaloosas or Tiger Horses for color infusions, but others less easily identified as homozygous are also in the mix. (Above left to right) A yearling Tiger Horse stallion, and a most exciting development in our breed. He inherited two copies of the leopard complex gene and will always pass one copy to his foals, even though the opposite sex partner is not spotted. Unlike the Few Spots who have exhibited a tendency to perform a newly identified sitting trot type of gait, this is our first homozygous horse to exhibit a perfect middle gait. Now twenty years in the making, Tigre finally has a Tiger Horse that will not only put spots on his foals, but middle gaits on all of his daughters (Mares will transfer their gaits to their sons). Obviously breeding gaited couples is the ideal way to produce more gaited foals. A rare and exciting acquisition for the breed he is named Annandale’s Holy Smoke. The mare in the center was most likely born solid in color, and over time has evolved into a beautiful spotted roan, a pattern sometimes seen in the Arabian industry, and known there as a “flea-bit gray.” Tigre Horses are never described as “gray” unless of course they are gray. Gray is to be avoided wherever possible because it is described as a disease of the hair shaft pigmentation where over time spotted coat patterns are lost. The mare far right, was born black in appearance but now in her 9th year she is beginning to exhibit spots. It will be a few more years until we know precisely what type of roan coat she inherited. The roans can change from solid colors in their first year of life, or take a lifetime to change. She was sired by a “Near Leopard” stallion and solid colored Dam.

The Leopards:

A homozygous Tiger Horse stallion known in Appaloosa circles as a “Few Spot.” If they gait, Tigre names them “Ghost Horses.” The Few Spots or Ghost Horses rarely have more than one or two body spots, and usually on only one side of their bodies. They are “leopards” in disguise, and will often produce foals with coat patterns like these below center, and below right. Everyone loves the leopards, but remember you can’t ride a color. Conformation and gait ability is more important.

A “Few Spot” or “Ghost Horse”
A “Leopard”
A “Near Leopard”
How the Lp gene is inherited:

Genetically speaking, the base coat color of a horse is either black or red. Then there are various shades of black or red, and combinations, each of which gets a new name. Red horses with black manes and tails are named “bays.” Red horses with red manes and tails are named “chestnuts.” To complicate matters even further, there are brown bays, black bays, liver chestnuts, strawberry chestnuts, palominos, grulla’s, on and on. If that isn’t confusing enough, consider the various spotted patterns the Lp gene is capable of delivering on top of the base coat. We have divided them up for you to inspect and we accept all of them provided they are LP or LP/Sabino combinations. The Lp or LP gene is white and deposits on top of a horses base coat color in a mottled or “sprinkled” way creating a variety of different sized spots. When inherited like these above, it is a very nice contrast. Each Breeder concentrates on what they like best in the combination department.

The Sabino Gene:

We would like to exclude the Sabino gene but this will not be possible in one lifetime. The Sabino gene gives the odd socks and stockings and some of the facial markings. Fortunately it blends well with lots of other coat patterns so we accept it but we do not want some of the other white genes included like Pinto which can fight for dominance on a horse. One side will be Pinto while the other will be Appaloosa. This is a mish mash of genetic confusion and doesn’t look very appealing. We also prefer not to include the Splash gene which you see on the Budweizer horses. 4 evenly matched white stockings, huge face blazes, sometimes blue eyes. Beautiful on that particular draft horse Breed, not for Tigre. The Sabino gene plays well with all these other white genes, therefore it is found on just about every horse in the world.


All Tiger Horses should inherit this body type. First generation foals sometimes have a slightly convex (dish) or a straight face. We are able to breed that characteristic out in preference for a convex profile like this 10 day old filly exhibits. Exotic in the extreme. The Tiger Horse is back!
Further Soulon standards information is here