Iberian horse

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1743 engraving depicting an Iberian horse

The Iberian horse is a title given to a number of horse breeds native to the Iberian peninsula. At present, no fewer than 18 horse breeds are officially recognized[1][2][3]

Iberian horses are thought to be among the oldest types of domesticated horses. Modern Iberian breeds tend to be of a Baroque horse type that resemble their most famous member, the Andalusian horse, in conformation.

The Lusitano, Sorraia and Garrano are of Portuguese origin, and the remaining are of Spanish. These include the Asturcón, Burguete, Caballo de Monte del País Vasco, Pura Raza Gallega, Pura Raza Española (Andalusian horse), Hispano-Árabe, Hispano-Bretón, Jaca Navarra, Losino, Monchino and Pottoka, as well as the Cavall Mallorquí, Mallorquín and Menorquín (subsets of the Balearic breed[4]).[5] Outside the FAO list, but in the Spanish catalog, a spinoff from the Sorraia, the Marismeño, has also been identified living in the environs of the Doñana National Park [6]

In 2005, a distinctive primitive, feral breed was identified inside the same National Park, the Retuerta horse (Caballo de las retuertas).[7][8]

Roman writers mention in Hispania war horses, wild horses, and ''tieldones'' and small ''asturcones'' in the north.

List of commonly accepted Iberian horse breeds[edit]

Breed Country of registry Breeding method[9] Number (approx.)[10] Comments
Andalusian horse (Pura Raza Española) Spain Spain, other countries 199,852
Asturcon Spain Spain semiferal 2,319
Basque Mountain Horse Spain Spain semiferal > 600[1] meat horse
Burguete Spain Spain open field 4,814 Heavy work and meat horse. Has some mixture of Breton blood
Galician Pony (Pura Raza Gallega) Spain Spain semiferal 1,526 Under the term faco or del país there are a number (perhaps over 20.000 [11]) of closely related semiferal horses not on the Stud Book
Garrano Portugal Portugal semiferal >950[1]
Hispano-Árabe Spain Spain, other countries 7,286 Of mixed Spanish / Arabian horse blood
Hispano-Bretón Spain Spain open field 14,902 Work and meat. Of mixed Breton-native blood
Jaca Navarra Spain Spain semiferal 1,020
Losino Spain Spain semiferal 754
Lusitano Portugal Portugal, other countries 23,619[12] Includes Alter Real strain
Mallorquín Spain Spain 320
Marismeño Spain Spain semiferal 1,051
Menorquín Spain Spain 3,125
Mérens horse France France >7.000[1]
Monchino Spain Spain open field 782
Pirenenc Catalá Spain Spain open field 7,133 Still not on FAO list but recognized in Spain since 2012. The type has partly blood from French heavy breeds
Pottoka Spain Spain, France France some semiferal >2.600[1]
Retuerta horse (Caballo de las retuertas) Spain Spain feral 60-140 First described in 2005.[7] Official recognition as distinct breed in 2016 [13]
Sorraia Portugal Portugal feral >100[1] [14]

Procedures have been started to include the Serrano horse.[15] It's a very scarce (less than 40 individuals) mountain big pony variety


  1. ^ a b c d e f 'FAO breed list', accessed March 15, 2012, cites 3 Portuguese and 20 spanish breeds
  2. ^ 'R.D. 2129/2008'[permanent dead link], accessed March 13, 2012, which is the official Spanish list. Only fomento and en peligro de extinción sections, which are the iberian breeds, list 15 breeds. The remaining breeds are of well-known foreign blood, or like the deporte español are recent developments
  3. ^ Both lists are divergent, partly because the Spanish list is more recent-last changed July 2016- and partly because FAO list as different entities two Mallorquin horses -in Spanish and Catalan- as different breeds. The FAO lists also lacks another breed, Troton Español, which is bred solely in Mallorca
  4. ^ Genetic characterization of the Spanish Trotter horse breed using microsatellite markers, Genetics and Molecular Biology, accessed November 5, 2009.
  5. ^ Lopez, María S. et al.. "Mitochondrial DNA Insight On The Evolutionary History Of The Iberian Horses." Poroceedings of the XIV Plant and Animal Genome Conference, 2006. Web page accessed June 17, 2007 at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Royo, L.J., I. Álvarez, A. Beja-Pereira, A. Molina, I. Fernández, J. Jordana, E. Gómez, J. P. Gutiérrez, and F. Goyache (2005). "The Origins of Iberian Horses Assessed via Mitochondrial DNA". Journal of Heredity. 96 (6): 663–669. doi:10.1093/jhered/esi116. PMID 16251517. Retrieved 2008-12-15.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ a b The Retuertas horse; the "missing link" in the iberoamerican horse breed origin?, Vega-Plà et al 2005, available at eeap.org Archived 2014-04-07 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ (A. Rodero et al, 2008) needs full cite
  9. ^ Following classifications apply for the Breeding:
    • feral, at least on discovery
    • semi-feral. Roams free in an area and are only collected and managed once a year
    • Open Field: Grown in the field, with minimal management
  10. ^ For Spanish breeds, unless otherwise noted, we took the most actual data in 'the Spanish Official Breed Catalog on-line' (in spanish), accessed March 15, 2012. Data thus are from 2010 or 2011. Those gotten from FAO are data from 2001
  11. ^ 'La Voz de Galicia', in Spanish, accessed February 12, 2016
  12. ^ 'Fundaçao Alter Real' Archived 2012-03-26 at the Wayback Machine, in Portuguese, accessed May 16, 2012
  13. ^ "Boe BOE-A-2016-7639". Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  14. ^ Oelke, Hardy. "The Sorraia Horse, General Information". Sorraia Folheto Informativo. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  15. ^ 'Proceedings of the Regional Parliament of Madrid' (in Spanish) [permanent dead link]

External links[edit]