Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Pinto and Paint Horses

Pinto vs Paint Horses

People often get confused with the pinto and Paint horses for both are horses with white markings. These terms are often used reciprocally which is obviously wrong. When we talk about a pinto horse, we are talking about a pattern or color of the horse. If we talk about a Paint horse, then it is about a breed of the horse.

Paint Horse

A Paint horse is a breed of horse. The registered Paint horses are part of the American Paint Horse Association. In order to get registered, the sire and dam must be registered. Pinto coloring is not essential for registration. The Association maintains a breeding stock for Paint horses. They may or may not have pinto coloration. They are horses of pure bloodline. Quarter Horses or Thoroughbreds which lack the pinto markings form the base of their bloodline. However, a majority of the Paint horses have pinto markings. A spotted horse will be registered as a Paint only when its ancestry is known.

Pinto horses
Pinto horses are horses which have spots or patches similar to the pinto bean all over their body. The coat is the color of the skin, and the patch is a portion which lacks pigmentation and so appears white. It can be of any breed. It is due to a gene which causes albino coloration in some parts of the skin. The term “pinto” just denotes color; it can appear in other animals also. A cat, dog, or goats can also be pinto. It just denotes a patch of white skin with normal texture. The pinto coloration is genetically determined or hereditary in nature. This character is governed by a set of recessive genes.
Pinto horses are registered according to their color. Their breed is not taken into account. They are registered under Pinto Horse Association of America. This association accepts the registration of pinto horses according to set rules regarding color.
A pinto horse may have a wide variety of colorations as: piebald, skewbald, tricolored, or colored. According to their pattern they may be categorized as Tobiano, Overo, Tovero, Sabino, Splashed White, and many more.
Many Paint horses can be labeled as pinto horses, and many pinto horses may be labeled as Paints. However, not all pintos are Paints and even all Paints are also not pintos.


1.Pinto is a color of a horse while Paint is a breed of horse.
2.Pintos and Paints differ in their bloodlines.
3.Pinto is a common term for all spotted horses.
4.Paint horses may have different coat colorations as well while pinto horses may only have white patches.

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  1. There is a difference between regular Paint Horse registration and Breeding Stock Registration, and the requirements have changed: they no longer accept Thoroughbred horses into the Paint Horse registry. The (sort of) exception to this is Appendix registered Quarter Horses.

    A horse that has the straight bloodlines to be registered as a Paint Horse that is a solid color is registered as Breeding Stock only (as that horse may have offspring that are marked). If they have two or three-color coats, they will be registered as a Paint Horse.

    Also, a horse that is the offspring of two registered Quarter Horses that somehow (through recessive genes, etc) turns up with spotted markings will not be registered as a Quarter Horse, but will be moved over to the Paint Horse registry.

    Basically, a Paint Horse (registered as such)is a Quarter Horse with a two or three-colored coat, that’s all.

  2. One caveat: as far as I know, there is no “Pinto” horse registry (although some groups have tried to get one going). A spotted horse of any other breed besides Quarter Horse is simply registered within that breed’s registry, if, of course, it is eligible to be registered.

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