List of horse breeds

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Light or saddle horse breeds
Heavy or draft horse breeds

The following list of horse and pony breeds includes standardized breeds, some strains within breeds that are considered distinct populations, types of horses with common characteristics that are not necessarily standardized breeds but are sometimes described as such, and terms groupings of several breeds with similar characteristics.

While there is no scientifically accepted definition of the term "breed",[1] a breed is generally defined as having distinct true-breeding characteristics over a number of generations. Its members may be called purebred. In most cases, bloodlines of horse breeds are recorded with a breed registry. The concept is somewhat flexible in horses, as open stud books are created for recording pedigrees of horse breeds that are not yet fully true-breeding.

Registries are considered the authority as to whether a given breed is listed as a "horse" or a "pony". There are also a number of "color breed", sport horse, and gaited horse registries for horses with various phenotypes or other traits, which admit any animal fitting a given set of physical characteristics, even if there the trait is not a true-breeding characteristic. Other recording entities or specialty organizations may recognize horses from multiple breeds, thus, for the purposes of this article, such animals are classified as a "type" rather than a "breed".

Horse breeds[edit]

In some cultures and for some competition-sanctioning organizations, a horse that normally matures less than about 145 cm or 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm) when fully grown may be classified as a "pony". However, unless the principal breed registry or breed standard describes the breed as a pony, it is listed in this section, even if some or all representatives are small or have some pony characteristics. Ponies are listed in the § Pony breeds section below.





Pony breeds[edit]

If a breed is described as a "pony" by the breed standard or principal breed registry, it is listed in this section, even if some individuals have horse characteristics. All other breeds are listed in the § Horse breeds section above.

(Because of this designation by the preference of a given breed registry, most miniature horse breeds are listed as "horses", not ponies.)



Color "breeds"[edit]

There are some registries that accept horses (and sometimes ponies and mules) of almost any breed or type for registration. Color is either the only criterion for registration or the primary criterion. These are called "color breeds", because unlike "true" horse breeds, there are few other physical requirements, nor is the stud book limited in any fashion. As a general rule, the color also does not always breed on (in some cases due to genetic impossibility), and offspring without the stated color are usually not eligible for recording with the color breed registry. There are breeds that have color that usually breeds "true" as well as distinctive physical characteristics and a limited stud book. These horses are true breeds that have a preferred color, not color breeds, and include the Friesian horse, the Cleveland Bay, the Appaloosa, and the American Paint Horse.

The best-known "color breed" registries that accept horses from many different breeds are for the following colors:

  • Buckskin: a color which cannot breed "true" due to the cream gene which creates it being an incomplete dominant
  • Palomino: a color which cannot breed "true" due to the cream gene which creates it being an incomplete dominant
  • Pinto: there exists a registry for Pinto-colored horses of varying breeds, distinct from the American Paint Horse registry, though some qualifying horses may be registered in both.
  • White: some of these animals are registered in the United States with the American creme and white horse registry, which was once called an "Albino" registry until it was understood that true albino does not exist in horses. (see White (horse) and Dominant white for details)

Crossbred registration[edit]

The distinction is hotly debated between a standardized breed, a developing breed with an open studbook, a registry of recognized crossbred horses, and a designer crossbred. For the purposes of this list, certain groups of horses that have an organization or registry that records individual animals for breeding purposes, at least in some nations, but does not clearly fall to either the breed or type categories are listed here. This list does not include organizations that record horses strictly for competition purposes.

  • AQPS ("Autre Que Pur-Sang"), French designation for riding horses "other than Thoroughbred," usually referring to the Anglo-Arabian, Selle Français and other Thoroughbred crosses. There is a registry for AQPS horses in France.
  • Arabo-friesian
  • Friesian Sporthorse (a type of Friesian cross)
  • German Warmblood or ZfDP, collective term for any of the various warmblood horses of Germany, of which some may be registered with the nationwide German Horse Breeding Society (ZfDP).
  • Gypsy horse, also called "Gypsy Vanner," "Vanner Horse," "Gypsy Cob," "Irish Cob," "Coloured Cob", and Tinker horse.
  • Indian Half-bred, a half-blood type from India
  • Part-Arabian, a variety of breeds and crossbreeds with a significant amount of documentable Arabian blood, but not pure Arab.
  • Spanish Norman
  • ZfDP, see German Warmblood, above.

