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Black horses are captivating. Mystery, strength, and adventure emanate from their dark coats. Many words sufficiently describe black horses, but few capture their essence, which makes naming one challenging. Here are our favorite black horse names for stallions, geldings, and mares.
|Black Stallions||Black Geldings||Black Mares|
|Bucephalus||Black Onyx||Black Annie|
|Black Beauty||Zorro||Black Caviar|
Black is not an ordinary horse color, so if you own one, take your time and choose the perfect name, one that represents its personality, spirit, and color.
Choosing a name for a black horse
Coming up with a perfect name for a black horse is challenging. Not because of the lack of choices, but just the opposite, there is an overabundance of suitable options, but only one is the perfect fit for your horse.
The feelings surrounding black horses run wide. For some, they represent confidence, bravery, and freedom, as described in Black Beauty. If you happen to be interested in horse spirituality or what they represent, I wrote an article all about this topic I encourage you to read; it includes references to dreams, the bible, and art.
The basics of naming a black horse
When deciding on a name for a black horse, you can go a few different ways; you can relate it to the horse’s color, personality, fictional black horses, or choose the one you think sounds good.
If you decide to name your horse based on its color, I suggest you wait a few months after your foal is born to confirm it’s truly black. In a previous article, I detail how foals change colors soon after they are born.
Color related names for your black horse.
A true black horse has only black hair in its coat; some coat color resembles black but often have other color hair interspersed with black. I’ve owned quite a few dark bays that looked black and a dark blue dun that could pass as black, but they weren’t truly black.
There are two types of black coats, those that fade and others that remain constant. The reason for this inconsistency isn’t understood but is widely accepted to have a genetic cause.
Here are ten gender-neutral names for black horses.
- Black hawk
What genes produce a horses black coats.
Without getting too deep in genetics, two genes work together to produce a black coat. They are the MC1R, the extension gene, and the ASIP gene referred to as agouti. All black horses have at least one allele, “E,” at the extension locus.
The black extension gene (E) is dominant over red and produces black. So if a horse has a black extension and a red extension (E/a), it will have a black base color.
The agouti allele gene only affects black pigments; it doesn’t produce black but controls its distribution. A dominant (A) pushes black pigments to a horse’s points resulting in a bay pattern. But if the animal has two recessive alleles, “a,” it has a wholly black coat.
Black horses are beautiful
Black horses are not common in many breeds, which may be one reason they are cherished. The reason black horses aren’t common could be related to evolution.
Horses have survived thousands of years because of their ability to adapt and evolve. Horse breeds originating in the hot, dry regions typically have light coats and are lightweight, and ones from cold climates have dense bones and dark coats.
With this in mind, most black horse breeds would be heavy-boned and best suited for pulling plows, carriages, and moving goods in frigid environments.
Names of famous black horses.
Throughout history, black horses have influenced the world through fictional characters such as Black Beauty or real-life battle steeds like Bucephalus.
If you choose to name your horse after a famous black horse, you have lots of options. Here are ten notable black horses with suggested nicknames:
Bucephalus is the horse Alexander the Great broke as a child and rode into battle. He had a shimmering black coat with one blue eye and a white mark on his head.
Historians differ about his breeding, but many suggest that he was an Akhal Teke, a desert breed known for endurance and athleticism. However, they most commonly have light-colored coats.
Bucephalus died in Alexander’s final battle, and in his honor, the great ruler founded a city and named it after his beloved horse.
Byerley Turk (Turk)
Byerley Turk was a black Arabian stallion and one of three foundation sires of the Thoroughbred breed. English captain Robert Byerley took him from a Turkish officer during the siege of Buda in Hungary.
Captain Byerley often raced his stallion between battles and won the Down Royal contest in Northern Ireland, a top racing prize of the period. He sired great running horses, which became the Thoroughbred breed’s foundation along with the Darley Arabian and the Godolpin Barb.
The Byerley Turk was a dark horse that passed his color to his progeny. Some describe him as dark brown, but others consider him black; he didn’t have any markings.
If you’re interested in Thoroughbreds, I suggest you read this article I wrote: Thoroughbred Horse Breed: Facts, Height, and Characteristics.
