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Black Horse Breeds

Black Horse Breeds

Dive into the world of black horses, where every coat gleams like midnight. These horses are not just any breed; they’re like the night sky come to life, each one shining with its own starlight. 

Imagine horses so dark, they seem to hold secrets, stories, and a bit of magic in every strand of their mane. Black horse breeds stand out, not just for their color, but for the tales they carry and the awe they inspire. 

From the majestic Friesian, to the sturdy Percheron, these horses are more than a pretty face. They’re a walk into the night, a journey into mystery. 

Let’s explore these living shadows, where every horse tells a story, and every story is as captivating as the last.

What is a Black Horse?

A black horse is exactly what it sounds like – a horse with a coat as dark as night. This isn’t just any shade of dark, but a deep, rich black that covers the horse from mane to tail, without a speck of another color. 

Black horses are pretty special in the world of horses because of their stunning appearance and the way they stand out.

They have a certain mystery to them, often associated with strength, beauty, and a bit of magic. Not all horses can be black; it’s all in the genes. 

Just like people inherit traits like eye or hair color, horses inherit their coat color from their parents.

Read also: White Horse Breeds

Common Black Horse Breeds 

1. Friesian horse

The Friesian horse comes from the Netherlands, famous for its shiny black coat and long, flowing mane and tail. These horses are big, strong, and muscular, yet they move with an elegant grace.

Their legs often have a bit of feathering, just enough to add to their majestic look. People love them for their beauty and gentle spirit.

2. Fell pony

Fell ponies are sturdy and hardy, coming from the mountainous regions of England. They’re not very tall, but they’re strong, built to handle tough landscapes. 

Their coats are thick and often very dark, helping them stay warm. Despite their size, they’re known for being reliable and having a friendly nature.

3. Dales pony

The Dales pony, like the Fell, is from the UK and built for the rugged terrain. They’re a bit larger than the Fell ponies, with plenty of muscle and a dense coat, usually black. 

These ponies are tough but kind, great for riding and work because of their strong build and calm demeanor.

4. Mérens horse

Originating from the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, the Mérens horse is a small, sturdy breed with a beautiful black coat. 

They’re known for their resilience and ability to navigate difficult mountain paths. Friendly and versatile, Mérens horses are well-loved by their owners.

5. Shire horse

The Shire horse is one of the tallest horse breeds, hailing from England. They’re powerhouses, with large hooves and long legs, often seen with a bit of feathering. 

Their coats can be black, adding to their imposing presence. Shires are gentle giants, known for their calm and patient nature.

Read also: Shire Horses Price.

6. Kabardian

Coming from the Caucasus region of Russia, Kabardian horses are known for their endurance and ability to adapt to harsh conditions. 

They’re usually bay or black, with a sleek, muscular build. These horses are valued for their agility and strength, often used for riding in challenging terrains.

7. Menorquín horse

The Menorquín horse comes from the island of Menorca in Spain. They are known for their distinctive jet-black coat. 

They’re a rare breed, tall and elegant, with a proud carriage that reflects their spirited nature. Menorquín horses are often seen in traditional Spanish festivals, showcasing their grace and beauty.

8. Andalusian horse

The Andalusian, from the south of Spain, is one of the most famous horse breeds. They’re not always black, but when they are, they’re stunning, with a compact, muscular build and a mane that flows like silk. 

These horses are symbols of elegance and are often used in dressage because of their impressive movements.

9. Peruvian Paso

Originating from Peru, the Peruvian Paso is celebrated for its smooth gait, called the paso llano. This breed is medium-sized, often in shades of dark chestnut or black, with a sleek coat and a refined head. 

Their unique way of moving makes them a favorite for long rides, offering a comfortable experience for the rider.

10. Giara Horse

The Giara horse is a small, wild breed from the island of Sardinia, Italy. They’re often dark bay or black, known for their agility and the ability to survive in tough conditions. 

Despite their size, they’re strong and have a wild beauty that’s captivating.

11. Shetland pony

The Shetland pony, from the Shetland Isles of Scotland, is as sturdy as it is charming. Despite standing at a maximum of 42 inches, these ponies are known for their strength, able to carry heavy loads relative to their size. 

Their thick double coats, which come in many colors including black, help them withstand harsh weather. Shetlands have a dense mane and tail, and their small, alert faces are instantly recognizable. 

Beyond their physical resilience, they’re also known for their intelligent, sometimes stubborn, but generally gentle nature.

12. Nonius horse

Originating from Hungary, the Nonius horse is a draft breed known for its strength and calm demeanor. Named after its founder stallion, Nonius, this breed often exhibits a black coat, though other colors are also seen. 

They have a heavy build, with a distinctive head that’s slightly convex, deep chest, and strong legs with minimal feathering. Nonius horses are used for both riding and agricultural work. 

Their gentle nature makes them suitable for riders of all levels.

13. Ostfriesen

The Ostfriesen horse, from Lower Saxony, Germany, is celebrated for its elegance and versatility. Predominantly black, these horses possess a glossy coat, embodying strength and beauty. 

Historically, they were used for agricultural and carriage work. However, they’ve transitioned into sports and recreation, excelling in dressage and driving. 

Ostfriesens are well-built with strong backs and muscular legs, yet they move with grace. They have expressive faces and kind eyes, showcasing their calm and intelligent nature. 

14. Kladruber Horse

The Kladruber Horse, one of the oldest horse breeds from the Czech Republic, is renowned for its use in ceremonies by European royalty. Predominantly white or black, the black Kladrubers are especially striking with their glossy coats. 

