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

Last updated: March 22, 2024

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

Finding the perfect name for your dun horse is more than just a task; it’s an opportunity to reflect their unique beauty and spirit. Whether you’re naming a male, a female, or a red dun, the right name can capture the essence of their distinctive coat and character.

In this article, I’ve gathered a wide array of names that resonate with the special qualities of dun horses. This list spans traditional to imaginative, ensuring there’s a fitting choice for every type of dun horse.

Whether you’re drawn to names that echo the earthy tones of their coat or prefer something that speaks to their personality, you’ll find inspiration here. Let’s dive into this collection and discover a name that perfectly mirrors your dun horse’s personality and striking appearance.

Dun StallionsDun Mares
BusterCleopatra (Cleo)Honey Flames
DukeDollyRed Bloom
Little JoeQueenScarlet
KingDuchessRed Baron
TigerPrincessCherry Bliss
picture of a bay dun horse,

What Makes Dun Horses Special

Dun horses stand out in the equestrian world, not just for their beauty but also for their unique characteristics. In this section, we’ll dive into what makes these horses so special, focusing on their distinctive coat patterns and colors, their features compared to other horse breeds, and a peek into their fascinating history.

Coat Patterns and Colors of Dun Horses

The most striking feature of a dun horse is its coat. Dun horses display a variety of colors, but they all share a common trait: a “dun dilution” gene. This gene lightens the base coat color while leaving the mane, tail, and lower legs darker. The most common dun shades are:

  • Classic Dun: A tan or gold body with a dark mane and tail.
  • Red Dun: A lighter red or copper body color with darker red markings.
  • Grullo (or Blue Dun): A smokey or slate blue body with darker hair.

What sets dun horses apart are their “primitive markings.” These include a dorsal stripe running down the middle of the back, sometimes accompanied by horizontal striping on the legs, and occasionally shoulder stripes or shadowing. These markings hark back to their wild ancestors and are rarely seen in other horse breeds.

Picture of the primitive striping on a dun horse.

Distinctive Features Compared to Other Breeds

Apart from their coat colors, dun horses have other unique features. They tend to have a robust and muscular build, making them strong and durable. Their heads are often well-proportioned with alert, expressive eyes. Many dun horses also showcase a calm and gentle temperament, which makes them excellent choices for both novice and experienced riders.

A Brief History of Dun Horses

The history of dun horses is as rich as their appearance. These horses have ancient roots, with evidence of dun-colored horses appearing in cave paintings dating back thousands of years. Historically, dun horses were revered by various cultures for their strength and endurance. They were often the preferred mounts of warriors and explorers, thanks to their ability to adapt to various climates and terrains.

Dun horses have not only been a part of human history but have also contributed to the diversity of horse breeds. Their unique genetics have played a role in the development of many other horse breeds, making them an integral part of the equestrian world.

Names for Male Dun Horses

Choosing the perfect name for your male dun horse can be a delightful yet challenging task. These majestic animals, with their unique coat colors and gentle demeanors, deserve names that reflect their personality and beauty. Let’s explore a range of names for male dun horses, grouped by themes, and provide some tips on picking a name that suits your horse’s individual characteristics.

Nature-Inspired Names

Nature offers a wealth of inspiration for naming your dun horse. Consider these nature-inspired names that echo the earthy tones and robust spirit of these beautiful creatures:

  1. Canyon – Reminiscent of the vast, rugged landscapes.
  2. Aspen – After the resilient and striking tree.
  3. River – Symbolizing fluidity and strength.
  4. Hawk – For a horse with a keen and alert demeanor.
  5. Forest – Perfect for a horse with a deep, earthy coat color.

Strong and Majestic Names

A name that signifies strength and majesty can be a great fit for a male dun horse, celebrating their powerful presence:

  1. Titan – Suggesting immense strength and size.
  2. Thor – After the Norse god, symbolizing might.
  3. Maverick – For a horse with an independent spirit.
  4. Blaze – Suitable for a horse with a fiery personality.
  5. Kingston – Connoting royalty and dignity.

Classic and Timeless Names

Some names never go out of style and suit a wide range of personalities and appearances:

  1. Maximus – Classic and strong.
  2. Duke – Noble and dignified.
  3. Oliver – Timeless and elegant.
  4. Buddy – For a friendly and approachable horse.
  5. Charlie – A name that’s both charming and traditional.

Tips for Choosing the Right Name

  • Consider Personality: Observe your horse’s behavior and characteristics. A playful horse might suit a name like “Buddy,” while a more majestic horse might be a “Titan.”
  • Look at Appearance: The coat color, size, and build can inspire a fitting name. For instance, “Aspen” could suit a horse with a lighter dun coat.
  • Say It Out Loud: Names should be easy to call out and resonate well when spoken.
  • Think of the Bond: Choose a name that feels right for the bond you share with your horse.

Remember, the name you choose for your horse is a reflection of both his identity and your relationship with him. Take your time, be creative, and enjoy the process of naming your magnificent male dun horse!

Picture of a dun foal.

Names for Female Dun Horses

Selecting a name for a female dun horse is a special task that requires thoughtfulness and creativity. These graceful creatures, with their distinct coat colors and gentle nature, deserve names as elegant and unique as they are. Below, we’ve curated a list of names for female dun horses, categorized to suit different personalities and traits, along with advice on how to choose a name that truly resonates with your horse’s individual charm.

