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A Guide to Different Types of Horse Breeds

Posted by Country & Stable on 5th Jun 2023

A Guide to Different Types of Horse Breeds

Horses have been humans' companions for centuries. Horses have been used for transport, in agriculture, as well as in battles and a number of different uses over the years. 

As a result, humans have bred different breeds of horses, to suit different purposes. And since different horses had different purposes, the breeds developed different characteristics,

So it’s worthwhile knowing the difference between horse breeds if you are interested in buying your first. 

There are over 350 breeds of horses. Here is a handy guide that will help you find your perfect horse.

Warm Blood, Hot Blood, and Cold Blood

When we say that a horse is "hot," "cold," or "warmblood," we are putting different horse breed types together based on how they act, look, move, and what jobs they are best at doing.


Northern European enormous, heavy war horses were bred with lighter, faster and energetic hot bloods from the Mongolian steppes to create horse breeds with the speed and agility of racing horses and the size and temperament of cold bloods.

Therefore, warmblood horse breed types are a mix of hot and cold-blooded horses.

If you're into riding as a sport but don't want a heavy work horse, a warmblood breed might be for you. This breed is not as hot-tempered as hot bloods and have  different attributes to  cold bloods.

Here are some of the warmblood breeds:

  • Hanoverian
  • Appaloosa
  • Australian stock horse
  • Belgian Warmblood
  • Oldenburg

Hot bloods

Arabs bred their horses in the Middle Ages for speed, strength, conformation, and temperament. Arabians are now the most prized and costly horse breed.

The Arabian horse's temperament is referred to as "hot-blooded," which some describe as difficult and others as passionate. One thing remains certain, however: Arabian horses are famed for their unmatched energy, speed, and endurance.

Some of the most popular hot blood breeds are:

  • Akhal-Teke
  • Spanish Barb
  • Anglo-Arabian
  • Shagya Arabian
  • Thoroughbred


Coldbloods are big horses that are calm and friendly. They are related to the old European kinds used for farming, hauling, and other hard work.

During the Middle Ages, knights needed horses that could be armored and carry a highly armed man. Of course, the heavy, cold-blooded horses were up to the job. Despite their big size, they tend to have a kind, soft  temperament and are not easily spooked.  

Top breeds considered cold-blooded:

  • Clydesdales
  • Shire
  • American Cream Draft
  • Belgian Heavy Draft
  • Black Forest Chestnut

Horse Breeds by Region

Horse breed types by region offer an extensive range of unique characteristics and talents.

North America

The Quarter Horse is the most popular breed for its speed and agility in rodeo events. Thoroughbreds are used in horse racing events due to their speed and stamina.


Warmblood horses dominated the European equestrian sports scenes due to their athleticism and versatility, particularly during the Renaissance period in Spain when their beauty and grace made them in high demand, leading to the birth of the Andalusian breed.


The Australian Stock Horse was developed for working cattle on large ranches. Their endurance and agility make them a valuable asset in any ranching operation.

South America

In this continent, the Criollo breed is a popular choice for its hardiness and versatility in cattle work and sporting events. Brazil is home to the Mangalarga Marchador, prized for its smooth gait and easy handling.


The Mongolian horse is well adapted to harsh climates and terrain, making it an excellent choice for long-distance riding and herding livestock. Meanwhile, the Akhal-Teke breed, originating from Turkmenistan, is known for its speed and endurance in desert environments.

The Largest Horse Breeds

When it comes to horses, size definitely matters for some people. Some of these horses can weigh up to 2000–2300 pounds and stand up to 20 hands tall!

  • Belgian Draft
  • Shire
  • Clydesdale
  • Percheron

Bear in mind that these large breeds require extra care and attention; ensure you have both the space and resources for a bigger horse to live comfortably.  

The Smallest Horse Breeds

Some horses are grand and majestic; others can make fantastic companions.. Despite their small size, they can haul heavy loads, work in mines, and some can even carry a rider. Plus, they make amazing pets and service animals.

Top 5 smallest horse breeds:

  • Shetland pony
  • Falabella
  • Yonaguni Horse
  • Icelandic Horse
  • Haflinger

Whatever tiny breed you end up with, you'll love them for their individuality and character

The Most Common Breeds of Horses

The most widely known horse breed in the world is the domestic horse. Here are some of the most popular domestic horse breeds. 

  • Thoroughbreds: These horses are known for their speed and agility and are often used in racing competitions.
  • Arabians: These horses are known for their beauty and grace, making them popular in the show ring. They are also respected for their strong stamina and agile movements.
  • Paint horses: They are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of disciplines, from western riding to dressage.
  • Appaloosas: These horses are known for their unique spotted coat pattern, which sets them apart from other breeds.

The Fastest Horse Breed

When talking about speed, the Thoroughbreds belong to a league of their own. These majestic animals are built for speed, with lean bodies and long legs that can cover ground faster than any other breed.

In fact, the most expensive horse ever purchased to date is a racehorse Thoroughbred named Fusaichi Pegasus for $70 million!

The speed of a Thoroughbred horse may exceed 40 miles per hour, and they are also recognized for their incredible stamina. Always ready to meet new challenges, Thoroughbreds thrive when given an opportunity to learn something new.

The Best Breeds For Horse Riding Lessons

There are several breeds that can be suitable for beginner riders. One popular  breed for horse riding lessons is the Haflinger. This relatively small, strong breed originating from Austria is known for its calm temperament and docile nature, making it an ideal choice for beginners.

The Haflinger has a pleasant disposition with plenty of energy and can carry a rider in comfort while also being able to move quickly and easily when asked.

Their small size makes them suitable for young riders, while their intelligence and willingness to learn new things make them ideal for adults just starting their horse riding lessons.


Horses are fascinating animals, with many different breeds and types available. However, a common requirement among all of them is proper care.

From protection blankets to leg wraps, Country & Stable have everything you need to keep your horse in tip-top condition.

Spend some time researching and understanding each type of horse before searching for your ideal partner to meet your lifestyle and needs. Happy horse hunting!