They are characterized by a long, arched neck, a pronounced head profile, and a high-stepping gait. This breed is well-muscled yet elegant, designed for carriage use. 

Their temperament is calm and friendly, making them excellent for ceremonial purposes.

15. American Saddlebred

The American Saddlebred, originating from the United States, is often referred to as the “peacock of the horse world”. This is due to its showy appearance and animated gait. 

While they come in various colors, black Saddlebreds are particularly stunning with their shiny coats. Known for their versatility, Saddlebreds excel in many disciplines.

They have a high neck carriage, long and lean legs, and a graceful, long-striding walk. Their intelligence and willingness to please make them a favorite among horse enthusiasts.

16. Thoroughbred Horse

The Thoroughbred, best known for its speed and racing prowess, also comes in a sleek black coat. Originating in 17th century England, Thoroughbreds are the epitome of equine athleticism. 

While they excel on the racetrack, their agility and spirit make them suitable for other disciplines. 

Thoroughbreds possess a keen intelligence and a spirited temperament.

17. Trakehner

The Trakehner hails from East Prussia, now part of Russia and Poland. This breed is revered for its elegant appearance and superb athleticism.

They often have a black coat that highlights their refined features. Trakehners are intelligent, sensitive, and willing to work.

19. Lusitano

The Lusitano comes from Portugal. They can be black and have a muscular build. These horses are agile and great for dressage. 

They also have smart minds and are loyal. Lusitanos are often used in traditional Portuguese bullfighting but in a way that values their agility and training.

20. Percheron

Percherons are big, black horses from France. They’re strong and were once used to pull heavy loads. Now, they’re popular for riding and parades. 

They have a calm nature and get along well with people. Their thick coats and powerful build make them stand out.

Related read: How much do percherons cost?

21. Mustang

Mustangs are wild horses in the United States. Some are black. They’re tough and can live in harsh places. 

Mustangs are free-spirited but can be trained. They’re smaller than some breeds but very strong and hardy.

22. American Quarter Horse

The American Quarter Horse is versatile and can be black. They’re known for their speed over short distances. 

These horses are popular for work, rodeo, and riding. They have a calm temperament and are very smart, making them easy to train.

23. Tennesse Walking Horse

Tennessee Walking Horses are smooth to ride and can come in black. They’re known for their unique walking gait. 

This makes them super comfortable for long rides. They’re friendly and great for families. They’re used in shows and on trails.

24. Arabian Horse

Arabian horses are one of the oldest breeds. They can be black but are rare. They have a distinct look with a dished face and high tail carriage. 

Arabians are spirited, kind, and loyal. Because they are so versatile, they excel in many riding disciplines.

The cost of an Arabian horse can vary widely, influenced by factors such as lineage, training, and age. This makes owning an Arabian an investment in both beauty and performance.

Challenges in Breeding Pure Black Horses

Breeding pure black horses isn’t as easy as it might seem. 

First off, the color of a horse’s coat comes down to genetics. This means both the mom and the dad horse need to have the right genes to pass on that deep, dark black color. 

But here’s the thing, even if both parents are black, it’s not a sure bet the foal will be black too. Genes can be tricky. They mix and match in ways that can surprise you. 

Sometimes, they bring out colors that have been hiding in a family line for generations. So, you might be aiming for black but end up with a foal that’s bay, brown, or even gray.

Then there’s the sun. Black horses can fade in the sunlight, turning their sleek black coats into a rusty black or dark brown. 

Breeders have to think about this too, especially if they want their horses to stay that deep, rich black.

All this makes breeding pure black horses a bit of a challenge. It takes knowledge, patience, and a bit of luck with those genes. 

But when it all comes together, and you get that stunning black horse, well, many say it’s all worth it.

Related read: Brown Horse Breeds


What is an all-black horse called?

An all-black horse is simply referred to as a “black horse.” In some contexts, particularly among, you might hear terms like “true black” or “non-fading black” to describe a horse with a completely black coat that does not lighten with sun exposure.

How rare is a black horse?

Black horses are not exceedingly rare but finding a true black horse, one that doesn’t fade to a lighter color in the sun, can be less common. The rarity also depends on the breed, as some breeds are more likely to produce black offspring than others.

What color is a black horse born?

A black horse may be born a lighter color, such as gray, smoky, or even brown, and then darken as they age. The final coat color usually sets in by the time they are one year old, although it can take up to several years for the true color to fully develop.

Do black horses fade?

Yes, black horses can fade. Their dark coats may lighten due to sun exposure, turning into a rusty black or brown, especially over the summer months. This is more common in horses that do not have the genetic makeup for non-fading black coats. Breeders often seek the “non-fading” black gene to maintain the horse’s dark coat year-round.


There you have it! The captivating world of the black horses.

They’re not just a color. They’re a symbol of strength, mystery, and grace. While breeding a true black horse comes with its challenges, the allure of their dark coats under the sun’s embrace makes it all worthwhile. 

So, whether you’re an equestrian enthusiast or you appreciate the beauty of nature’s creations, black horses will definitely remind you of the magic that trots and gallops among us. 

In the end, every black horse is a living artwork, painting the world with strokes of majesty and wonder.

Picture of Dr. Noman Tariq

Dr. Noman Tariq

Dr. Noman Tariq, a seasoned veterinarian with a DVM from ARID University and an MPhil in Animal Nutrition from UVAS, specializes in equine health. His deep passion for horse nutrition and well-being drives his work, offering invaluable advice for horse owners. Dr. Tariq's expertise ensures horses lead vibrant, healthy lives.
You can read my full bio here

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Black Horse Breeds