The Purosangue Orientale or Puro Sangue Orientale (PSO) (en: “Oriental Purebred”), is a horse breed developed in the Kingdom of Italy by Royal Decree n° 2690 of 19 September 1875, which created a stud book dedicated to the breed. Beginning in 1864, the Italian Government had sent emissaries into Syria and Mesopotamia to purchase desert bredArabian horses directly from Bedouin tribes. Numerous stallions and mares were purchased and brought back to Sicily, many being destined for the Royal Remount Station in Catania.
The PSO constitutes the oldest officially recognised Italian breed. The Puro Sangue Orientale is a mesomorphic or mesodolichomorphic horse, with particularly harmonious forms. It closely resembles an Arabian horse, being however a little taller and with more substantial physique. Height is between 14.1 to 15.1 hands (57 to 61 inches, 145 to 155 cm), with some specimens reaching 15.3 hands (63 inches, 160 cm). Average height of males is 148 cm, cannon bone circumference is 19 cms and chest circumference is 174 cms. Its coat is usually bay, chestnut or gray. It is therefore similar to a Shagya or a Tersk horse. Today there are only 170 specimens of this horse, of which 150 live in Sicily. Sadly its numbers have been declining, and the Government Stud where it is bred is carrying out a policy of crossing with other strains of Arabian horses, causing the dilution of the qualities of the original Syrian desert bred strain.
These are the horse breeds considered to be wholly or partly of Italian origin.
Many have complex or obscure histories, so inclusion here does not necessarily imply that a breed is predominantly or exclusively Italian.