The term Piebald means “of different colors”. This term is usually associated with horses, though we normally refer to such horses as pintos, paints, or Appaloosas. A piebald animal is one whose hair or fur has a spotted, rather than a solid color pattern. Depending on what part of the U.S you are from piebald deer are sometimes referred to as pintos.
A genetic variation or “defect” is what produces the piebald condition in deer. It is not a result of parasites or diseases. Piebald deer are colored white and brown similar to a pinto horse. Sometimes they appear almost entirely white.
Many piebald deer have some of the following conditions associated with the coloration; bowing of the nose (Roman nose), short legs, arching spine (scoliosis), and short lower jaws.
It is said that Piebalds consist of less than 1% of the deer population
Many people confuse the piebald deer with the albino deer.
Albino deer are totally white, and true albinos have pink eyes from a lack of pigement in their eyes. Albanism results from recessive genes.
White deer are naturally easily mistaken for albinos, which they are not. The true albino, besides having all white hair, also has pink eyes and pink hooves, something the white deer do not have.
Both the white deer and the albino deer, and perhaps, to a lesser extent the piebald deer, are at a disadvantage in the wild as they are easily spotted except in conditions of heavy snow. This lack of camouflage, along with poorer health keep the population of these abnormally colored deer low.
Melanistic deer are the complete opposite of an Albino. Being very dark, often approaching totally black. Melanism results from overproduction of pigment and is far less common than albinism or Piebald.