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101 Good Names for Dun Horses: Males, Females, and Red Duns

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Dun horses are special and deserve a fitting name. They come in many contrasting and unique looks, and their coat patterns provide an excellent basis to start your name search. Below we share some of our favorite names for dun horses.

Dun StallionsDun Mares
BusterCleopatra (Cleo)Honey Flames
DukeDollyRed Bloom
Little JoeQueenScarlet
KingDuchessRed Baron
TigerPrincessCherry Bliss

It’s not easy to choose a name for dun horses, but coat color, the dun pattern, and personality are good starting points. You may find it helpful to have a basic understanding of dun horses before choosing a name.


Some facts about dun horses

Duns come in many different shades, and the primitive markings aren’t the same on all duns. Duns are one of the equine color patterns that give the horse species its beautiful diversity.

Their unique color pattern is due to a dilution gene “D.” The gene is dominant, i.e., if either the mare or dam has it, the offspring will have it as well. Because of the dun genes’ dominance, more than 60 horse breeds produce the dun color pattern.

I’ve always thought of duns as what horses would’ve looked like if humans hadn’t domesticated them. Dun horses are believed to go back to prehistoric times, as evident by cave paintings. They are also closely related to wild horses such as the “Przewalski” and Mongolian wild horse.

picture of a bay dun horse,

Dun horse names based on color

Choosing a color-based name for your dun horse gives you a lot of options. That’s because the three base color coats of horses (red, black, and bay) are all found in dun horses.

The most well-known dun color is the bay dun. It’s what you would expect a classic tan bay horse with a dark mane, tail, and primitive markings to look like. This color pattern is confused with buckskin by novice horse owners.

Primitive markings are characteristic dun stripes along the spine, the forelegs, and faint ones on the shoulders. Duns typically also have a darkly “shaded” forehead.

These stripes especially contrast with the bright body color of the bay dun. It’s why bay duns are also called the zebra dun. They may have a light, gold body color that reflects well in the sun, or they may be a darker tan shade. You can see our article on how horses are related to zebras.

Another popular dun color is red or claybank dun. Red duns have a peach, reddish color. Their base coat color is chestnut. Instead of black manes, tails, and primitive markings, their light tan bodies contrast with dark red markings, and the overall appearance is stunning.

The third but much more rare dun color is the grulla. Grulla horses or grullas have a black base coat color. The dun gene acts to give them a variety of color combinations. Along with primitive markings, grullas also have unique mouse-colored points over their bodies.

picture of a grulla horse,

Note that multiple terms are informally used to describe the same grulla color. One grulla shade is the silver grulla. They have light, almost white bodies, while their dark base color clearly stands out on their head, legs, and tail.

Two other variations of the grulla are the blue and gray duns. The former have blue-tinted, grayish bodies. They are often confused with blue roans, which have a different color pattern. Gray duns have a darker skin tone, but their primitive markings hint at their wild origins as with all dun horses.

Here are some excellent dun horse names, irrespective of gender:

  • Peanut
  • Cougar
  • Dunny
  • Coco
  • Penny
  • Sandy
  • Sahara
  • Biscuit
  • Toffee
  • Timber
  • Smoky
  • Cookie
Picture of horses

Famous dun horse names

It’s not difficult to look back and find that many 20th-century horse prodigies were duns. Below we share some such prominent dun horses and their titles (highlighted in bold).

Doc Bar is one of the most successful cutting Quarter Horse sires of all time, and many of his famous offspring were dun horses. Among these, Doc’s Starlight, Doc’s Playmate, and Doc’s Oak were well-known Quarter Horses.

Doc O’Lena was also Doc Bar’s offspring and an NCHA Futurity champion. He earned his owners over $21,000 and further sired dozens of equine champions, including another futurity champion, Lenaette.

Smart Little Lena was also sired by Doc O’Lena and was the first NCHA Triple Crown winner. Lena was best known for his successful career in the cutting industry in the 1980s. Up until the year 2010, his earnings of $643,275 made him the record-holder of the cutting sport.

Smart Little Lena was no ordinary sire either. His progenies have won honors in nearly all major equine events such as the NRCHA and NRHA. In the NCHA alone, they have earned more than $50 million. Some notable mentions are Two Two Smart, Smart War O’Lena, ImASmartLittleSugar, and Barb A Doc.

