Black and White Horse Breeds, a rare color combination that is impossible to overlook. Flashy colorings, beautiful spotting, mottled skin, and extreme rarity adds to the appeal of black and white horses. Endless variations in coat patterns with white facial or leg markings leave the horse lover spell-bound.
Here are some of the most common black and white horse breeds
1. Gypsy Vanner
Besides their rare color combination of black and white, Gypsy Vanners are celebrated for heavily feathered legs and long mane and tail. The highly sought after Gypsy Vanner breed hypnotizes the onlooker with its grace and beauty. Gypsy vanners are also called by Gypsy Cob, Tinker Horse, Irish Cob, and Gypsy Horse.
Gypsy Vanners were bred by the gypsies of Great Britain to pull vardoes and gypsy caravans. The height and size of these horses are attributed to Shire and Clydesdales, with the incorporation of dales and fen pony bloodlines to make them gentle, well-manured, and easily trained.
As time passed, the Gypsy Vanner breed aced in strength and purity. The breed association for these horses was first established in 1996, the same year when first Gypsy Vanner was brought to America. This breed can now be registered by the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association.
These horses got ‘cob’ as their last name because of their short legs. Rare color combination, straight facial profile, refined head, muscular neck, well-sloped shoulder, and strong hindquarters are common traits.
Long mane and tail, and heavy feathering on the legs and hocks are the decorative features of this breed.
Gypsy horses are categorized into three groups based on their height and refinement, cob, vanner, and grai.
Cob height: 14.3 to 15.1 hands
Vanner Height: 15.1 to 16.2 hands
Grai Height: 14.3 to 16.2 hands
Gypsy cob usually weighs between 1100 to 1700 pounds. Their average life expectancy is 25 years.
Gypsy horses usually have a solid colored coat with white splashing. The three unique colors of the Gypsy Cob breed are
These cart horses are now used in driving competitions and pleasure carriage pulling. Just because they were bred for pulling caravans, does not mean they are non-ridden horses. Their kind temperament pairs them well with children, beginners, and advanced riders.
2. American Paint Horse
American Paint Horses have an intriguing appeal as these horses support different patterns of white splashing. Beyond their distinctive patterned coat, they are well known for their intelligence, agility, excellent temperament, and willingness to work. Having 100,000 members in 40 countries, the APHA is one of the largest breed registries in North America.
The Spanish travelers first brought a Paint horse predecessors to North America, in 1500. It is believed that an explorer named Hernando Cortes brought a specific sorrel-and-white stallion in North America, from whom the modern American Paint breed descended and evolved.
Barb, Arabian, and Andalusian bloodlines were associated with the breeding of Paint horses. Paint horses attracted Native Americans with their eye-catching coat colors and patterns, they adopted and bred them. With the introduction of a thoroughbred to the gene pool, a horse with beauty and strength was added in the squad. In 1940, the American Quarter Horse Association excluded horses with pinto coat patterns from the registry. The American Paint Quarter Horse Association and the American Stock Horse Association merged in 1965 to form the American Paint Horse Association.
The most prized trait of Paint horses is their colored coat patterns, but to judge them on their color alone would not be fair. Short coupled, muscular, well-balanced stature, and stock-type adds to the beauty and refinement.
The Paint horses, on average are 56 inches (14 hands) to 64 inches (16 hands) tall. Horses with thoroughbred bloodlines are usually taller than the others. The average weight of Paint horses ranges between 950 to 1200 pounds. The average life expectancy stands at 30 years.
The Paint has distinctive coat markings, in a combination of white colors with others like bay, chestnut, black, and palomino. Though paint support an endless variety of patterns, three distinctive ones are
They are in demand for their calm demeanor, friendliness, athleticism, and work ethics. They were workhorses used for transportation. Nowadays, Paint horses are participating in every equestrian competition, be it jumping, barrel racing, cross country event, driving shows, or parades.
Paint horses have earned a name for themselves by winning many equine sports. American Paint horses excel in all disciplines, perfect for riders of all levels.
Appaloosa is a popular color horse breed famed for colorful spotted coat patterns. Appaloosa has charmed horse lovers with his spots and color splashes. Appaloosa horses are far more than their unique color patterns. Appaloosas are very eager to please, kind, and loyal companion.
