Top 13 Unique Horse Breeds You've Never Heard of Before

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Ever since the domestication of horses some 6,000 years ago, we humans have relied on these magnificent creatures for a number of purposes. From warfare to transportation, the role of horses in man’s life is anything but insignificant. The first domesticated equines, which were developed in Central Asia, were small and stocky. Today, there are more than 200 different breeds of horses around the world, although some are definitely more popular than others. The following list shines a spotlight on those lesser-known, unique horse breeds that you may have never known existed.


Native to the Marwar region of northwestern India, the Marwari has distinctive,  inward-turning ears that are impossible to miss. Originally used as a cavalry horse by the Marwar people, this breed was once on the brink of extinction. Confident and intelligent, the Marwari possesses a fine-boned structure that belies their hardiness.

Bashkir Curly

As the name suggests, the Bashkir Curly sports a curly hypoallergenic coat that can range from waves to tight ringlets during the winter. In the summer, the coat sheds out, becoming straight or slightly wavy. The friendly and intelligent Curly also sheds their mane and tail during the warmer months, which is uncommon among horses.

Black Forest Horse

The Black Forest Horse is a good-natured, well-muscled equine bred to work in the harsh conditions of southwestern Germany’s Black Forest region. Smaller than other draft horses, this breed is known for being tough yet agile. The Black Forest Horse is considered to be endangered, with the current population being less than 1,000.
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With long legs and a slim body, it’s easy to see why the Akhal-Teke is regarded as the greyhound of the equine world. Originally developed to travel through the Karakum Desert, this elegant breed possesses a coat with a natural metallic sheen caused by a unique hair structure. Today, there are about 6,000 Akhal-Teke horses worldwide.


A native of Iran, the Caspian is a small, but well-proportioned breed with short ears, slim legs, and a high-set tail. Believed to have been extinct until they were rediscovered in the 1960s, these ancient horses are known for their calm temperament and excellent jumping ability. Though no longer on the verge of extinction, the Caspian is still a rare breed.


With a well-proportioned neck, sloping shoulders, and strong limbs, the Knabstrupper effortlessly commands attention. But this breed’s most eye-catching feature is their spotted coat, which comes in many different patterns, including leopard, blanket, and snowflake. The Knabstrupper is one of Europe’s oldest registered breeds, with bloodlines going back to the spotted horses of prehistoric Spain.


Native to the Dutch province of Friesland, the Friesian is recognizable by their all-black coat and proud carriage. Known for their powerful trot, this black beauty is extremely graceful despite their robust size and body type. It is believed that their ancestors were used as war horses during the Middle Ages. 


The oldest British native pony breed, the Exmoor can be found on the moors of southwestern England, grazing the rough pasture. These semi-wild ponies are small, but tough, and able to live in the harsh conditions of the moorland thanks to their double-layered winter coat that provides both insulation and waterproofing. 


With only around 200 in existence today, the Sorraia is thought to be the last remnant of southern Iberia’s indigenous wild horses. Small yet hardy, this breed is able to adapt to dry, hot climates, as well as harsh, wintery conditions. The Sorraia has a beautiful bi-colored mane and tail, with lighter-colored hair fringing either side of dark-colored hair.


With large eyes, a broad neck, and a long tail, the Andalusian is a sight to behold. Strongly built but elegant, proud but docile, this breed originated in the Spanish province of Andalusia and is known as Pura Raza Espanola (Pure Spanish Horse) in their native country. The Andalusian is sensitive, intelligent, and enjoys being around people.


Hailing from Argentina, the Falabella is the first miniature horse breed, said to have descended from the Andalusian and Spanish Barb horses. They are strong despite their petite size, and their sweet nature makes them great with children and seniors alike. These naturally small equines are also smart and can be trained to do a variety of things.


A result of natural interbreeding, the Newfoundland is one of the most genetically diverse pony breeds in the world. Their thick winter coats and furry ears don’t just look cute; these useful features allow them to withstand cold, harsh climates. Hardworking, friendly and smart, Newfoundlands are often described as being more like dogs than horses.

Norwegian Fjord

Originating in the mountains and fjords of Norway, the Norwegian Fjord is one of the oldest horse breeds in the world. They are easily recognizable by their distinctive primitive markings, which include a dark dorsal stripe running down the center of the mane, back, and tail. The Norwegian Fjord is smart, charming, gentle, and dependable—qualities that are fitting for Norway’s national horse.