The Appaloosa is best known for its colourful leopard spotted coat, and although, these horses are domesticated the spirit of freedom of a truly wild horse can be seen in this breed. There is a wide range of body types within this horse, stemming from the influence of multiple breeds of horses throughout its history. Each horse’s colour pattern is genetically the result of various spotting patterns overlaid on top of one of several recognized base coat colours. The colour pattern of the Appaloosa is of great interest to those who study equine colour genetics, as it and several other physical characteristics are linked to the leopard complex mutation (LP). Appaloosas are prone to develop equine recurrent uveitis and congenital stationary night blindness the latter linked to leopard complex.
The Spanish probably obtained spotted horses through trade with southern Austria and Hungary, where the colour pattern was known to exist. The Conquistadors and Spanish settlers brought vividly marked and spotted horses to America when arriving for the first time. These horse almost certainly had some Arabian blood line possible mixed with other horse that had spot. It is through these early imported horses to America that we see the Appaloosa patterns and Arabian horse characteristics