Appaloosas have a rich history, just like its colorful patterns. The Appaloosa predecessors were brought in to North America by the Spanish Explorers in the 1600s. The native Americans of Nez Perce fell in love with the snowflake patterning of these horses and began to breed them. Selective espoused breeding targeted at creating a horse that was colorful and wise.
Appaloosas got their name from the Palouse River of Idaho and Washington, where the Nez Perce people lived. They were called Palouse horses, later changed to Appaloosa.
In 1870, the breed got almost extinct when the US government took over Native American land. Many Appaloosas were killed, stolen, or lost.
In 1937, The Appaloosa Horse Club was established as a breed registry, which worked for the resurgence of the breed.
Mottled skin is not their only reason for fame. Stripped hooves, white sclera, muscular build, and sparse mane and tail are some of the common traits.
The height of Appaloosa stands between 14 to 15 hands (56 inches to 60 inches). The weight of this breed stays between 950 to 1250 pounds (430 to 570 kg). The average life span is 30 years.
The base color of the Appaloosa coat is black, bay, chestnut, palomino, buckskin, cremello, perlino, roan, grulla, grey, and dun. The base color of the coat is inlaid with the spotting patterns. The spotting patterns have endless varieties. The registry approved four coat color pattern are
Appaloosas were used for warfare, hunting, and transportation by the Nez Perce people. Appaloosa horses are used for both, Western and English riding disciplines. Appaloosa takes part in many equine sports like barrel racing, cutting, roping, reining, show jumping, horse racing, fox hunting trail, and endurance riding. They have also landed a few roles in film and TV.
Knabstrupper or knabstrup horses are Danish warmblood horses with a wide range of unique colorful coats. Knabstruppers are often mistaken for Appaloosas, however, these two are different breeds. Knabstrup horses have three types;
- Warmblood sport horses
- The Baroque
- Pony type.
When seen from afar, they look like a giant leopard because of their spotty appearance. Knabstruppers are docile horses with sufficient speed and endurance.
The existence of spotted breed in the 16th century is certain, though Knabstruppers were not bred until 1812. Originally bred from a chestnut mare with leopard complexion and a solid colored stallion. The breeding led to a colt with dramatic spotting.
They were sold to the owner of Knabstrupgaard estates, Major Villars Lunn. He established a farm named “Knabstrup” in his estates, that where these horses go their name from.
Knabstruppers were first brought to the United States by the Texan couple, Mike and Caroline Athey in 2002. In North America, the firstborn Knabstrup horse was called “American Beauty”.
A genetic mechanism called the leopard complex is the reason they feature a spotted coat. A variety of coat patterns ranges from solid-colored coats to full leopard-spotted coats. Knabstrup horses either have a Warmblood or Baroque horse conformation.
Knabstrupper breed usually stands at a height of 15.2 to 16 hands (62 to 64 inches, 157 to 163 cm). The pony-sized Knabstrup horses are under 14.2 h (58 inches, 147 cm) tall. The average weight of Knabstrupper is 1150 lbs (522 kg). The average life expectancy is 27.5 years.
It is difficult to predict the color of a Knabstrupper when breeding. They are often born in solid colors like bay or chestnut or sometimes boast a colorful spotting. Spots can be in black, gray, bay, or chestnut color. The colt of the predecessors Flaebe mare and a yellow Frederiksborg stallion is believed to have 20 colors and a metallic glow.
They were royal horses because of their unusual coat patterns. As the royal era ended, they were used as workhorses for farm and agricultural lands. They were used to pull royal carriages and in crowning ceremonies. They are now used in competitions like dressage, show ring, and jumping.
Shire breed holds a record for being the tallest horse in the world, with no parallel in height and strength. Having resemblance to Clydesdale, Shire horses feature feathering on legs and bigger hooves. These magnificent horses are strong yet gentle, showing no temperamental issues. They attract horse lovers with their docile nature and cool demeanor.
The Shire got its name from its place of origin – Cambridgeshire, and Lincolnshire. They are believed to be the descendants of the British “Great Horse”, a popular war horse in medieval England. Flemish horses with leg feathering might have some contributions to the breed.
