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Black Horse: Breeds, Temperament, and Myths

Last updated: April 5, 2023

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

There is something special and alluring about black horses. Perhaps it is their mysterious air or the fact that they are slightly rarer than other colors of horses. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that black horses have a certain appeal.

There are many black horse breeds, each with its own unique history and characteristics. The Friesian is a black horse breed that originates from the Netherlands. It is known for its long, thick mane and tail, which often flow down to the ground.

The Shire is another black horse breed that is native to England. It is considered one of the world’s largest horse breeds and is often used for draft work, such as pulling carriages or plowing fields.

The American Quarter Horse is another black breed that is popular in the United States. It is known for its speed and agility and often competes in rodeos and racing events. Whether you are looking for a beautiful black horse to ride or a hard-working draft animal, there is a black breed that will suit your needs.

Picture of a black horse


The Friesian is an elegant horse that originates from The Netherlands (Holland). It gets its name because of where it was bred; Friesland – which literally means “frozen land”! They come in different colors like grey, chestnut, and red roan dun, but they are primarily black with white markings around their legs and head area.

American Quarter Horse

The American Quarter horse is a versatile breed that comes in many colors, including black. Quarter horses are used for work and pleasure riding. They make excellent cow horse breeds because of their agility and speed.

The Shire horse

The Shire is another draft breed that is commonly black; they can also be seen in bay, brown, or gray. They are a large breed and are thought to be the tallest horse in the world.

These horses are bred for strength and stamina and can be used for various purposes, such as carriage driving or farm work. What is the most beautiful black horse breed?


The Percheron originated in France, and during medieval times these horses carried knights into battle. Later, they were used primarily for draft purposes, such as pulling heavy artillery and farm equipment. Modern Percherons are most frequently used for riding.

The breed is known for its strength, beauty, and versatility. I’ve seen one Percheron transition from crowd control duties to showjumping flawlessly. They come in different colors, including black.

Picture of a black race horse


The Thoroughbred is the most popular horse breed in the world, and it also comes in black. Thoroughbreds are bred for racing, and they make excellent racehorses. They are known for their speed and agility, as well as their intelligence and courage.

The American Saddlebred

The American Saddlebred is another popular black horse breed. Saddlebreds are bred for showjumping and dressage, and they are known for their elegance and grace. They have a long stride, which makes them ideal for competition.


The Andalusian is a beautiful Spanish horse breed that comes in black or gray. Andalusians are bred for dressage, and they are considered to be one of the most elegant horses in the world.


The Arabian is one of the oldest breeds of horses in the world, and it’s also one of the most beautiful! The Arabians are known to be very intelligent and loyal. They come in many colors, but they’re usually black, chestnut, or gray with white markings on their face, legs, and tail tip.

The Arabian horses were bred mainly as warhorses by nomads who traveled across deserts looking for water sources during long journeys, which is why they perform so well in endurance competitions.


The Morgan horse is a very versatile breed that was developed initially in the United States. This American classic has been used for everything from cavalry charges to pulling wagons.

Morgan horses are known for being good-natured and easy to handle, making them popular mounts for all types of riders. Morgans come in various colors, but black is one of the most common shades.


The Standardbred horse is a beautiful breed that is often used in harness racing. These horses come in many different colors, and black is one of the most common shades.


Mustangs are feral horses that come in many different coat colors. Mustangs in the Pryor mountains are often black or almost black. Seal brown coats are frequently mistaken as black because they are so dark. These horses are descended from Spanish horses Conquisdors brought over to North America in the 16th century.

black.thoroughbred edited scaled

Horse breeds that are solid black

There is something undeniably beautiful about all-black horses. Perhaps it is their sleek, ebony coats or the mystery they seem to embody. Whatever the reason, these horses are a sight to behold.

Even though it seems many breeds produce black, only a few have predominately black horses. Even those that look black often aren’t and are actually seal brown, dark bay, or dark chestnut. A true black horse is unusual.

Here are the few horse breeds that are solid black:


The first solid black horse breed we’ll discuss is the Friesian. This breed is believed to have originated in the Netherlands and is thought to be one of Europe’s oldest horse breeds.

The Friesian is known for its thick, black coat, long mane, and graceful carriage. These horses are often used in dressage and other competitive equestrian events.

Murgese horses

Murgese horses have their origin in Italy, but they have been bred throughout Europe for centuries. These horses are known for their thick manes and tails, powerful build, and intelligence. The Murgese is often used in dressage competitions and other equestrian events.


If you’re looking for an all-black horse, look no further than Ariegeois (or Merens). The official registry only accepts black horses. The Ariegeois is an ancient horse breed thought to descend from the Iberian horses.

It was developed by crossing local French ponies with Spanish horses brought back from wars during medieval times. These equines were traditionally used as pack animals but have since become popular among riders due to their sure-footedness, calm temperaments, strength, and endurance. 


