On of the most striking features of the Swedish Ardennais, more commonly known simply as the Ardennais, is the beautiful roaning pattern most typically associated with the breed. While all solid colors except black are accepted, most of the breed is a strawberry or bay roan coloration with black points. The points are considered to be the outside areas of the horse's body which would include the face, tail, legs and the mane. In most Ardennais the mane, tail, face and legs will be either a reddish black or a dark black, but the feathering on the legs is often more of a red or light color, providing a very unique color contrast.
Roan is a very specific color and is actually produced not by any particular uniform color of coat but by amounts of white and colored hairs mixed together. In other words each hair shaft has a color of either white or red, which when combined on the horse gives an appearance of a somewhat shaded white and red, leading to the strawberry name. There are also blue roans, which are a mixture of white and black or gray hairs, but not within the Ardennais breed. The Ardennais with black points may have some blue roan patterning where the legs meet with the body, also around the head and tail. Roan horses are always born roan but the variations in the coat color will depend on the age of the horse, the winter or summer coat as well as the genetics behind the roaning pattern. Roan horses, especially the Ardennais, do not have any patches of pure white on the body and are not pinto in coloration.
Roaning is a genetic determination that is caused by at least one gene for the roaning pattern passed from either the mare or stallion. Roaning is a dominant gene so as long as either the stallion or mare is roan there is a chance that the offspring will be roan. There is no chance that a stallion and mare that are solid colored can produce a roan, since by definition the gene, which is dominant, would be expressed if it was present. Two roan parents will not always produce a roan offspring, there is a one in four chance that the offspring will not have roaning gene if it inherits a recessive color gene from each one of the parents. These solid colored Ardennes they can produce a roan foal if bred with a roan colored Ardennais and the foal inherits the dominant gene from the roan parent.
Since the Ardennais breed is a red roan or strawberry roan breed, the horses must have a base coat of sorrel (also known as chestnut) or bay. Bay roans look the same as red roans but they have the darker points, just like a bay horse looks like a dark chestnut but with dark points. Since the Ardennais cannot be black, there is no chance to have a blue roan since blue roan requires a black base coat color.