The English Cart Horse Society was founded in 1878 as a breed registry for Shire horses. When the Shires first came in the United States around 1853, they didn’t attract much attention. They were used for breeding larger sized horses.
Before the machines took over, horses were used for working on agricultural lands, industrial sites, and pulling carriages. The Shire was used as a workhorse for his pulling strength. Now, Shire is an endangered horse breed in the U.K., U.S., and Canada.
It is not just the height that keeps the Shires in the spotlight. Leaner head with large eyes, slightly arched neck, wide shoulders, short muscular back, long and wide hindquarters, and feathering on legs are the common traits of the Shire breed.
Shire horses, being taller than other horse breeds, stands at an average height of 16 hands (64 inches) to 18 hands (72 inches). Stallions grow taller in height than the mares, some reach up to 19 hands (76 inches). The average height of the
Gelding is 16.2 hands (168 cm)
Mares is 16.0 hands (163 cm).
The average weight of Shire ranges between 850 to 1100 kg (1870 to 2430 lbs)
The common Shire breed colors are black, bay, gray, or brown. The base color is often overlaid with white facial and leg markings.
Back in the day, Shires were used to pull carts of ale, carriages, and coal wagons. Today, they are used for pulling sightseeing wagons and pleasure riding. In some parts of the world, they are working on farmlands, being used for logging Operations.
6. Shetland Pony
Don’t get deceived by the cute looks, shetland pony is a hardy, kind, and a bit wily horse. This riding pony for children is capable of working more than some of the largest draft breeds. This adorable Scottish breed is often referred to as a child’s pet and mount.
The breed developed in Shetland Islands, Scotland, however, the origin of Shetland Pony is obscure. It is believed that ponies were inhabitants of the Shetland Islands for around 4000 years ago. They adapted to the Shetland’s cruel weather and limited food supply.
The Celtic pony after potential crosses with other ponies resulted in a new breed, Shetland Pony. Smaller in size yet stronger, Shetland ponies were brought to England to work in coal mines, in 1850.
Around the same year, they were taken to the United States, where, after some crossing with other breeds, a more refined pony was bred. In the US, he was used for Children’s riding.
Besides their short stature, Shetland Pony has other noticeable breed characteristics. Small head, alert ears, widely spaced eyes, compact stocky body, short muscular neck, short stronger legs, deep girth, and short broad back are the common traits of the Shetland breed.
The average height of registered Shetland ponies is 10.5 hands (42 inches) at the withers, whereas, in the United States, the registry allows ponies with a height up to 11.5 hands (46 inches). Shetland ponies usually weigh around 400 to 450 pounds. Their average life expectancy is 30 years or more.
Shetland pony is present in every color in the equine spectrum. The common coat colors of Shetland ponies are black, roan, gray, bay, brown, chestnut, dun, cream, buckskin, and champagne. Their pinto color combination has splashes of white on any other color.
In the 1800s and 1900s, they were workhorses in coal mines, pulling carts, plows, wagons, and buggies. Ever since the machines have taken over, Shetland ponies are now used for pleasure driving and pet shows.
7. Marwari Horse
The unique appearance of Marwari leaves one under the spell. Marwari horses are renowned for their distinctive black coat with white legs and a white muzzle. The Marwari breed belongs to the Marwar or Jodhpur region of Rajasthan, located in north-west India.
The origin of Marwari is largely based on folklore and fairy tales. They are closely related to the Kathiwari breed. Marwari horses have a rich history dating back to the 12th century. The rulers of Marwar, Rathores, were responsible for the breeding of Marwari. Selective espoused breeding led to hardiness, purity, and enhanced horse’s best qualities.
The Marwari number declined during the British rule as they preferred Thoroughbreds. Marwari became an endangered breed in the 1930s due to poor management practices. In 1995, a group called Marwari Bloodlines formed to save the Marwari breed. One after another, many breed societies helped in preserving the number.
Marwari is famous for its distinctive curved ears, so curved that the tips meet and support 180° rotation. Straight or slightly roman facial profile, arched neck, pronounced withers, angular shoulders, long back, slender legs and small hooves, and slim body structure make Marwari a majestic horse.
