Some color breeds only register horses with color that also meet specific pedigree criteria, others register animals based solely on color, regardless of parentage. A few pedigree-based color breeds, confronted with the reality of many animals born without the proper color even though they are from two registered parents, have modified their rules to allow registration of animals with the proper pedigree even if they do not possess the proper color.
For example, many different breeds, such as American Quarter Horses, Tennessee Walking Horses and American Saddlebreds come in the palomino color, as well as a wide variety of other colors. However, a color breed registry, such as the Palomino Horse Breeders Association (PHBA) , accepts only palomino horses--regardless of their particular breeds. Thus, a Palomino can be considered a color breed. Another example is the pinto horse color. Horses of many breeds can be registered as Pinto if it they have the correct spotting pattern. White horses also have their own color registry, one that includes cremello horses, but not grays.
Many horses eligible for registration with their own breed registry and are of a particular color are often "double registered" in both registries, often increasing their sale value by doing so.
On the other hand, Norwegian Fjord Horses, Appaloosas, American Paint Horses, Friesians and other breeds with distinct physical characteristics or pedigrees that also usually have distinctive or colorful coats might considered a color breed by some, they technically are a pedigree-based breed. For example, Appaloosas are usually spotted, but a solid-colored offspring of registered parents can still be a registered Appaloosa. Likewise, a solid-colored American Paint Horse that has registered parents may also be registered.
On the other hand, while Friesian breeders have deliberately bred to exclude chestnut horses, and will only register black animals, these black animals also must be Friesian by pedigree and no other bloodlines are allowed into the registry. The same is true of Norwegian Fjord Horses.