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Genetic Color Terms

For Detailed information with great color photographs, download the "Guide to the Selection of Navajo-Churro Sheep" - click here for a PDF.
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These color terms illustrate the genetic colors of Navajo-Churro sheep. These terms refer to the color of the fiber and points (legs/face/ears), and includes solid colors, patterns and markings. Colors are consistent with identified alleles and their corresponding genetic symbols. There may be colors or patterns not yet recognized, so breeders are encouraged to report ‘other’ colors and/or patterns.

Note: White = no color, Black = eumelanin, Brown = eumelanin, Tan or Red = phaeomelanin

White - White with pink nose and white feet or black nose and black feet. May have black, brown, tan speckles on face or legs but not in fleece. Born white.

White/Tan - Often born red, tan, apricot, orange, ginger or brownish, but develop a white undercoat at 6 months and are white after the first shearing. Sometimes have only a tan/red neck spot. White with tan fibers in fleece and red/tan face, legs. Often these sheep have red in feet.

Black - Solid black body. May have white TGH markings on black points. Tips of wool may look brown. May grey with age.

Brown (Moorit) - Solid brown body. May have white TGH markings on brown points. Skin color, nose and eye rims are liver color, not pink. Wool tips may bleach light. May designate intensity of Brown using; Sand, Adobe, Mesa, Red Mesa, Rio Grande.

Dark Brown - Dark brown birth coat nearly black. Similar birth coat to darkest color of Brown which looks black. However, Dark Brown stays dark brown for several years. Face and legs seem nearly black or deep chocolate.

Grey - A mixture of black and white fibers in the lamb fleece. Leg and face color is grey or grey with tan. Born grey. Some have light eye patches and noses. May designate intensity of Grey using; Pearl, Sliver, Storm.

Grey/Tan - Grey sheep can also have tan/red primary fibers in the fleece which may lessen after the first shearing. These sheep often have a red/tan hair mixed in grey faces/legs or all tan points.

Blue - Born black but in first year develop silver/charcoal inner coat while outer remains brownish/black. May develop white on eyes and muzzle but keep dark points, legs, body and belly are dark. Hips, sides are greyed.

English Blue - Must have white tears, may have white in ears or on muzzle. This is a pattern on Black or Brown.
Texel Blue - Resembles Badgerface. There is a dark bar over each eye, dark top of nose, dark under jaw on light face.

Badgerface - Distinctly eumelanin black belly and legs contrasting with upper body of phaeomelanin white, greyish or tan. Black bars above the eye, on cheek, inside ear, dark nose, black chin and black scrotum.

Light Badgerface - Still has a dark belly in contrast with lighter upper body but belly and legs are grey. Grey bars above the eye, on cheek, inside ear, dark nose, grey chin and grey scrotum.

Brown Badgerface - Still has a dark belly in contrast with lighter upper body but belly and legs are brown. Brown bars above the eye, on cheek, inside ear, dark nose, brown chin and brown scrotum.

Black and Tan - Distinctly light, whitish or tan phaeomelanin belly contrasting with black eumelanin upper body.
Black and Tan is also called Reverse Badgerface or Mouflon. Face is dark with tan above or outlining eyes, light inside ears, light under jaw, sometimes with bib. Scrotum is tan, legs dark with tan inside and tan/red fibers are common.

Brown and Tan - Same pattern as Black and Tan but body is brown.

Grey and Tan - Same pattern as Black and Tan but body is grey.

Spots - Solid white areas appearing randomly on body with black, grey or brown. May use terms; Pinto (large areas), Piebald (round grapefruit sized areas), Pims (many small dots)

Multi - Black, Tan and White sheep that do not fit terms above. Tri-color. Patterns look confused if the Spotting locus adds a white blaze or large white areas.

Other - Color or pattern that does not fit into any of the other categories.



Marking Terms often used in addition to Genetic Color Terms:

Two Grey Hills (TGH) - White cap, white tip on tail, white sock(s) - any or all of these marks.

Black Eye - Black liner around eye.

Tan Eye - Tan/Red edge around eye (Pattern also).

Eye Patch - Panda Like. Palm size patch around eye. Can be Black, Brown, Grey or Tan/Red

Churra - Dark eye liner or patch AND dark mouth or muzzle.

Hip Spot - Vague area of contrasting symmetrical color on hips



Wool Colors

Note: These Wool Color Terms are used IN ADDITION to Genetic Color terms. Genetic Color remains the same for the life of the sheep while Wool Color may change with age.

White - No colored fibers

White Shell - Mostly white with some tan fibers or off-whites

Sand - Light beige, tan, light brown, fawn

Adobe - Medium brown, camel

Jaspered Brown - Mostly brown with coarse white fibers

Red Mesa - Reddish brown, coppery, red-moorit

Mesa - Brown, moorit

Rio Grande - Dark brown-black, deep chocolate

Sombra - light grey/tan, mouse. Not really grey or brown

Pearl - Mostly white with some black fibers or off whites

Silver - Light grey

Blue - Light Grey with steel, metallic blue overtones

Storm - Dark Grey

Jaspered Black - Mostly black with coarse white fibers

Jet - Black with no white and little or no browning



N-CSA Color Data Past and Present

Color 1988
1998
Avg. to Date
White
45%
27%
34%
White/Tan
4%
6%
7%
Black
22%
40%
38%
Brown
1%
18%
9%
Dark Brown
2%
2%
1.7%
Grey
12%
4%
4.5%
Grey/Tan
2%
0%
0.6%
Blue
<1%
<1%
<1%
Badgerface
3%
10%
3.6%
Black & Tan
1%
2%
1.1%
Spots
3%
3%
2.7%
Multi
4%
1%
1%