ICAA defines Purebred as an individual horse with eight generations of like ancestors without any outcrossing to another breed.   ​
Therefore, the Appaloosa Purebred is emerging, but does not yet exist.


Desirable Traits and Characteristics of the ICAA Ideal Appaloosa


  • An ICAA-accepted Appaloosa Coat Pattern easily recognized from 15 feet away as "Appaloosa" 
  • White sclera encircling the brown or hazel iris of the eyes
  •  Mottling of the skin around the eyes, ​ muzzle, sheath/udder, and under the tail 
  • Appaloosa striped hooves on legs without white markings  
  • White stockings no higher than the middle of the knee or hock  ​
  • Height at least 14 hands high at the age of five years 
  • Manes and tails can range from short and sparse to long and full
  • Prominent, well defined withers
  • Back having a short appearance with a long underline
  • Sloping croup
  • Long, sloping hip
  • Deep heart girth and a deep chest
  • Long, sloping shoulders
  • Clean-cut throatlatch
  • Straight, lean head
  • Long, wide forearm and short, flat cannons
  • Long, wide gaskins and clean, wide, straight hocks
  • Adequate length and slope to pasterns
  • Hard hooves with wide heels, of adequate size to support the horse ​
  • Free from any unsoundness and/or genetic defects

Artwork by Laura Lyon

Eight Generation Concept

ICAA uses the full-generation concept of eight generations with no out-crossing to produce a true purebred Appaloosa, following the generally accepted genealogy method for generation identification.   

  • The horse itself is not counted as a generation.      
  • The horse's parents are the first generation.  
  •  The grandparents are the second generation.  
  • The great-grandparents are the third generation, and so on.

It is the ICAA Appaloosa breeder's responsibility to choose quality Appaloosa stallions and mares that complement each other, and to eventually produce offspring of Appaloosas eight generations deep and deeper, with each new generation being better all-around than either parent.​

Learn More

For more information on the required characteristics and traits, and on traits that will make a horse ineligible for registration with ICAA, please go to our Registration pages (where you will find a dropdown to Registry Classifications, Requirements (linked below), Ineligible, Genetic Testing, What to Submit, Calculating Rank/Classification, Characteristics, and Photo Do's and Don'ts).