Kladruber is a warmblood that originated from the Czech Republic over 400 years ago, making it one of the oldest breeds in the world. They are black or bay and stand between 14 and 16 hands high. Kladrubers are used for both light draft work and dressage.

Kladruber horses are considered some of the best driving horses in the world and the only horses bred explicitly for pulling the carriages of Kings. They are an extremely rare horse breed.

Alt-Oldenburger/ Ostfriesen

This is one horse breed with two names. They are large warm-blood horses bred to pull carriages. They are usually black or bay in color and stand between 14hh and 16hh high.

Alt-Oldenburger horses originate from Oldenburg, Germany, while Ostfriesen horses are from East Frisia, which is now a part of Germany. They eventually became one breed.

Black pony breeds

There are many different types of pony breeds, but the black ones are some of the most beautiful and interesting. They come in all shapes and sizes, each with a unique personality.

Fell Pony

The fell pony is a small, hardy breed native to England’s Lakeland fells. It was initially bred for the mining industry and later used in agriculture. The breed is fast, agile, and strong – qualities that make it ideal for working on steep terrain and pony trekking with children or adults.

Fell ponies are generally black but can also be found in grey, brown, dun (yellowish-brown), or even roan (mottled). They stand between 13hh and 14hh high at the withers; that is, they measure between 132cm (52 inches) and 142cm (56 inches), measured from the ground to their shoulders. This makes them slightly larger than other pony breeds.

Dales Pony

The next pony breed on our list is the Dales Pony. This breed originated in the Yorkshire Dales of England and was used for pulling carts, plowing fields, and carrying goods to market. The ponies were also popular with gypsies, who would use them as mounts or pack animals. Today, the Dales Pony is still used for light agricultural work but has become increasingly popular as a riding pony – particularly with children.

Dales Ponies are usually black in color but can also be found in bay, chestnut, roan, and dun. They stand between 12hh and 13hh high at the withers.

picture of a shire work horse.
Shire horse

Big black horse breeds (Draft)

Do you know what the biggest black horse breeds are? If not, don’t worry! We’re here to help. We will discuss some of the world’s biggest black draft horse breeds. These horses are known for their size and power and are often used for pulling heavy loads.

So if you’re looking for a big, strong black horse that can do some serious work, one of these draft breeds might be a perfect choice.

The Shire horse

The Shire horse is a British breed of draught horse. It is the heaviest and tallest of all horse breeds and also one of the strongest. Shires are typically black, bay, or brown and have feathered legs.

They are gentle giants known for their docile nature and easygoing dispositions. However, they are also powerful workhorses, capable of pulling heavy loads over long distances. Shires are popular trail and therapeutic riding horses and are frequently exhibited in draft horse shows.


Percherons are another draft breed that is popular for their black coloring. These horses are known for their intelligence and gentle temperament. They are often used for pulling wagons, trail riding, or show horses.

Murgese horse

The Murgese is a versatile black draft horse breed, they are not as big as the others on this list, but they are still large. Murgese horses have a long history of being used for farm work and are even used in endurance riding competitions.

Belgian Horse

Belgians are typically bay or chestnut, but some are black too (or even gray). These horses were originally bred as draft animals, but they became popular after World War I when soldiers brought them home from Europe and used them for agriculture in America.

The Belgian horse is a large, muscular breed descended from the Flemish warhorses, which were black.


The Clydesdale is another popular draft breed and is often considered one of the most beautiful horse breeds in the world. These tall and powerful horses are often used for agricultural work or pulling wagons in parades.

What is the most beautiful black horse breed?

There is no single answer to this question, as there are many beautiful black horse breeds in the world. However, one breed that definitely stands out is the Friesian horse.

This majestic creature is known for its long mane, feathery tail, and powerful build. If you are looking for a stunning horse that will turn heads wherever you go, the Friesian may be the perfect breed.

If you are interested in learning more about the Friesian horse, be sure to check out this article: The Friesian Horse Breed: Facts, Color, and Temperament. There, you can learn all about this amazing breed.

Picture of a thoroughbred racehorse.

Myths about black horses

There are many myths and misconceptions about black horses. This section will dispel some of the most common myths and provide accurate information about these beautiful animals.

Black horses are often feared or seen as bad luck, but they can be gentle and loving creatures when properly cared for. So if you’re thinking about getting a black horse, read on to learn more about these amazing animals!

MYTH: Black horses are bad luck

FACT: There is no evidence that black horses are any more or less lucky than other horse colors. In fact, many cultures associate black horses with strength, power, and nobility. So go ahead and admire that beautiful black steed – there’s nothing unlucky about it! In fact, black horses can be just as lucky as any other color.

MYTH: Black horses are stubborn

FACT: There are many myths and misconceptions about black horses, particularly their temperament. In reality, there is no truth to the notion that all black horses are stubborn. In fact, these animals come in various personalities and are as easy to train as any other colored horse.