Types of horse[edit]

A "type" of horse is not a breed but is used here to categorize groups of horses or horse breeds that are similar in appearance (phenotype) or use. A type usually has no breed registry, and often encompasses several breeds. However, in some nations, particularly in Europe, there is a recording method or means of studbook selection for certain types to allow them to be licensed for breeding. Horses of a given type may be registered as one of several different recognized breeds, or a grouping may include horses that are of no particular pedigree but meet a certain standard of appearance or use.

Modern types[edit]

  • Baroque horse, includes heavily muscled, powerful, yet agile Classical dressage breeds such as the Lipizzaner, Friesian, Andalusian, and Lusitano.
  • Cob (horse), a body type of small, sturdy, compact and powerful riding horse with a number of breeds and partbreds falling onto the classification
  • Colonial Spanish horse, descendants of the original Jennet-type horse brought to North America, now with a number of modern breed names.
  • Draft horse or draught horse
  • Feral horse, a horse living in the wild, but descended from once-domesticated ancestors. Most "wild" horses today are actually feral. The only true wild (never domesticated) horse in the world today is the Przewalski's horse.
  • Gaited horse, includes a number of breeds with a hereditary intermediate speed four-beat ambling gait, including the Tennessee Walker, Paso Fino, and many others.
  • Garron, term in Scotland and Ireland for a small sturdy horse or pony.
  • Grade horse, a horse of unknown or mixed breed parentage.
  • Hack, a basic riding horse, particularly in the UK, also includes Show hack horses used in competition.
  • Heavy warmblood, heavy carriage and riding horses, predecessors to the modern warmbloods, several old-style breeds still in existence today.
  • Hunter, a type of jumping horse, either a show hunter or a field hunter
  • Hunter pony, a show hunter or show jumping animal under 14.2 hands, may be actually of a horse or pony breed, height determines category of competition.
  • Iberian horse, encompassing horse and pony breeds developed in the Iberian peninsula, including the Andalusian, Lusitano and others.
  • Mountain and moorland pony breeds, abbreviated "M&M," a specific group of pony breeds native to the British Isles.
  • New Zealand Warmblood, a developing warmblood type based on Hanoverian and KWPF breeding.
  • Oriental horse, the "hot-blooded" breeds originating in the Middle East, such as the Arabian, Akhal-Teke, Barb, and Turkoman horse
  • Polo pony, a horse used in the sport of polo, not actually a pony, usually a full-sized horse, often a Thoroughbred.
  • Riding horse or saddle horse; interchangeable terms for a wide variety of horses bred primarily for suitability as riding animals as opposed to draft or harness work.
  • Riding Pony, a term of art used in the United Kingdom for specific types of show ponies.
  • Sport horse or Sporthorse, includes any breeds suitable for use in assorted international competitive disciplines governed by the FEI.
  • Stock horse, agile, heavily muscled riding horses of several different breeds, suitable for working cattle. Not to be confused with the breed Australian Stock Horse. Some representatives colloquially called "cow horse" or "cow pony" in the western United States.
  • Warmblood, a group of Sport horse breeds developed for modern Dressage and other Olympic disciplines, including the Dutch Warmblood, Hanoverian, Swedish Warmblood, Westphalian, etc.
  • Windsor Grey, the gray carriage horses of British Royalty.

Archaic types[edit]

Prior to approximately the 13th century, few pedigrees were written down, and horses were classified by physical type or use. Thus, many terms for Horses in the Middle Ages did not refer to breeds as we know them today, but rather described appearance or purpose. These terms included:

Extinct subspecies and breeds[edit]

This section does not include any species within evolution of the horse prior to modern Equus ferus caballus.

Extinct subspecies[edit]

Extinct breeds[edit]

Many breeds of horse have become extinct, either because they have died out, or because they have been absorbed into another breed:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rischkowsky, Barbara; Pilling, Dafydd (2007). The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture — in brief (PDF). Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. pp. 339–340. ISBN 9789251057636. OCLC 244787146.