Most Popular Horse Breeds in the World

There are dozens of horse breeds and all of them, no doubt, have their pros and cons, they could be taken advantage of for different purposes.

Thanks to modern technologies, we are capable of selecting new breeds in order to come up with new species that are more productive and durable. Some of them are highly valued for their grace and behavior, others are valued for high pace and great stamina. That helps carry out a certain piece of work more efficiently if there are horses specifically trained for it. Here is the list of the most common horse breeds in the world (as we at Horsezz see them).

Horse Breeds from A to Z

American Saddlebred

The American Saddlebred is one of the most popular breeds in the USA. It is known as a show horse as it’s highly used in different performing events. It’s claimed as a versatile breed that is appropriate for equestrian sports as well as being driven. American Saddlebred is valuable for its great sense of balance, learning abilities and fast moving.

More about American Saddlebred

Horse Breed Overview

American Saddlebred
  • Conformation: The horse has a greatly shaped head with a straight profile, small pointed ears, a short and strong back, and a long slim well-arched neck.
  • Height: 60-64 inches (15-16 hands).
  • Weight: 1000-1200 pounds (450-540 kg).
  • Life expectancy: 25-30 years.
  • Speed: 25 mph.
  • Colors: Сould be any of the coat colors but the most typical are bay, chestnut, brown, and black.
  • The breed can be either three-gaited (walk, trot, canter) or five-gaited (walk, trot, canter, slow gait, rack).
  • Is a great show horse, a driving horse, hunters and jumpers.
  • Average price: $15,000.

Pros

  • Great all-purpose breed
  • 3 to 5 gaited abilities
  • Very friendly, easy to learn, fast

Cons

  • Regular grooming is needed
  • Prone to severe health issues as lameness

Arabian Horse

The Arabian Horse or Arab is one of the oldest breeds that is spread all over the world nowadays. It is well-known for its great stamina, intelligence, beauty, and loyalty. That’s why these light horses were used to improve features like durability, endurance, and speed of other breeds. Due to its fascinating features, it is claimed as a great versatile breed for amateur and expert riding sessions, equestrian competitions, and selection. 

Here you can read more about Arabian horse characteristics and temperament. Also, find more info about this beautiful horse breed at the official Arabian Horses Association website.

Horse Breed Overview

Arabian Horse
  • Conformation: It has a small head with wide nostrils, big expressive eyes, and little ears. The neck is long and arched. The back is short but strong and massive. The limbs are long and strong with solid hooves.
  • Height: 60 inches (15 hands).
  • Weight: 800-1000 pounds (350-450 kg).
  • Life expectancy: 25-30 years.
  • Speed: 35 mph.
  • Colors: The most common colors are grey, chestnut, bay, and black. The breed is highly desired for its smooth and elegant gaits, each move is neat and coherent.
  • The breed is highly desired for its smooth and elegant gaits, each move is neat and coherent.
  • The Arabian Horse is typically used for showing, riding, and racing.
  • Average price: $10,000.

Pros

  • Extremely durable and fast
  • A versatile breed
  • Intelligent and easy to learn

Cons

  • Not good for beginners
  • Very sensitive

Friesian Horse

The Friesian or Frizian is a Dutch breed. It is mostly recognized for its compact shape and stunning black coat. These horses are highly powerful and durable as well as graceful and energetic. They are also valuable for their great temper, friendly behavior, and intelligence. 

More info about Friesian Horse Characteristics & Temperament.

Horse Breed Overview

Friesian Horse
  • Conformation: It has a broad head with kind eyes and alert short ears. The neck is long and muscled, the back is short and strong. The chest is medium, the shoulders are sloping. The limbs are short but strong, the silky feather covers the hooves.
  • Height: 63 inches (15.3 hands).
  • Weight: 1300 pounds (590 kg).
  • Life expectancy: 16 years.
  • Speed: 30 mph.
  • Colors: They are extremely popular because of the black coat color as well as the super-long thick mane and tail.
  • The breed is well-known for its stunning high-stepping gaits.
  • The Friesian is great for all-round riding and driving.
  • Average price: $20,000.

Pros

  • An undemanding breed
  • A great combo of beauty and pace
  • Good for beginners

Cons

  • Low life expectancy
  • Stamina is less developed

Gypsy Vanner

Gypsy Vanner is also known as Gypsy cob or Irish cob. This breed significantly differs from others because of its stunning feathering and beautiful coat. The Gypsy could be a great partner as it’s kid-friendly too. They are suitable for many purposes such as showing, riding, driving, and many others.

Horse Breed Overview

Gypsy Vanner
  • Conformation: It has a small but strong body with a straight head and wide forehead. The neck is medium muscular. The chest is broad and muscular. The limbs are short but thick and solid. There’s feather covering the hooves.
  • Height: 52-64 inches (13-16 hands).
  • Weight: 1000-1700 pounds (450-770 kg).
  • Life expectancy: 25 years.
  • Speed: 30 mph.
  • Colors: The coat colors may be different but the most popular are tobiano, skewbald, and blagdon.
  • The gaits are powerful and proper.
  • The Gypsy is a versatile breed suitable for dressage, driving, pulling, and many others.
  • Average price: $10,000.

