Genetic Color Terms
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
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
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
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
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
For Detailed information with great color photographs, download the "Guide to the Selection of
Navajo-Churro Sheep" - click here for a PDF.
***Information from N-CSA ***