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Most common horse breeds in the world – Could you spot the difference?

Has anyone ever thought about the fact that horses have gotten the amazing personality by their look with the blessing of nature? Well, there are different types of horse breeds around the world with different colors, sizes, shapes and we bet just a common man probably could not spot the difference. The key objective of making this post is just to give you an idea about the common horse breeds around the world. This will be a great horse guide for those who enter the stunning world of horses.

common horse breeds

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How many horse breeds are there in the world?

Can you believe that there are over 300 breeds in the entire world? Of course, 300 breeds have been developed for many purposes. The majority of the horse breeds are found in countries such as South America, Asia, North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Africa.

Common horse breeds Australia-Everything you need to know!

Here, we would like to consider a few of the most common horse breeds which can be seen in Australia in a bit of detail.

Australian stock horse

The Australian stock horse was developed and bred officially in Australia in 1971. In ancient times; this breed was used as working horses and later by 1960s they were widely used for leisure activities.

The cool horse breed, Australian stock horse should be very strong, right?

So let us move on to the general characteristics of this horse breed.

Horses in this breed are commonly characterized with alert head, deep chest, well-defined withers, and sloped shoulders and are acceptable in any color. Their powerful quarters and straight legs have made them sports horses. They stand from 56 inches to 66 inches averagely.

common horse breeds

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By today there are over 170, 000 stock horse breeds in Australia. They are used in many disciplines like show jumping, endurance riding, polo, polo crosses, dressage, camp drafting and for various event-based purposes.

Waler horse

When considering the breed, waler horse, it is an Australian breed which was brought to Australian colonies by the 19th century. In case you are wondering, the name ‘Waler’ was created since the horse was originated in New South Wales.

In the beginning; these horses were used in Australian wars, second Boer war and world war one. Not only that but also after the wars were over these animals helped this country to develop by helping in carriages and communication carriers.

Averagely waler horses’ height goes from 60 to 64 inches.

Depending on the characteristics of these horses, they are divided into four categories as the pony, light, medium and heavy.

Pony type

Obviously, the ponies are the smaller version of horses. So this type of waler horses has small ears, pony head, upright neck, short legs, and long body. They have been bred for racing and polo mainly. However, they are in any color but no double dilutes.

Light type

This type has a lighter frame compared to other types. It is said that this horse has the characteristics of the thoroughbred as well as the characteristics of the waler breed.


These amazing horses are the heavier type which displays carrying capacity for riding. However; they look similar to a heavy hunter or a heavy carriage horse.


These dumfound horses show load carrying capacity with a height more than 64 inches bearing all the physical characteristics of a waler horse.

Brumby horse

This breed is quite a different and interesting breed compared to other breeds. That is because the horses of this breed are free-roaming horses found in many areas around the country. Most of the horses are found in the Australian Alps region. Brumbies are mostly either lost or escaped horses but in present, they live in national parks as well.

Brumby horses are used to conduct researches regarding horse behavior. There, researchers capture them using GPS tracking collars when they are in loose. The captured brumbies are trained either as stock horses or saddle horses. As in for a fun sports people used to do challenge competitions where the rider has to catch a loose brumby within a limited time period.

Brumby horses may not be the kind you might wanna have around!

Can you believe that an environmental problem occurring because of the brumby horse?

The growth of this horse population has caused damages in trees.

Do you know how?

Since the horses damage the bark of the trees, there is a great influence on the growth of trees. As we all know; the bark consists of the phloem tissue. When the bark gets damaged, the food transportation process gets blocked for a greater extent.

In addition; the hooves of horses make the soil infertile. Consequently; it causes hindering in plant growth. They also cause damages to the infrastructure like fences, pipelines, and troughs. So, of course, this breed is a bit of disturbance kind that you may not want to have around.

British horse breeds

Next; let us discuss the common horse breeds in Britain.

Shire horse

The breed, Shire horse is a British breed which held world records for the tallest and the largest horse. Usually; these horses come in black, grey or bay colors.

The Shire horse society was created in 1878.

So, it is time to have a look at their common characteristics.