MYTH: Black horses are mean

FACT: Not all black horses are mean. In fact, some are exceptionally gentle and make great family pets. However, like any other horse, a black horse should always be supervised when around small children.

MYTH: Black horses are hard to find

FACT: While it is true that black horses aren’t as common as other colors, they can still be found relatively easily at auctions or on the internet. So don’t let the misconception that black horses are hard to find keep you from finding your perfect match!

Picture of a young thoroughbred horse in training.

Are black horses more aggressive?

Do black horses tend to be more aggressive than other colors? This is a question that many horse owners have asked over the years. The answer is not entirely clear, but we know some things about black horses that may explain why this myth exists.

Throughout history and in books, black horses are often depicted as being wild and unruly. One of the most famous examples is in the novel “The Black Stallion ” by Walter Farley, who paints a picture of an uncontrollable and dangerous black Arabian stallion.

In ancient Greek mythology, Hades rode a chariot drawn by four black horses (known as “The Furies”) while collecting souls from Earth to bring to the underworld, where he was the ruler.

In the bible, the four horseman ride different colored horses, the one on the black horse has the scales of justice and represent famine. These are some reasons why people believe black horses are more aggressive than other colors.

In contrast to the depictions of black horses above, some say that they are actually less aggressive and more docile than other colors.

Although there are popular myths that black stallions tend to be aggressive, there is no scientific evidence to substantiate it. Studies show black stallions are just as likely to be aggressive as any other horse color.

How rare is a black horse?

Surprisingly black is one of the rarest colors of horses, even though you probably see them often. Well, what you likely see isn’t a true black horse but rather a dark bay or chestnut.

For a horse to be considered truly black, it must not have any color besides black in its coat. So why are black horses so rare?

Genetics of black horses

The color of a horse is determined by the genes that it inherits from its parents. A black horse has two copies of the dominant “black” gene and one copy of each other allele for coat color.

The inheritance pattern for black horses is straightforward; if both parents are solid-colored and do not carry any hidden colors, all offspring will be solid-colored (or have no hidden colors).

The only exception would be a genetic mutation causing an entirely new allele to appear in some or all offspring. Although the genetic combination is simple to explain, it is rare to find a black horse.

This is because many horses carry hidden colors, and these can be expressed in their offspring instead of the solid color. This phenomenon is because most breeds have multiple genes that determine coat color; therefore, there are more opportunities for variations than just one gene determining color.

What is a fully black horse called?

There are many different types of horses in the world, and each one has a unique name, such as a dun, dapple gray, or blue roan. But what is a fully black horse called? This question has puzzled people for years, but we finally have the answer!

There is no universal moniker attached to black horses. People call them all sorts of names bandits, nighthawks, and midnight specials, to name a few.

We all know that black is the ultimate coat color, but what many people don’t realize is the importance of choosing the best name. A horse with a unique and memorable name can make them stand out.

There are many options for naming your new companion; here, I wrote about some of my favorite names for black horses, which you should consider.


Are there any health concerns associated with black horse breeds

If you are thinking about getting a black horse, it is essential that you are aware of the health concerns that come along with them. While black horses are beautiful animals, they may be prone to specific health problems.

The most common problem is melanoma, which causes dark spots on the skin and hair follicles; however, there is also an increased chance of developing cancerous tumors in areas around the eyes or nose.

Most importantly, black horses are not a separate breed. They are simply horses that have inherited the gene for coat color from both parents (one parent must carry the dominant allele). It’s important to note that this does not mean all black horses will be healthy or unhealthy. However, Friesian horses are known for a few genetic disorders.

Below is a YouTube video about various black horse breeds around the world.

Black Horse Color Significance and Meaning

Black horses, with their sleek, dark coats, convey a sense of power and mystery in the equine world. The black color is the result of a specific genetic trait characterized by a deep, solid black coat that often gleams with an almost metallic sheen.

The significance and meaning of black horses can be found in various cultures and historical contexts. Black horses have long been admired for their strength, determination, and enigmatic presence, often associated with power, wisdom, and an air of nobility. In this context, black horses symbolize a sense of authority and a strong, unwavering spirit.

Across different cultures and traditions, black horses are revered for their dark, mesmerizing hues and their formidable personalities. They represent resilience, inner strength, and the journey through life’s challenges. Their powerful presence in various equine disciplines serves as a testament to the qualities they embody, while their depiction in art, literature, and folklore highlights their enduring mystique.

The black horse color holds unique significance and meaning, representing power, resilience, and a strong connection to the mysterious aspects of life. Their dark coloration and enigmatic nature continue to captivate horse enthusiasts worldwide, celebrating the diverse beauty and steadfast bond between humans and these remarkable animals.


Black horses aren’t a breed but an equine color. With that said, I’ve owned one black horse, and he was special. He was a small Thoroughbred but had a unique personality and way of moving that made him different than all the rest.

Miles Henry