Black Caviar (Blackie)
Black Caviar is a racing filly from Australia. She competed in twenty-five races and was never bested. She even traveled to England and captured the crown at the Diamond Jubilee, Europes’ premiere race.
Black Caviar was named world champion sprinter for four consecutive years, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, and was Australia’s horse of the year three times.
Black Caviar looked black but was actually a dark bay. I’ve owned a few horses with similar coats, and they are difficult to differentiate from a black horse.
The only way to confirm the difference between a black horse and some dark bay horses is by closely examining the fine hairs around the eyes and muzzle. The hairs around the eyes and muzzle of a black horse are black, and they are lighter on a dark bay.
Eclipse is one of the greatest racehorses of all time and won every race he entered. As a sire, he passed his running ability to his offspring, and even today, his blood pumps through many champions.
Eclipse won races at a variety of distances. During his eighteen-race career, he averaged 3.3 miles per race with a length of four miles. Eclipse is listed as a chestnut; however, he is often described as black.
Dark chestnut horses like dark bays are often perceived as black, but there are differences. Like a dark bay, a dark chestnut has lighter colored hair on its muzzle and around its eyes.
Black Jack (BJ)
BlackJack was a black Morgan/Quarter horse cross that served in the military for twenty-nine years. He was known as “the riderless horse” and is the last Quartermaster–issue horse branded with his Army serial number.
He participated in state funeral processions for President Kennedy, General Mac Arthur, President Hoover, and President Johnson during his military service.
Black Beauty (Black or Beauty)
Black Beauty is a fictional novel about the life of a black stallion. The title character, Black Beauty, narrates it. The story takes us from his playful, fun-loving days as a foal living in the country to the dire conditions he endured pulling a taxi on London streets.
Regardless of how poorly the owners treat Beauty, he always gives them his loyalty and best effort. The novel was written in 1877 and is one of the most widely read books of all time.
Beauty is a black stallion with a predominantly Thoroughbred pedigree. His sire was a Thoroughbred, and his dam was a Thoroughbred cross. Today we would consider Black Beauty a warmblood.
Beauty is called various names by its masters in the novel, including, Darkie, Black Auster, Jack, Blackie, and Old Crony.
The Black (Black)
The Black is an Arabian stallion and the lead character in the fictional novel and movie, “The Black Stallion.” It’s a story of a young boy and a wild horse stranded together on an island.
During their time on the island, they rely on each other for their survival. The bond they create on the island endures after their rescue. Once back in civilization, they train to race, and Black is matched against a champion.
More names for black horses
Male and female horse names, including geldings.
Some horses exhibit masculine or feminine characteristics, and you may want to consider their demeanor when choosing a name. Here are some additional names that are broken down by gender for you to consider.
Ten names for black mares and fillies
- Black Betty
- Black Dahlia
- Black Rose
Ten names for black stallions and geldings
Black horses aren’t technically considered “rare,” but they aren’t common in most breeds. Since you may not have too many opportunities to name one take your time and get to know your horse, and I’m sure the perfect name will reveal itself.
What are the big black horses called?
The most popular large black breed is the Friesian horse breed. They are known for their feathered feet, muscular bodies, and long flowing tails and mane. Because of their amazing good looks, they are often featured in films.
Are all Friesians black?
Technically all Friesians are black because it’s the only accepted color for registering a Friesian horse. But there are different shades of black, from dark brown to true black. Their coats may change color when they’re shedding or when it has become sun or sweat bleached.
- The Friesian Horse Breed: Facts, Color, and Temperament
- War Horses: Discovering the Unique Breeds Used in Battle
- Discovering the Andalusian Horse: Facts and Characteristics
- What Is A Bay Horse? Color Genetics, Breeds, and Pictures
- Registered Thoroughbred Horses: What Colors Are Permitted?
- Colors of a Classic Roan Horse
- All About Dun Horses: Colors, Markings and More
- Buckskin Horses: Facts, Colors, Origin, and Characteristics
- Palomino Horses: Facts, Characteristics, and Unique Colors