Here’s the deal:

Shire horses stand at least 70 inches averagely and weights from 850kg to 1100kg. Their heads are long and lean with large eyes with a neck that is slightly arched and long in proportion to the body. Moreover; they have deep and wide shoulders, wide chest and their hindquarters are long and wide relatively.

common horse breeds

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However; they have a special as well as a unique feature!

The lower part of their legs is covered with feathery fur. Due to this feature, they have got an elegant appearance.

In the past; they were used for pulling weight, forestry, riding, and commercial purposes. It is said that they can pull weight loads around 45 tons. However, Shire horses stand around 79 inches are used as working horses. On the other hand; those who are around 74 inches are used for shows and commercial purposes.

Thoroughbred –  World’s number one racer belongs to the breed

The thoroughbred horses are known to be developed in the 18th and 17th century in England from the Middle East. This breed started spreading throughout the world especially to Australia, Europe, and Japan during the 19th century.

The common thoroughbred stands around 62 – 68 inches of height. These horses will have a well-chiseled head with a long neck, deep chest, short back, and hindquarters with good depth, high withers, and a lean body. Mostly; these horses come in dark bay, black, chestnut or gray. Rarely there are thoroughbreds in white, roan or palomino.

common horse breeds

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As a special characteristic of these horses, they generally do not have white on their body. But, they might have white on face and lower legs.

The thoroughbreds are mainly bred for racing. At the same time; this breed is also used for show jumping and combined training since the animal is very athletic. However; according to the heights of the horses the smaller horses are demanded as polo ponies. Meanwhile; the horses with a good height are used as jumpers and dressage competitors. According to statistics of 2018, the world’s number one race horse Cracksman belongs to the thoroughbred breed making the entire breed proud.

American horse breeds

Since we are going to make a detailed overview of common horse breeds in the world, we thought to have a look at the American horse breeds as well.

First of we would like to provide a precise answer to the following question. Actually; this question is a basic question which is asked by amateur horse lovers most of the times.

What is the most common breed of horse in America?

American quarter horse is the most common breed of horse in America.

The American quarter horse is one of the oldest breeds found in America. Basically, the name ‘quarter horse’ is used due to their ability to outrace other horses in races by a quarter mile in most of the cases. Not only the oldest breeds but also these horses are considered as the most popular horse breed in America and the largest horse breed in the world.

Moreover; these horses can surprise you by running 55 mph of speed maximum. They perform in rodeos, horse shows, and work as ranch horses.

The following quick overview is just for those who are really eager to know about the fundamental external features of the American quarter horse.

This breed has a short, small, refined head with a straight profile and a strong well-muscled body with a broad chest and powerful hindquarters.

It is not a secret anymore why they can run so fast, is it?

They stand around 55-64 inches in height. But, the racing type can go up to 68 inches. It is said that there are two body types of these breeds as the stock type and racing/hunter type. You can easily differentiate them by their height as in the hunter type quarter horses are taller.

Most common colors they come in are sorrel, a brownish red, bay, gray, dun, buckskin, black, red dun, red roan, blue roan, perlino, cremello and white.

Appaloosa horse

If you see a horse with a skin of a cow, now that’s probably a horse of Appaloosa breed. Recent researches have emphasized that the Eurasian Prehistoric cave paintings of leopard-spotted horses may have actually been the horses of Appaloosa breed.

In the 16th century, the Spanish have brought the ’horses with spotted coat’ to America.

Interesting, huh?

Let us talk about the general features of Appaloosa horses.

An Appaloosas breed horse weights from 430kg – 570 kg and stand up from 56 – 64 inches of height. They have a wide range of body types with basic characteristics like tallness, narrow body and ranginess. They come in bay, black, chestnut, palomino, buckskin, cremello or perlino, roan, gray, dun, and grulla with so many variations of spot patterns. There are ten basic variations of patterns as spots, snowcap, blanket with spots, leopard, few spot leopard, snowflake, marble, mottled, frost and roan blanket with frost. These spots have made them very unique among other horse breeds.

These horses are used both for western and English riding. They engage in western competitions like cutting, reining, roping, barrel racing, and pole bending.  English disciplines include eventing, show jumping, and fox hunting. Appaloosas are not quite the strong racers like the quarter horse so they are used for middle distance racings between 350 yards to half a mile.

Morgan horse

Among all the other names of horse breeds, the name Morgan sounds really human, doesn’t it?

