Camarillo White - W4

Quick Summary

Camarillo White is a dominant white coat color characterized by a completely white coat, mane, and tail, and is found exclusively in the Camarillo White Horse.

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Phenotype: Camarillo White is a dominant white coat color characterized by a completely white coat, mane, and tail.

Mode of Inheritance: Autosomal dominant

Alleles: N = Normal or non-Camarillo White, CW = Camarillo White

Breeds appropriate for testing: Camarillo White Horse

Explanation of Results:

  • Horses with N/N genotype will not be Camarillo White and cannot transmit a Camarillo White variant to their offspring.
  • Horses with N/CW genotype will be Camarillo White. They may transmit the Camarillo White variant to 50% of their offspring. Matings with N/N genotype will result in a 50% chance of producing a Camarillo White foal.
  • Horses with CW/CW genotype have not yet been observed and are likely embryonic lethal.


$40 one test per animal
+ $15 each additional coat color/type test on the same animal

Turnaround Time
At least 15 business days; may be delayed beyond 15 business days if sample requires additional testing, or a new sample is requested.
Additional Details

Multiple dominant white mutations have occurred in horses across different breeds. They are termed dominant white because one copy of these mutations results in an all white phenotype where two copies are mostly embryonic lethal.

The mutations causing dominant white in horses all occur in the KIT gene, a gene with a vital role in pigment cell biology. One of these mutations has been preserved through breeding and formed the basis for creation of a new breed with an all-white phenotype. Camarillo White Horses are the result of one such KIT gene mutation called W4, as it was the fourth dominant white mutation to be reported. A Southern California rancher named Adolfo Camarillo purchased Sultan, a white stallion born around 1912, and bred him to Morgan Horse mares to create white horses that became famous performers in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade and other local events. The Camarillo family kept the white horses until 1987 when they were dispersed at a public auction. In 1992 the Camarillo White Horse Association was formed to preserve the white horses descended from Sultan.

The Camarillo White mutation is caused by a single nucleotide change in KIT (c.2151C>G), this change in the DNA results in a change in the protein sequence and is thought to make the protein non-functional. KIT has crucial function for the development of blood, gonadal, and pigmentary tissues. Mutations that affect normal functioning of KIT gene products often result in lack of pigment cells (melanocytes) in the skin and hair follicles which leads to white patterning in horses known as dominant white. It is inherited in a dominant fashion in that horses with one copy of W4 will have the all white phenotype. However to date no horses with two copies have been identified it is thus likely that homozygosity is embryonic lethal.

Testing for the Camarillo White (W4) variant can help owners make breeding decisions. Mating of a carrier of Camarillo White (CW/N) to a non-Camarillo White (N/N) horse will result in a 50% chance of producing Camarillo White offspring.

Type of Sample


Type of Test
Coat Color and/or Type
Results Reported As
Test Result Camarillo White - W4
N/N Horse does not have the Camarillo White mutation.
CW/N Horse has Camarillo White mutation and will transmit this gene to 50% of offspring.
*Homozygous CW/CW horses have not been observed. The W4 mutation is likely to be lethal in utero.

Haase, B., Brooks, S. A., Schlumbaum, A., Azor, P. J., Bailey, E., Alaeddine, F., Mevissen, M., Burger, D., Poncet, P., Rieder S., & Leeb, T. (2007). Allelic Heterogeneity at the Equine KIT Locus in Dominant White (W) Horses. PLoS Genetics, 3(11). doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0030195