Pros

  • Has laid-back temperament
  • Could be used in therapy sessions
  • Great for beginners and experts

Cons

  • Grooming might be challenging
  • Scratches is a common health issue

Hackney

The Hackney Horse originated from England and is recognizable by its high-stepping action. This horse is easy to train and is mostly used by carriage drivers. But this breed is quite rare and is claimed as endangered. Here are some interesting Hackney Horse Facts for you to know.

Horse Breed Overview

Hackney Horse
  • Conformation: It has a refined head with big eyes. The neck is muscular and long. The shoulders are massive and sloping. The back is short but strong. The limbs are long and strong. The mane and tail are thick.
  • Height: 60-64 inches (15-16 hands)
  • Weight: 1000-1200 pounds (450-540 kg)
  • Life expectancy: 30 years.
  • Speed: 20 mph.
  • Colors: It’s usually bay, chestnut, brown, and black.
  • Their gaits paces are great for showing.
  • The Hackney is commonly used for harness, dressage, and showing.
  • Average price: $5,000.

Pros

  • High longevity
  • Spirited temperament
  • Perfect for driving

Cons

  • Not for beginners
  • Could be high-strung

Hungarian Warmblood

The Hungarian Warmblood or the Hungarian Sport Horse is an unconventional breed that is known for its intelligence and grace. It is a non-gaited breed that is usually used for showing and equestrian sports. Nowadays the horse is also popular in the USA as it’s claimed as the second home of the breed.

Horse Breed Overview

Hungarian Warmblood
  • Conformation: It has a straight big head with big alert ears. The neck is short well-arched and muscular. The chest is broad and deep. The mane and tail are thick.
  • Height: 64-68 inches (16-17 hands).
  • Weight: 1300 pounds (600 kg).
  • Life expectancy: 25 years.
  • Speed: 30 mph.
  • Colors: It could be any solid color.
  • It isn’t a gaited breed.
  • The Hungarian is typically used for racing, jumping, and dressage.
  • Average price: $5,000.

Pros

  • High speed and stamina
  • Greatly adaptable
  • Perfect for jumping

Cons

  • Could be hard to handle
  • Could be stubborn

Irish Sport Horse

Unlike the Gypsy Vanner which is more like a pulling and family-riding horse, the Irish Sport Horse or the Irish Hunter is a more athletic breed developed for sports competitions. That’s why it is widely used for dressage, eventing, and racing. But this horse is a great option for leisure riding too because of its friendly temper. 

Horse Breed Overview

Irish Sport Horse
  • Conformation: It has a muscular well-proportioned body with a strong head and long ears. The neck is long and arched. The back is short and muscular, the chest is deep and strong.
  • Height: 60-68 inches (15-17 hands).
  • Weight: 1200-1500 pounds (540-680 kg).
  • Life expectancy: 30 years.
  • Speed: 30 mph.
  • Colors: There’s a wide range of colors including gray, black, buckskin, cremello, palonino, and others.
  • The gaits are powerful and steadfast.
  • The Irish Sport Horse is a great choice for eventing, showjumping, hunting, and leisure riding.
  • Average price: $10,000.

Pros

  • Perfect for equestrian sports
  • Great for beginners and professionals
  • Very athletic and well-disciplined

Cons

  • Might be stubborn
  • Not easy to handle

Morgan Horse

The Morgan Horse is another popular breed derived from the USA. It’s valuable for the friendly temper that makes it easy to handle even for kids. Another feature is high longevity comparing with other common breeds. Morgan’s stamina and strength are perfect for equestrian sports, riding, jumping, and others.

For detailed breed info, read this article: Morgan Horse Facts (Temperament and Characteristics).

Horse Breed Overview

Morgan Horse
  • Conformation: It has a compact body with a short head and small alert ears. The neck is slightly curved, the shoulders are long and sloping. The back is short and muscled. The limbs are strong and straight.
  • Height: 56-60 inches (14-15 hands).
  • Weight: 900-1000 pounds (400-450 kg).
  • Life expectancy: 30 years.
  • Speed: 45 mph.
  • Colors: The common coat colors are chestnut, bay, and black.
  • The Morgan is known as a non-gaited breed.
  • The breed is an all-purpose, it’s good for pulling, harness, dressage, showing, and others.
  • Average price: $3,000.

Pros

  • Kids friendly
  • Very cooperative, easy to train
  • A versatile breed

Cons

  • Nutrition should be strict
  • Late maturity

Orlov Trotter

The Orlov Trotter is one of the most popular Russian breeds. First, it was used for harness and horse racing but nowadays it’s spread within different equestrian activities. The breed is easy to train so it could be a great option for beginners as well as avid horsemen. 

Horse Breed Overview

Orlov Trotter
  • Conformation: It has a big head and a long strong neck. The shoulders are sloping. The back is long and durable. The limbs are long and sturdy, the joints are big. The mane and tail are long and thick.
  • Height: 60-68 inches (15-17 hands).
  • Weight: 1000 pounds (450 kg).
  • Life expectancy: 30 years.
  • Speed: 30 mph.
  • Colors: The most popular colors are grey, chestnut, bay, and black.
  • The Orlov is known for fast and graceful trotting gaits.
  • The breed is typically used for harness racing, riding, and driving.
  • Average price: $5,000.