Marwari is usually 14 to 16 hands tall. The average height of a male horse is 150cm or 14.3 hands and mares are 140cm or 13.3 hands tall. The weight of a Marwari horse stands between 750 to 1000 pounds. Their average life span is 25 to 30 years.
Color: The Marwari breed is bred in many distinctive colors like grey, bay, chestnut, palomino, skewbald, and piebald.
They were used as cavalry horses, back in the 16th century. With their days as war horses at the end, they are now used for shows, dressage, religious ceremonies, performance parades, and horse safaris. They are also used for long-distance and endurance riding.
8. Nez Perce Horse
With the crossing of Appaloosa with Akhal-Teke came a majestic horse, Nez Perce. They are called after their place of origin, Nez Perce of Idaho. Their ancestors Appaloosa and Akhal-Teke gave them a distinctive spotted coat and their physical attributes.
Nez Perce has passed many tests of endurance through long-distance rides. Nez Perce Horses are often gaited, therefore, smooth riders. They have a famous fast running walk and overshadowed others in jumping and endurance racing.
They are often referred to as ” leaner runners” because of their leaner conformation. Common coat colors are buckskin or palomino with several patterns of spotting or mottled skin and the blanket.
Walkaloosas look like the cousins of Appaloosa but with the gait. It’s not just their smooth gait, Walkaloosa is celebrated for its colorful coat, spotting patterns, bravery, and endurance.
The ancestors of the Walkaloosa breed is believed to be the Appaloosa and Tennessee. They inherited their smooth walk from Tennessee and spotting patterns from Appaloosa. They generally exhibit Appaloosa or Leopard spotting pattern. Walkaloosa’s intermediate ambling gait gives a dream riding experience.
Some common breed characteristics are straight/convex head profile, pronounced withers, leveled topline, and muscular loin.
Docile, kind, eager to please Walkaloosa horses are used for dressage, competitive riding, and show jumping.
10. Colorado Ranger
The Colorado Ranger breed is an absolute beauty because of its unique spotting pattern. Often mistaken for Appaloosa, Rangers are not a strain of the Appaloosa breed. Colorado Rangers are called after their native land, Colorado High Plains in the USA.
The foundation for the Colorado Ranger breed was laid by a grey barb called Linden Tree and a desert-bred Arabian named Leopard.
Colorado Rangers are well known for their cow savvy, athleticism, performance abilities, willingness to work, and excellent temperament. They are used for pleasure and trail riding as well as Western and English show competitions.
Colorado Rangers rose to fame for their distinctive coat spotting and variety of patterns. From solid colors to leopard-style coat markings, Rangers boast numerous colorful patterns on the blanket.
Noriker enjoys attention because of their quirky colorful coat patterns. Noriker is a leopard complex breed which explains the unique markings.
They became the talk of the town for having basic coat colors of the equine spectrum with some spotting mix like a leopard, Tobiano, and Overo.
This heavy draught breed originating from the mountains of Austria is admired for its size, strength, beauty, kindness, work ethics, and mild temperament.
Used for sleigh racing, farm work, equine sports, and alpine forest work.
12. Altai Horse
Altai is an eye-catching horse breed by anyone’s standards. Although the number of spotted horses has declined significantly, there are a few left with a chubary pattern or leopard spots.
Belonging to the Atlai Mountain of Central Asia, Altai is a hardy horse that has survived extreme situations.
Altai horses are adaptable, gentle, and easier to care for. They do not ask for any special treatment or attention and blend in with the harshest outdoor conditions.
The Altai breed complains less when working and are suitable for levels of riders.
13. Mangalarga Marchador
Mangalarga Marchador, a national horse breed of Brazil, is praised for its distinctive coat markings. Their quirky coat patterns catch the attention at first glance.
Another trait that makes the horse a delight is his four gaits; walk, canter, and two natural ambling gaits.
Bred from Lusitano stallions and Barb mares, this Brazilian riding horse offers smooth riding with little friction.
Used for pleasure riding because of their rhythmic gait. The breed also serves as a child mount because of their docile nature.
There is no disputing on the color factor, in addition to that, their mild temperament, docile nature, intelligence, and willingness to work makes them everyone’s favorite. Besides the two-tone coloring, they do not lag behind and contribute to work, just like other breeds. Give your suggestions about more black and white horse breeds.
Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers.
I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.