That is because the breed was named after their best owner Justin Morgan who used to be a horse coach in the 19th century. The story says that a man named Figure has given this horse to Justin Morgan as a debt payment. That is how the breed was introduced to America.

Are you waiting for knowing about the unique features of Morgan horses? If you are willing to know, just go ahead!

Morgan horses have strong legs, expressive head with a straight profile, a broad forehead, well-defined withers, large prominent eyes, laid back shoulders, and an upright well-arched neck. Their back is short and hindquarters are strongly muscled giving the ability to run fast. This breed is known as an easy keeper. They stand 57 to 66 inches in height. These animals are also known for their intelligence, courage, and good disposition. Most commonly these gorgeous creatures are found in the bay, black and chestnut colors.

common horse breeds

The Morgan was used in the civil war back in ancient times. They engage in cutting, endurance riding, show jumping, dressage and western pleasure. Furthermore; they are used as stock horse and seen in driving competitions. The Morgan horses are the first American breed to compete in the World Paris driving competitions representing the United States.

Tennessee walker   – the television star

This horse is unique because of their flashy movement and four beats running. It is said that these horses were originally developed in the Southern United States for the use of farmers in a plantation. In the 18th century, the ‘black Allan’ was born who is named to be the foundation sire of the breed.

Tennessee is a tall horse standing 59 to 68 inches weighing 410 to 540 kg. They have a well-defined head with a long neck, long sloping shoulders and hip with a short back and strong coupling. Tennessee horses are found most commonly in the solid bay, black and chestnut colors.

Have you ever thought why this breed is especially used for television shows?

If yes, here is the answer!

As this breed is a very calm kind, they are noted to appear in television shows and movies. Other than being TV stars and movie stars they perform in horse show events particularly in saddle seat.

American paint horse

The American paint horse has arrived in America in the 16th century along with the Spanish explorers. It is known to be the largest breed after the American quarter horse and Appaloosa horse.

It is said that this horse is crossbred with the American quarter horse so they obviously have the characteristics of a quarter horse like heavy muscles, broad chest, and strong hindquarters. They have spots like appaloosa breed does but definitely very different from the patterns of the spots. These spots always combine with white. Other colors can be black, chestnuts, bay, and palomino.

They have color patterns called tabianos, overo, sabiano, tovero. If you just wonder why the paint horse is called paint horse, just looking at a picture of a horse of this breed can clear your doubt because they absolutely look like a painting. Apart from their absolute beauty, they are known to be calm, friendly, relaxed, highly social and naturally intelligent horses.

Most commonly the paint horses participate in western pleasure, reining, ridden English, hunt seat and show jumping.

Which is the best breed to have?

It is definitely a question that comes to mind if you are showing an interest in this field. Well In most of the newspapers and research papers they have mentioned few particular horse breeds that outshine, like American quarter horse, Arabian horse, thoroughbred, Morgan horse, Tennessee walker, appaloosa horse, an American paint horse, and a miniature horse. Today mostly the statistics are taken through social media to find out the popularity of each breed.

Arabian horse- The best breed to be known!

The Arabian horse is listed at the top in the most popular and expensive horse breeds in the world.  Moreover; this is also one of the oldest breeds found and considered to be one of the most easily recognizable breeds in the world.

Original Arabian horses have lived in the most critical desserts with critical conditions which have given them the advantage to adhere to situations and become incredibly a hardy breed. They have a wedge-shaped head with a broad forehead, large eyes, large nostrils, and small muzzles. They specifically have slight forehead bulge between eyes which called ‘jibbah’ that adds an additional sinus capacity which they have inherited by being adapting to the desert climate. Also, no matter what color their coat is, they have black skin that protects them from the sun. These characteristics have made them adoptive even in conditions with o food or water. So these horses are the most strongly competitive horses in the world which have made them so much expensive.

common horse breeds

These extremely strong horses compete in many fields like horse racing, horse show, saddle seat, western pleasure and hunt seat, dressing, cutting, reining show jumping and eventing. Horses who are not interested in competitions work as ranch horses.


So, it is time to wind up our discussion about common horse breeds for the moment. Before that, we would like to emphasize that we hope to bring you more informative posts about horses in near future.

Stay tuned for our upcoming posts!

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