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How to breed your own top quality sport type, leopard spotted, Knabstrupper!

August 20, 2010

Take a look at these foals, all of them are by Ecuador Skødstrup out of various warmblood mares.

CCs Gandalf, Ecuador Skrødstrup /Antique (Hann by Antibes)

Gandalf born in 2007 currently lives in Montana with Andria Manecke.

Then in 2009 we had CCS Theoden by Ecuador Skrødstrup out of Anatasia Bonita (Rosie) an Oldenburg by Rosenthau.

Theoden was the Best in Show at his inspection in 2009, he is currently owned by Maureane Hoffman of Durham NC.

Then in 2010 we get

Effet de Neige by Ecuador out of a SWANA registered mare named BeeBe by Briar.

Effet de Neige

Owner/Breeder: Nicole Davison.

If you can breed a foal of this quality here in the USA, just by leasing or borrowing a good quality warmblood mare and using frozen semen from Ecuador,(or one of the other FS stallions we have available here), why on earth would someone wanting to breed sport type Knabstruppers be doing anything else.
Why use Appaloosa or Draft cross mares, and have all the angst of not having a main stud book foal, when you could so easily be producing superior quality riding horses, with good color and eligible for main stud book. With the current recession there are plenty of good quality warmblood mares available for lease or at very reasonable prices, why continue breeding with undesirable mares

It’s understandable why in the past this was done. At the beginning there was only one stallion, Apollon, who was a leopard spot. Liz Hall who brought him in, did the right thing, she bred him to good quality warmblood mares, but the problem is that he had a lot of solid colored babies. Particularly out of solid colored warmblood mares. So to counteract that people bred him to appaloosa mares to get the color genes.
The KNN (mother registry of the Knabstrupper) heard about this and objected, they did not want Apploosa genes mixed in, so they said no Appaloosa mares were allowed. There was some bad feeling about this, as some folks (including me) had invested in Appaloosa mares in order to start a breeding program. The KNN have since compromised and established an Appendix registry for horses by Knabstrupper stallions out of undesirable mares. Horses with one registered and approved Knabstrupper parent can be inspected and scored, and if they score high enough they can be accepted into this Appendix registry. (But they do have to be inspected and scored first). The offspring of these appendix horses by approved sires can also be registered as Knabstuppers and after 3 generations of approved breeding the progeny can be put into the main stud book.

Now that we understand more about the inheritance of color the high percentage of solid offspring is also understandable. The nose-to-toes leopard color is the product of not one but two (or more) genes, one of which, LP has to be the heterozygote (LP/lp) and other(s) PATN1 and PATN(2-5) can be either homozygote or heterozygote.

The analogy that Sheila Archer uses is the PATN genes are like a white cat in the dark, the LP gene is the flashlight that allows you to see the white cat. If you have a white cat but no flashlight, you can’t see the cat. If you have a flashlight but no cat then you still can’t see the cat, you have to have both present.
Furthermore, the white cat can be large (PATN1) and give you nose-to-toes color, or it can be small (PATN2-5) and give you varying degrees of color from a small patchy blanket to a large blanket looking almost like a full PATN1 leopard. If the horse has the homozygote LP/LP then it is ‘white born’ and you can’t tell what kind of ‘cat’ it has. If it has lp/lp then it is solid colored (no flashlight) and you still can’t tell what kind of cat it has BUT if you breed the solid offpring of two leopards (likely to have inherited PATN since both parents have it) to a Few Spot ( LP/LP) then you will get LP/lp (enough flashlight but not too much) and then the PATN genes can be seen.

Thus we know that Apollon was LP/lp (since he was leopard spotted) and it appears that he carries PATN1/patn1 since 50% of his offspring did not inherit PATN1. This I know because I have a daughter of Apollon from a solid (lp/lp) mare, who is LP/lp but who does not have PATN1, as in, she shows LP characteristics but no spots. Hence Apollon was only going to throw LP 50% of the time and PATN1 50% of the time and the chances of getting LP and PATN1 in the same offspring was 50% of 50% or 25%, which is pretty much what he threw out of solid colored mares.