Elegant and Sophisticated Names

Elegance in a horse can be reflected in a name that carries a sense of sophistication and grace:

  1. Aurora – For a horse with a majestic presence, like the dawn.
  2. Serena – Signifying calmness and tranquility.
  3. Isabella – A name that’s as regal as it is graceful.
  4. Vienna – After the beautiful and classical city.
  5. Celeste – Evoking the serenity and beauty of the sky.

Playful and Spirited Names

For the dun horse with a playful or spirited personality, these names can capture their lively essence:

  1. Zara – A name with zest and energy.
  2. Piper – For a horse with a peppy and cheerful spirit.
  3. Bella – A fun and affectionate name.
  4. Luna – For a horse with a whimsical, moon-like charm.
  5. Ruby – Perfect for a horse with a vibrant personality.

Nature-Inspired Names

Nature can be a great inspiration for naming your female dun horse, reflecting their natural beauty and connection to the outdoors:

  1. Willow – For a horse with grace and flexibility.
  2. Ivy – Signifying resilience and growth.
  3. Daisy – A cheerful and bright name.
  4. Amber – Reflecting the warm tones of a dun coat.
  5. Sierra – After the strong and majestic mountains.

Tips for Choosing the Right Name

  • Reflect on Her Traits: Consider your horse’s temperament, whether she’s more serene like “Aurora” or lively like “Piper.”
  • Observe Her Appearance: The color and pattern of her coat, her size, and her build can offer naming inspiration.
  • Name Compatibility: The name should feel natural when you call her and should suit her interactions with other horses.
  • Personal Connection: Choose a name that feels special to you and builds a connection with your horse.

The name you choose for your female dun horse should celebrate her unique character and the special bond you share. Take your time to find a name that feels just right, enhancing the wonderful qualities of your equine companion.

picture of a dun mare and dun foal,

Names for Red Dun Horses

Red dun horses are a captivating sight, with their striking reddish-tan coats that set them apart in the equine world. These horses carry the dun gene, but it manifests in a distinctive reddish hue, different from the classic dun. This unique coloration, coupled with the standard dun markings like dorsal stripes and leg barring, gives the red duns a remarkable and eye-catching appearance. Choosing a name for a red dun horse should celebrate this uniqueness. Below is a curated list of names inspired by their distinctive color and character, along with considerations to keep in mind while naming these magnificent animals.

Names Inspired by Their Reddish Hue

  1. Copper – Reflecting the rich, warm tones of their coat.
  2. Sienna – After the earthy, reddish-brown color.
  3. Autumn – Evoking the warm, russet colors of fall.
  4. Sorrel – A term often used for reddish horses.
  5. Ginger – Perfect for a horse with a spicy, vibrant personality.

Names Reflecting Strength and Beauty

  1. Ruby – For a horse as precious as the gemstone.
  2. Scarlett – Signifying passion and energy.
  3. Phoenix – After the mythical bird associated with fire and rebirth.
  4. Blaze – For a horse with a fiery spirit.
  5. Rusty – A nod to their unique coat color, with a hint of nostalgia.

Nature-Inspired Names

  1. Amber – Resembling the fossilized tree resin with a warm hue.
  2. Sunny – Reflecting their bright and cheerful demeanor.
  3. Maple – After the tree known for its reddish leaves.
  4. Crimson – Capturing the deep, rich reds of nature.
  5. Clay – Symbolizing the natural earth tones.

Considerations for Naming Red Dun Horses

  • Highlight Their Coat: Choose a name that complements the unique reddish-tan color of your red dun horse.
  • Personality Matters: Observe your horse’s personality. A bolder horse might suit “Blaze,” while a gentler one might be more of a “Maple.”
  • Easy to Call: Pick a name that’s easy to pronounce and call out. This practical aspect makes day-to-day interactions smoother.
  • Long-Term Fit: Consider how the name will suit your horse over time as their personality and your bond with them continue to evolve.

Naming a red dun horse offers a wonderful opportunity to be creative and thoughtful. The name you choose should be a reflection of their unique beauty and your special connection with them.

Names for Dun Horses Based on Coat Pattern.

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. That’s why bay duns are also called zebra duns. 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.

Names for dun horses, 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, I 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.

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,

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

YouTube video


Selecting the right name for your dun horse is more than just a formality; it’s an integral part of your journey together. A name is not just a label but a reflection of your horse’s identity and the unique bond you share.

Throughout this guide, “101 Good Names for Dun Horses: Males, Females, and Red Duns,” we’ve explored a variety of names suitable for different types of dun horses – each with its own significance and charm. I encourage you to choose a name that resonates deeply with your horse’s individual personality, appearance, and the special characteristics that make them unique.

Whether inspired by their coat color, temperament, or your personal experiences with them, the perfect name can enhance the connection between you and your equine companion. As you embark on this exciting process, remember that the best names often come from the heart.

And once you’ve found that perfect name, we’d love to hear from you! Share with us the name you’ve chosen for your dun horse and the story behind it. Your experiences can inspire other horse enthusiasts in their own journey of finding the perfect name for their majestic friends.


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 limits 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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