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5 Rare Horse Breeds That You’ve Never Heard of

5 Rare Horse Breeds That You’ve Never Heard of

There are hundreds of breeds of horses worldwide—thriving in different climates from mountains to deserts. The most common breeds, like the American Quarter Horse, Arabian, Thoroughbred, and Morgan, have become household names. With over ten million horses in the United States and fifty million worldwide, it’s hard to imagine any breeds being endangered. We wanted to share five incredible horse breeds that are certainly not household names and are very rare.

The Canadian National Horse


The Canadian National Horse

As with many horse breeds, the Canadian Horse started as a combination of many breeds. The Canadian National Horse dates back over 350 years and is often used for racing and showjumping. The Canadian Horse is a sturdy and resilient breed known for thriving in colder temperatures. The breed was severely depleted during the U.S. Civil War when the horses were used in active combat. Many loyal breeders are actively working to build the breed back to pre-Civil War numbers, but it is a slow process. The Canadian Horse’s registered numbers are now around 6,000, with only about 150 new registered horses annually. 


Credit: The Denver Zoo

The Przewalski’s Horse

One of the most well-known endangered horses, the Przewalski horse is one of the last wild horses. They are short and stocky with a heavy build, a thick neck and a dun-colored coat, dark short upright mane with no forelock. With only 1,900 living, the Przewalski horse numbers are dangerously low. Their numbers are still depleted by poaching, habitat loss, and climate change. While humanitarian efforts have brought this endangered breed into zoos to protect the breed numbers, infertility issues have limited the number of foals born in the past ten years.


Credit: Deep Hollow Ranch

The Akhal-Teke Horse

This rare oriental horse breed was initially discovered in the Karakum desert. The sleek bodies, long features, and almond-shaped eyes give this horse an unmistakable, unique look. These elegant horses are also known for their shiny golden coats. They also come in cream, palomino, and most solid colors. The Akhal-Teke horse, commonly called the “golden horse,” is known for having good stamina and speed, making them ideal for endurance riding. The Akhal-Teke horse numbers are dwindling due to inbreeding in the population.



The American Brabant

The American Brabant is a draft horse with 25 to 99% European Belgian bloodlines. They are most commonly shorter in stature and thick-boned. With a good head and kind eyes, these gentle giants are a protected breed in the United States. There are many active groups working to increase the breed numbers.


The Dales Pony

The Dales Pony originated in Northern England and was used heavily as mine ponies to move ore out of the mines and to locations around Northern England. Unfortunately, with the decline and elimination of ponies used in mining, the breed went into a sharp decline. Dale Ponies are primarily used for recreational riding and are very popular family ponies. They have a fast trot and even temperament. Now there are only around 5,000 worldwide. 


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