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How Many Horse Breeds Are There in the World?

Last updated: May 16, 2023

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

Do you know how many horse breeds there are in the world? I know there are many different types of horses in our community, including Fjords, Belgians, and of course, Quarter horses, and each one has its own unique look and personality.

According to a study by the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, there is a total of 784 horse breeds in the United Nations Food and Agriculture database systems. However, most equine experts recognize only about 200 horse breeds.

Some of the most popular horse breeds include the Arabian horse, the Quarter horse, and the Thoroughbred. Each horse breed has characteristics that make them better suited for specific tasks or activities.

For example, some horse breeds are known for their speed, while others are known for their endurance. Some horse breeds are also known for their friendly personalities, while others are more independent. No matter what you’re looking for in a horse, there’s sure to be a breed that matches your needs.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at horse breeds and how they are categorized, so if you’re curious about horse breeds, keep reading.

Picture of a Thoroughbred and American Paint horse
Thoroughbred and American Paint horse.

Why Are There So Many Different Horse Breeds?

As a society, we have changed our relationship with horses over time. At one point in history, they were used for transportation, as war horses, and for working on farms; however, nowadays, it is more common to see people who enjoy them either as pets or sports animals rather than the beast of burdens of old.

For example, some breeds are known for their skill in racing or jumping competitions, while others are favored for their strength and stamina when used as working animals on farms or endurance riding.

And while some breeds may be less utilized currently (such as draft horses), other types still play essential roles, such as maintaining livestock populations and monitoring vast lands.- something not possible without these animal partners.

The Different Types of Horses.

There are a wide variety of horse breeds, each with its unique characteristics. Some types of horses, such as draft horses, are bred for their sheer size and strength. Other types of horses, such as Arabians and Thoroughbreds, are known for their speed and agility.

There are also many types of horse breeds that have excellent temperaments or specialized training in specific disciplines, such as dressage or showjumping. Regardless of the type of horse breed you choose, they can all be great companions and provide hours of enjoyment to their owners.

Whether you prefer a docile riding horse or an energetic racehorse, there is undoubtedly a breed out there that will suit your needs and interests perfectly.

Picture of a quarter horse
Quarter horse

Hot-Blooded Horse Breeds

There are a variety of horse breeds that are considered to be “hot-blooded.” These horses are known for their high-spiritedness, speed, and athleticism. Some of the most popular hot-blooded horse breeds include the Arabian, the Thoroughbred, and the Quarter Horse.

These horses are prized for their physical abilities and are often used in horse racing, show jumping, and other competitions. Hot-blooded horses can sometimes be more challenging to handle than other horse breeds, but experienced riders often enjoy the challenge.

Whether you’re looking for a horse to compete with or simply want to add some excitement to your riding experience, a hot-blooded horse may be a perfect choice.

Picture of a warmblood horse in a pasture.
Dutch Warmblood

Warm-Blooded Horse Breeds

Warm-blood horse breeds are horse breeds that have been developed specifically for sport. They are typical of a medium build, with strong muscles and bones. They are also intelligent and quick-thinking, making them ideal partners for activities such as dressage, eventing, and show jumping.

Warmbloods originally came from Europe, but today they can be found worldwide. Some of the most popular Warmblood horse breeds include the Hanoverian, the Holsteiner, the Irish Sport Horse, and the Dutch Warmblood. Whether you’re looking for a horse to compete with or simply enjoy riding, a Warmblood is an excellent choice.

Picture of an Irish Draft horse.
Irish Draught Horse

Draft Horse Breeds

Draft horses are larger than most other horse breeds, and they were initially bred for agricultural work. Today, they’re still used for farm work and pulling carriage rides, but they’re also popular as show animals and even pets.

Some of the most popular draft horse breeds include Clydesdales, Shires, and Percherons. Draft horses are known for their gentle dispositions and calm demeanors, which makes them an excellent choice for people who want a horse that’s easy to handle. If you’re looking for a big and strong horse, a draft horse may be the perfect breed for you.

Picture of a Paso Fino one of many gaited horse breeds.
Paso Fino

Gaited Horse Breeds

There are a variety of horse breeds in the world, each with its own unique set of characteristics. Gaited horse breeds are known for their smooth, rhythmic gaits, which can be incredibly comfortable for riders.

These horses are often used in trail riding, endurance riding, and other forms of horseback riding where a comfortable ride is paramount. Some of the most popular gaited horse breeds include the Paso Fino, the Tennessee Walking Horse, and the Icelandic horse.

While these horses are all unique, they share the common trait of having a smooth, easy-going gait that makes them a pleasure to ride. Whether you’re looking for a horse to take on long rides or one that will provide a comfortable ride around the arena, a gaited horse is an excellent choice.

Picture of a palomino pony horse.

Color Horse Breeds

Color breeds are unique type of horses distinguished by their distinct coat color. These horses can range in appearance from pale and snowy to deep charcoal, with many shades and patterns in between.

One of the most well-known color horse breeds is the palomino horse, distinguished by its golden color with a creamy mane and tail. Another popular horse breed is the Appaloosa horse, which is characterized by its spotted patterning.

And finally, there is the pinto and American Paint horse, which features patches of white over a base coat of any other color. While these breeds are certainly distinctive in their looks, they also share many similar qualities that make them great companions for riders of all skill levels.

Whether you are looking for a show horse or simply want a companion to ride around your property, color horse breeds have what it takes to meet your needs.


Rare Horse Breeds

As you’re well aware now, there are many horse breeds in the world, but some are much rarer than others. The Akhal-Teke, for instance, is a horse breed that originates from Turkmenistan.

These horses are known for their distinctive metallic sheen, and they were once used by the military. Today, however, the Akhal-Teke is considered to be endangered, with only a few thousand remaining in the world.

Another rare horse breed is the American Cream Draft. This horse was developed in the United States in the early 1900s, and it gets its name from its light cream coat. Unfortunately, the American Cream Draft is also endangered, with fewer than 200 horses remaining.

Thankfully, there are organizations dedicated to preserving these and other rare horse breeds. With proper care and management, these unique animals can continue to thrive for generations to come.

The Curly horse is another breed that is relatively uncommon. These horses are distinguished by their curly coats, which can range in color from black to chestnut.

The Falabella is one of the smallest horse breeds, and it originates from Argentina. Another rare horse breed is the Caspian horse; this horse is small and hardy, and it hails from Iran. The Abyssinian horse is a beautiful horse breed that is also relatively rare; it has a unique coat pattern and originated in Ethiopia.

These are just a few of the many rare horse breeds in the world. Each one has its own unique history and characteristics, making them all special in their own way.

Below is a YouTube video of the 10 most common horse breeds.