So what we needed was LP/LP PATN1/PATN1 stallions around to breed those Apollon daughters to, to get spotted foals. At first there weren’t any, so people used mares with LP/PATN in them to maximize the chances. But that has changed now, there are now 5 few spot/white born stallions available in the USA and shortly there will be a 6th, so the need for using mares of Appaloosa parentage in order to get the LP /PATN genes is no longer a valid argument. Of these 5 few spot stallions, at least 2 of which appear to have PATN1/PATN1 ( high number of full leopard foals out of solid mares). By using one of these several FS stallions we now have available on good quality warmblood mares we can get the spotting pattern as well as good movement and conformation.
Once you have that cross, any daughters can be bred back to a leopard spotted stallion, of which there are now several, and thus we can keep the quality without losing the white color.
For the record the FS (LP/LP) stallions we have available here are:

Ecuador Skrødstrup (may well be PATN1 homozygous as well).
Ravaldi (may also be PATN1 as well PATN2-5)
Pegasus (unclear about his PATN status at this point but he is certainly heterozygous for it).
Halifax Middelsom (no foals yet so to early to tell).
Hussar of Independance (also unclear with regard to PATN)

Xhogun Middelsom (is for sure heterozygous for PATN1 but only 1 foal here so far), but very limited semen availability.



  1. Hi Melyni
    are these white born stallions by frozen semen??
    I’m in Australia and we have that problem of not enough avalibility of knabstrpper stock or frozen semen to import.

    Comment by samantha mcauliffe — October 21, 2010 @ 4:47 am

  2. Are these white born stallions by frozen semen?
    for us in Australia it is xxtra hard trying to breed the knabstrupper as only Xhogun Middlesom ever had frozen semen available for here and not many foals .It is a hard road to go.I bred appaloosas to frozen semen and now breeding to the knabstrupper.It seems a little silly if they are the right type .they all go back to the same genes originally……..happy day

    Comment by samantha mcauliffe — October 21, 2010 @ 4:50 am

  3. Hussar of Independance is (according to Patci) collected and frozen for use in Australia. Hussar has his own Facebook page. Friend him on Facebook and send Patci a message.
    Tha’s one for you.

    Comment by admin_melyni — October 22, 2010 @ 5:57 am

  4. I see this was first posted in 2010, and this is currently 2015. Now that the PATN1 gene can be tested for, will you be testing? I have a mare, Lp/lp and patn/patn, that I want to breed to maximize a leopard pattern while also getting a top notch foal, so I’m looking for a tall Lp/Lp PATN1/PATN1 Knabstrupper stud. Thanks!

    Comment by Cheri Smith — June 8, 2015 @ 8:18 pm

  5. HI Cheri,
    As you say things have come on a bit since 2005! We do have a stallion (Halifax Middelsom) who is LP/LP and appears to be PATN1/PATN1, as in he has 100% spotted foals out of solid mares, so far 8 of 8 foals of his a leopard. I may get him tested for PATN1 at some point, that is probably a good idea.
    What are the bloodlines of your mare?

    Comment by Melyni Worth — June 9, 2015 @ 6:20 am

  6. Hi Melyni! So sorry for the long delay in responding! My mare is a Stonewall Sporthorse, from Mike Muir’s breeding program. A number of her cousins and neices and nephews are dual registered with the KNN and RPSI, but she’s not. Her dam is Stonewall Blanche, one of the mares famouse for the 3,200 mile Horse Journey and a recognized athlete in combined driving and para-dressage. Her sire is a more sport conformed Friesian. The last App in her pedigree is back 3 generations, and that was a racing App. Nyx has also tested negative for PSSM1 and Hydrocephalous. Here’s her pedigree on Allbreed,

    Comment by Cheri — April 11, 2016 @ 1:16 pm

  7. HI Cheri,
    Thanks for the update. I do have frozen semen from Halifax and also from Ecuador Skødstrup. Other wise if you wanted a live stallion for shipped cooled semen there is Pegasus Von Niehaus-Hof in California, or Lindegaards Elliot in Canada. There is also a young stallion called The Mick, who is a son of Halifax who stands in Ohio. Most of the remaining stallions are leopards. Good Luck I hope you get our mare bred, she sounds like a nice one.

    Comment by Melyni Worth — April 11, 2016 @ 1:36 pm

  8. Hi Melyni! Leopards would be wonderful, too, as long as they seem to be PATN1/PATN1. Nyx is Lp/n and n/n for any sort of PATN modifiers, so between her and a stallion that is Lp/n and PATN1/PATN1, I’ve got a 50% chance of a loud leopard, and a 25% chance of a few spot. Which is fine by me, =-)
    Any you could recommend while I stalk Ecuador’s, Halifax’s, Pegasus’s, and Elliot’s info? Nyx needs a big stout guy as she is a tad weedy, (but we say Elegant in front of her,) and I like them tall.
    Thank you so much for your help!

    Comment by Cheri — April 26, 2016 @ 9:08 pm

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