Pros

  • Great mixture of elegance and stamina
  • A very fertile breed
  • Quite and willing

Cons

  • Grooming might be challenging
  • Late maturity

Paso Fino

The Paso Fino is a small but strong breed which is originated from Spain. It is commonly used in trail riding because of its smooth and ambling gait. It is also used in showing due to its fascinating beauty. 

Horse Breed Overview

Paso Fino
  • Conformation: It has a refined head and a well-arched neck. The shoulders are sloping and the chest is broad and deep. The back is short and strong. The legs are long and straight, the hooves are sturdy. The mane and tail are thick.
  • Height: 52-60 inches (13-15 hands).
  • Weight: 700-1000 pounds (320-450 kg).
  • Life expectancy: 25 years.
  • Speed: 30 mph.
  • Colors: The Paso Fino can be in any color.
  • The breed is known for its four-beat gait apart from walk, trot, and canter.
  • It is typically used for showing and trail riding.
  • Average price: $5,000.

Pros

  • It’s a gaited breed
  • Very kind and loyal
  • Quite sturdy

Cons

  • Not for long-distance rides
  • Late maturity

Shetland Pony

The Shetland Pony is one of the popular pony breeds designed in Scotland. That will be a great option for your kids to take up equestrian sports. Looking cute is not the only feature, they are also very kind, intelligent, and quite sturdy. 

You may also like: What Is the Difference Between a Horse And a Pony?

Pony Breed Overview

Shetland Pony
  • Conformation: It has a compact body, a wide head with kind eyes. The neck is short but muscular. The back is short and wide. The limbs are quite short and sturdy with feathering above the hooves. The mane and tail are thick.
  • Height: 28-46 inches (7-11.5 hands).
  • Weight: 400-450 pounds (180-200 kg).
  • Life expectancy: 30 years.
  • Speed: 25 mph.
  • Colors: The colors can be different including chestnut, brown, bay, palomino, buckskin, and others.
  • The breed is known for its gaits, the smooth walk, the quite speed trot, three-beat canter, and fast gallop.
  • They are commonly used for pulling, showing, and harness driving.
  • Average price: $1,000.

Pros

  • Very kind and intelligent
  • Kids-friendly
  • A quite sturdy breed

Cons

  • May be stubborn
  • Laminitis is a common health issue

Thoroughbred Horse

The Thoroughbred breed is a favorite among equestrians. It is known for its great mixture of gracefulness and fast speed. That’s why it is usually used for horse racing, jumping, and eventing. Being developed in England, this breed is greatly popular all over the world, particularly in the USA.

You should also know the difference between a quarter horse and a thoroughbred breed. These horses look alike but there are differences.

Horse Breed Overview

Thoroughbred Horse
  • Conformation: It has a well-chiseled head, a long elegant neck. The body is short and slim with a deep broad chest, the coat is smooth. The limbs are long, lean but strong.
  • Height: 64 inches (16 hands).
  • Weight: 1000 pounds (450 kg).
  • Life expectancy: 25-28 years.
  • Speed: 35 mph.
  • Colors: The most common colors are bay, chestnut, gray, and black.
  • The breed is well-known for its courage, speed, and athleticism.
  • It is typically used for showing, dressage, and racing.
  • Average price: $10,000.

Pros

  • A people-oriented breed
  • Energetic nature
  • Perfect for racing

Cons

  • Not for beginners
  • Not easy to handle

Conclusion

A wide range of horse breeds could be explained by the fact that different breeds were popular at various times due to the major objectives which must have been reached. First, horses were used with their pulling power on the farms so strength was the main criterion. Then, horses were as a means of traveling for knights and carriage transportation for princesses, that’s why great stamina was a must. Long after, horse races were created as a brand-new option for having fun and making money; in this case, speed and endurance are more preferable.

That’s why it’s hard to say which breed is the best, actually, it’s up to you, your willingness and needs. Horses are quite different as well as humans, so you should take a lot of aspects into account when choosing your first partner. And we’ll do our best to help you with your choice, providing a wide range of the most popular horse breeds with their features explaining why they are greatly desired among rookie and professional equestrian riders.

To sum up, choosing a horse is a demanding task as there is a wide array of options. Here we prepared a list of the most popular breeds including race horses, draft horses, polo horse breeds, and polo pony breeds. And the list can be constantly expanded. That’s why the article will be updated due to new breeds and their characteristics.

You may also read about less popular but still nice horse breeds:

Thanks to the wide range of horse breeds, you’re able to find a partner for different purposes – riding, driving, racing, showing, eventing, and others whether you are a newcomer or a professional.

By the way, do you know how much do different horse breeds weigh? Or what is the largest horse breed in the World? There are interesting questions, but we also have covered the most common questions about horses.

And what’s your favorite breed and why? We’re looking forward to hearing from you!