If you think these names sound strange, check out our article “Why are racehorse names so weird?

Zippos Mr. Good Bar is the NSBA Hall of Fame and American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee. He is most remembered for siring the legendary champion Vital Signs Are Good, thought by many to be among the most significant American Quarter Horse Association competitors.

Top Deck was another dun horse famous for his breeding record. He sired over 400 Quarter Horse foals that earned a total of 15 world championships. Some of his well-known descendants include Top Flight, Moon Deck, Go Man Go, and Jet Deck.

You have likely noticed that including pedigree names or part of them in a dun horse’s name is pretty standard. If you have the pedigree of your dun horse, it’s a good idea to relate its name to one or more of its ancestors.

A few of my friends are reluctant to choose pedigree-based horse names, as most of the names don’t seem to sound good. However, looking at these 13 incredible Triple Crown champions, I think that “witty” names are more than acceptable in the horse community,

picture of a dun mare and dun foal,

Male and female dun horse names.

Horses have unique personalities, and there aren’t necessarily any traits restricted to one gender. However, many horses display behavior that brings a particular gender to mind. In that case, you may want to associate gender with your stallion or mare’s name.

If your stallion or gelding has a particularly masculine behavior, like having a short temper or being difficult to tame, a gentle title might give off the wrong first impressions.

Similarly, owners whose mares bring a feminine equine personality to mind, like being temperamental when in heat or just generally docile, may choose to give them appropriately non-masculine-sounding names.

The dun horses we’ve owned always seem to have a calm temperament and are smart. They typically make good trail riding horses and are surefooted. I can’t say it has anything to do with the dun gene, or rather it’s just a coincidence.

Picture of the dorsal stripe on a dun quarter horse filly.

Name for dun mares and fillies.

  • Ladybug
  • Dawn
  • Stella
  • Yin Yang
  • Dancer
  • Pepper
  • Rapunzel
  • Bella
  • Fae
  • Autumn
  • Mademoiselle
  • Sierra
  • Ember
  • Amber
  • Summer
  • Lassie
  • Queenie
  • Cinder
  • Alexia
  • Tigress
  • Evie

Name for dun stallions and geldings. 

  • Duke
  • Dude
  • Archie
  • Dragon
  • Sergei
  • Major
  • Horatio
  • Damien
  • Sailor
  • Alder
  • Magnus
  • Sargeant
  • Lecter
  • Winter
  • Felix
  • Samson
  • Zeus
  • Señor
  • Captain
  • Xavier

Names for red duns

  • Strawberry
  • Ambrose
  • Burning Beau
  • Sparky
  • Crimson Wind
  • Sir Tiger
  • Phoenix
  • Volcano
  • Crispy
  • Rose
  • Almond
  • Scorch
  • Torch
  • Simmons
  • Chips

Below is a YouTube video that covers equine colors and marking including duns.


There are many varieties of dun horses, and finding the perfect name can require some thinking. Hopefully, this article gave you some good ideas for your horse’s name.

You can name your dun based on its impressive features or after a famous dun horse or its ancestors. You can also choose a gender-specific name if you feel like it.

Remember, there are no strict regulations regarding a horse’s name. If you can’t find a good name for your horse anywhere, be creative and give your dun a unique handle that you think fits.


What are some cool horse names?

Throughout the years’ people have come up with some really cool names for horses. One of my favorite racehorse names is Eclipse; a cool name for a palomino mare with a long mane is Rapunzel. Some other cool horse names are Duke, Flint, Bucky, and Wrangler.

What do you name a buckskin horse?

There are a lot of good names for buckskin horses, such as bucky, buckwheat, dusty, and buttermilk. My favorite buckskin horse we owned was named scout, which I think fits his color and personality well.

Why are racehorse names so weird?

Racehorses are known for their clever and weird names this is the result of strict naming rules for Thoroughbreds. One rule includes limiting each individual’s name to 18 characters and another limit using the names of previous Grade I stake winners.
To read more about racehorse names check out this article: Why are Racehorse Names so Weird? 15 Funny Examples!

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