Swinhoe informs me that he examined two light- dun ponies of two Chinese breeds, viz., those of Shanghai and Amoy; both had the spinal stripe, and the latter an indistinct shoulder-stripe.
We thus see that in all parts of the world breeds of the horse as different as possible, when of a dun-colour (including under this term a wide range of tint from cream to dusty black), and rarely when almost white tinged with yellow, grey, bay, and chestnut, have the several above-specified stripes. Horses which are of a yellow colour with white mane and tail, and which are sometimes called duns, I have never seen with stripes. (2/37. See also on this point 'The Field' July 27, 1861 page 91.)
From reasons which will be apparent in the chapter on Reversion, I have endeavoured, but with poor success, to discover whether duns, which are so much oftener striped than other coloured horses, are ever produced from the crossing of two horses, neither of which are duns. Most persons to whom I have applied believe that one parent must be dun; and it is generally asserted that, when this is the case, the dun-colour and the stripes are strongly inherited. (2/38. 'The Field' 1861 pages 431, 493, 545.) One case, however, has fallen under my own observation of a foal from a black mare by a bay horse, which when fully grown was a dark fallow-dun and had a narrow but plain spinal stripe. Hofacker (2/39. 'Ueber die Eigenschaften' etc. 1828 s. 13, 14.) gives two instances of mouse-duns (Mausrapp) being produced from two parents of different colours and neither duns.
The stripes of all kinds are generally plainer in the foal than in the adult horse, being commonly lost at the first shedding of the hair. (2/40. Von Nathusius 'Vortrage uber Viehzucht' 1872 135.) Colonel Poole believes that "the stripes in the Kattywar breed are plainest when the colt is first foaled; they then become less and less distinct till after the first coat is shed, when they come out as strongly as before; but certainly often fade away as the age of the horse increases." Two other accounts confirm this fading of the stripes in old horses in India. One writer, on the other hand, states that colts are often born without stripes, but that they appear as the colt grows older. Three authorities affirm that in Norway the stripes are less plain in the foal than in the adult. In the case described by me of the young foal which was narrowly striped over nearly all its body, there was no doubt about the early and complete disappearance of the stripes. Mr. W.W. Edwards examined for me twenty-two foals of race-horses, and twelve had the spinal stripe more or less plain; this fact, and some other accounts which I have received, lead me to believe that the spinal stripe often disappears in the English race-horse when old. With natural species, the young often exhibit characters which disappear at maturity.]
The stripes are variable in colour, but are always darker than the rest of the body. They do not by any means always coexist on the different parts of the body: the legs may be striped without any shoulder-stripe, or the converse case, which is rarer, may occur; but I have never heard of either shoulder or leg-stripes without the spinal stripe. The latter is by far the commonest of all the stripes, as might have been expected, as it characterises the other seven or eight species of the genus. It is remarkable that so trifling a character as the shoulder-stripe being double or triple should occur in such different breeds as Welch and Devonshire ponies, the Shan pony, heavy cart-horses, light South American horses, and the lanky Kattywar breed. Colonel Hamilton Smith believes that one of his five supposed primitive stocks was dun-coloured and striped; and that the stripes in all the other breeds result from ancient crosses with this one primitive dun; but it is extremely improbable that different breeds living in such distant quarters of the world should all have been crossed with any one aboriginally distinct stock. Nor have we any reason to believe that the effects of a cross at a very remote period would be propagated for so many generations as is implied on this view.