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Pearl is a rare dilution that is probably found on the same gene/locus as the cream gene, MATP. It was also known under the name Barlink Factor, after a paint horse stallion Barlink Macho Man, who was at some point seen as the foundation horse for this dilution. But by now we know the mutation itself is far older, probably originating somewhere in the old Iberian breeds. It is currently found in several different breeds, including the gypsy horse, Pura Raza Española, Lusitano, quarter horses, paints and peruvian pasos.

It is important to know the pearl dilution is likely situated on the same locus as the cream dilution, and therefore they interact in a different manner.

  • CCR = cream
  • Cprl = pearl
  • Cn = absence of cream and pearl

Pearl is recessive and abbreviated as prl. Some experienced breeders say they can identify a pearl carrier (prl/n) by its sheen, but otherwise pearl is not seen when heterozygous. The dilution becomes obvious when a horse is homozygous for prl, or when it is heterozygous for both prl and cream (CR/prl).