Genetic Testing

Knowledge of Paint Horse genetics is rapidly evolving, and researchers are unearthing new genes that impact expression of the white spotting patterns for which the Paint breed is known. Breeders and owners can put the power of genetic testing to work with a quick and easy DNA test.
Why Test?
  • Parentage Verification is required for registration as of January 1, 2022. This applies to all registrations, regardless of breeding method or horse age. Click here for more details.
  • Make smarter breeding decisionsKnowing which color, pattern and disease genes your horse carries means you can make smarter breeding choices and prevent heartache down the road. Sidestep recessive genetic conditions by not breeding carriers together.
  • Reduces risk and might help improve chances for Regular Registry color. Genetic testing helps take some inherent risk out of breeding Paints. You’ll be able to select a sire or dam based on genetic potential to pass along a “Paint” pattern gene, along with more tangible things like conformation, athleticism, temperament and more.
  • Testing is quick, easy and cost-effective. Genetic testing is painless and easy for any horse owner—genetic testing uses DNA from hair roots to determine which genes your horse carries. No guesswork required!

Learn more about Paint patterns and the power of genetic testing in the Paint Horse Journal


dnaGenetic Testing Options
APHA and our official genetics testing partners, the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California–Davis and Etalon Diagnostics, can help you find out exactly which colors, patterns, and genetic health markers are carried by your stallion or mare. For genetic health panels and color/pattern panels, APHA members now have a choice between UC Davis and Etalon Diagnostics.

All Parentage Verification tests are performed at the University of California-Davis. Parentage verification is required for all registrations as of January 1, 2022. 

dnaThe Procedure
Genetic testing is a simple procedure, done with 30 to 50 hairs (with intact roots) from your horse. Mane hair is normally used to derive DNA. However, if a foal is being tested, it is necessary to pull tail hair as roots from a foal’s mane are too small.

 UC-Davis Parentage, Color/Pattern & Health Panels

dnaParentage Verification & Genetic Typing: $79 per horse (or $59 when ordered online)
Parentage verification confirms the sire and dam of a horse; the parent horses must have their DNA genetic typing on file in order to complete parentage verification of the offspring. Volume testing discounts are available; see the APHA Rule Book for current fees.
All parentage verification tests are performed at the University of California-Davis. Parentage verification is required for all registrations as of January 1, 2022.

dnaColor & Pattern Panel: $149 (or $129 when ordered online)
Tests for the presence of 8 coat colors and 12 pattern genes:

  • Coat Colors: red factor, agouti, cream, pearl, champagne, dun, silver and gray
  • Pattern Genes: Tobiano (T), Frame Overo (O), Sabino 1 (SB1), Splash White (SW1, SW2, SW3, SW5, SW6), and Dominant White (W5, W10, W20, W22)

dnaGenetic Health Panel: $149 (or $129 when ordered online)
Tests for the presence of 6 genes linked to genetic diseases:


Fees cover costs of the DNA kit, laboratory testing and recording.

The Results
Genetic testing results, sent by email, usually take seven to 10 business days. Results are sent to the horse owner and APHA; a copy of the test results may be sent to another organization per written request from the horse’s owner of record or agent.

Order genetic tests for your Paint from UC-Davis at PHcentral.com (sign up to use the site, connect your ID number and follow the order prompts for DNA testing) or complete the DNA Kit Order Form and mail the completed form to APHA’s MemberCare Department. Order Etalon tests at EtalonDX.com.

Etalon Diagnostics All-Inclusive Panel

APHA | Compete Panel – Etalon Diagnostics – $249

Etalon offers a comprehensive genetic test package designed for APHA horses. For one price, your horse will be tested for color genes, spotting pattern genes, genetic health genes and performance characteristics. Get a complete look at your horse’s genetic profile through one test.

Coat Colors: Extension/red factor, agouti, cream, pearl, champagne, dun, silver, gray

Pattern Genes: Tobiano (T), Frame Overo (O), Sabino 1 (SB1), Splash White (SW1/2/3/5/6/7/8), Dominant White (W5/10/20/22/31/32/34/35)

Genetic Health, including: HERDA, HYPP, GBED, MH, PSSM1, OLWS, MYHM

Performance: Temperament*, Gait, Speed

Fees cover costs of laboratory testing and recording with APHA.

*denotes discovery-phase tests

Learn more about the Etalon panel: