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15 White Horse Breeds You Should Know

By Alex Verwest


Updated on

White horses will forever be known as the most undeniably beautiful creatures around. They are so majestic and stunning that they are always a joy to look at, and yet one thing that many people don’t realize is the fact that there is no inherent white horse breed out there.

It would be so easy to just say that all white horses are known as White Appaloosas for example, but that’s not how it works.

In reality, the chances of you actually coming across a white horse are so low that you can actually go from farm to farm for the rest of your life and you still could end up not seeing a pure white horse to begin with.

But why is this? The answer is simple, true white horses are practically impossible to find because they are extremely rare. Not all white coated horses are actually white horses, instead they only appear to look white from a distance.

If you were to put a pure white coated horse with a more common white coated horse you could instantly tell the difference between them.

But what is this difference and more importantly, which breeds can get you white horses? That’s what we’re here to find out today, so let’s just hop right into it.

What Makes a Horse White?

What Makes a Horse White
Photo by Kateřina Hartlová / pixabay.com

So, what exactly classifies as a “white horse”? What makes this horse whiter than the other breeds that we’ll talk about in a few?

Well, the difference goes back to their genetics, as pure white horses are born with unpigmented pink skin and white hair. They are born this way and they will never change their color no matter their age.

On the other hand, you have the “fake white horses”, these horses are born with some pigmentation, but as they grow older, they actually end up losing it which turns them white.

So, while both of these can aptly be referred to as white horses, only one was born as a true white horse while the other merely lost its pigmentation over the years.

This is why true white horses are so rare, because there is no actual way to guarantee a white horse offspring, it is entirely up to a genetic malformation which can’t be triggered through breeding.

On the other hand, for a horse to just lose its pigmentation it’s actually nowhere near as difficult nor rare as you may think. There are plenty of other horse breeds that can get white foals quite easily.

What’s Not White?

Gray horses
Photo by Oscar Nilsson / unsplash.com

While it is a lot more common to come across fake white horses, we should also mention here that there is a very high chance that you may end up with a gray horse instead too.

Gray horses are the same as fake horses, in that they usually start off with another color, but because they lack pigmentation, they lose most of that, which turns their coats grey.

You may also happen to own a horse that starts off as a certain color, ends up gray after a few years, only for it to turn completely white a few years later.

One key difference between gray horses and white horses is the fact that grays have dark skin while white horses have pink skin.

At the same time, some horses may appear to be white, when they are not actually white to begin with, they’re cream colored.

This is because in order to get a cream color you need to add in dilution genes so that your horse’s color becomes less pronounced. This will result in you having a whiter horse than most other horses around, but it doesn’t mean that you own a white horse.

This shouldn’t deter you from loving your horse regardless though, because if you do own a horse, it shouldn’t matter what pigmentation or color their coat is, the only thing that should matter to you is the fact that you love them and they love you and that’s the end of it.

With that being said though, let’s start counting down 15 white horse breeds that you can definitely check out if you want to get yourself a white horse.

Just keep in mind, there is no official white horse breed, there are only breeds that can produce white foals.

15. Arabian Horses

Arabian White horse
Photo by rihaij / pixabay.com

While it is actually quite common to come across white Arabian horses, it’s actually impossible to get any true white horses since they always have dark skin beneath their coat.

The Shagya Arabian strain is the most common white horse you’ll find from this breed, and while you can have a lot of different shades of white on it, you will never have a true white Arabian horse.

These horses come directly from the Arabian Peninsula, which is why they have dark skin in the first place. Being in constant sunlight is not exactly good for white horses, so the chances of a white Arabian living are pretty much zero right off the bat.

You can end up with a white Arabian with pink skin every blue moon or so, but the strange thing about this is that this strain is so rare that it’s also not considered to be a pure Arabian horse in the first place.

Other than white, you can also get yourself a bay, black, gray or chestnut Arabian horse if you like the breed that much.

14. Thoroughbred Horses

Thoroughbred white horse
Photo by Engin Akyurt / pixabay.com

The Thoroughbred is known as one of the best racehorses around, in fact, it’s been one of the most consistently popular horse breeds since the early 17th century.

It was originally created by crossing Arabian, Barb and Turkoman genes with local English mares. The result was one of the fastest, strongest and most well-developed horse breeds of all time.

While you will definitely find it hard to come across a true white Thoroughbred horse, it is actually not impossible.

For the most part, this horse breed comes in bay, dark bay, chestnut, gray or black, but the occasional true white can also show up.

If you do want to get yourself a white horse, you’ll need to cross a dominant white gene with a normal mare and you have a pretty high chance to get a pink skinned white-haired foal.

13. American Paint Horses

White American Paint Horses

Yet another breed that can’t usually be true white, the American Paint Horse can still produce fake white foals.

In fact, this breed’s distinctive color markings literally form because of the consistency of white hairs on their pink skins.

As such, while they are not true whites, they are still considered to be partially white horses. Then again, American Paint horses are still capable of creating true whites, and are a lot more likely to do so than Arabian horses for example.

12. Lipizzan Horses

15 White Horse Breeds – Lipizzan
Photo by Kornelia Laubach / Pixabay.com

This breed is known for being one of the most common grey horse producers out there. The Lipizzan horse breed is often times used on the dressage shows of the Spanish Riding School from Vienna, Austria.

They are very elegant and are quite popular among collectors due to their color. Most Lipizzan horses are gray, although you can also come across bay and black horses too.

They are never producing true white foals though because they are almost always born black and they whiten out over the years.

The Lipizzan horse breed is quite popular around the middle and eastern side of Europe, and while they do tend to take longer to mature, they live long and healthy lives for the most part and are known for being able to work even in their 20s.

11. Camargue Horses

15 White Horse Breeds – Camargue
Photo by gayulo / Pixabay.com

This horse breed can be found roaming the marshlands of Southern France, being one of the most unique white horse breeds out there.

They are known for being small and light, with most adult Camargue horses only reaching a height of 13.1 to 14.3 hands or so.

They are especially hardy and agile though and are known for being great companions for children. Just keep in mind that they are exclusively gray, and as they grow older, they also become lighter. They are never going to be true whites, although this shouldn’t deter you from getting one either.

10. American White Horses

American Albino horse
Photo by GOETZ Christine / wikipedia.org

The American White horse is a color breed that came directly from breeding a white stallion with Morgan mares.

While this was a good match though, it wasn’t as good as the breeders were hoping, so instead they decided to add in more white horses to enhance the breed’s best qualities.

This is how the American Albino horse was created, but since albinism isn’t exactly possible in horses, they ended up being renamed as American whites over the years. They are exceptionally gracious and kindhearted horses though that are very easy to train which makes them great for beginners.

9. Camarillo Horses

Camarillo White Horse
Camarillo White Horses / facebook.com

If you are on the lookout for a true white horse breed though, you’ll definitely want to start googling for Camarillo breeders around you because it is exclusively white.

These horses have pink skin and a white coat that covers their whole bodies, and while that is all fine and good it is also one of the rarest breeds around.

It was first developed back in 1921, after a Spanish mustang stallion known as Sultan was crossed with Morgan mares, producing pure white foals.

Back in 1991 though, this breed was critically endangered, with only 11 horses remaining. So, a studbook was created, and blood from other breeds was then introduced in order to stop inbreeding from happening.

While there are a lot more Camarillo horses around now than there were before, let’s just say that there could definitely be a lot more of them if they weren’t so expensive to begin with.

8. Cremello Horses

Cremello white horse
Snowy River Cremello Thoroughbred Stallion / facebook.com

While it is not an actual horse breed but a color-breed, it is still a color that can be referred to as white so it definitely fits the bill to be on this list.

Cremello horses are horses that have been affected by the cream gene, which turns their skin and their coats lighter.

You can actually find Cremello horses in most breeds out there, but the one thing that they all have in common is the fact that they are all white from head to tail.

At the same time, some of them can also have a more pinkish tint, and while they are not considered to be true white horses, they are still amongst our favorites.

7. Appaloosa

Appaloosa white horses
Photo by B Snuffleupagus / pixabay.com

Despite the fact that they do have white over their bodies, Appaloosa horses are not actually considered to be white horses to begin with, quite the contrary.

White Appaloosas are referred to as the Few-Spot Appaloosa, and they are almost entirely white, with more than a handful of black spots across their bodies.

There is a sub-breed of Appaloosa though that is known as the Few-Spot Leopard. This breed only has one or two black spots over their bodies, making the rest of them practically all-white.

6. Missouri Fox Trotter Horses

Missouri Fox Trotter Horse White

As the name implies, this horse breed can be found primarily around Missouri, and it is quite popular due to its unique, ambling foxtrot gait.

While we don’t know exactly what breeds went into the mixing process, we do know that the Morgans, the Arabians and the Tennessee Walking Breeds must have been a part of that crossing.

The Missouri Fox Trotters are known for being especially sturdy horses with strong bones, a lot of stamina and the capacity to gallop through any terrain whatsoever.

While it is possible to get white Fox Trotters though, you should know that this is by far the rarest color that they can come in, and it is only possible due to the presence of a dominant sabino-1 gene.

5. Clydesdale Horses

White Clydesdale Horse
KD Performance Horses / facebook.com

The Clydesdale Horse breed is known for being exceptionally strong and sturdy on their feet, being a direct cross between the horses from Lanarkshire and Flemish stallions.

The breed was first brought to the US around the 1880s and they immediately caught a lot of attention from the local farmers due to their heavily built structure which allowed them to plow fields, pull wagons and do every heavy-duty task with ease.

While for the most part this horse breed comes in chestnut, cream, brown and bay colors, you can also get a white Clydesdale.

This is a very loyal and easy to tame breed that is great for beginners, and even better for farmers that need a heavy-duty horse to do everything around the farm for them.

4. Connemara Ponies

Connemara White Pony
Photo by Susan McAleer / Pixabay.com

This is an Irish sports pony breed that is most commonly found gray colored. It is a very intelligent breed that is most popular around the British Isles and around the US.

Besides gray, you can also find this pony in bay, chestnut, black, brown, palomino and dun colors.

If you happen to have any children around you may want to invest into a Connemara pony because they excel in giving rides to children, especially since they’re usually only around 12.2 to 15 hands tall.

3. Percheron Horses

Percheron White Horse
Holland Horse Company / facebook.com

Percheron is actually the most popular French draft breed in the world, and for good reason too. It is one of the most elegant and agile draft horse breeds out there, being perfect as a harness horse as well as under the saddle.

Most of the time you’ll find the Percheron horse to be gray or black, and while they may not look it from these pictures, the Percheron horse is an exceptionally humongous horse, ranging between 15 and 19 hands in height alone.

They were used as war horses in the 17th century, but because of the decline of heavy cavalry, they were then employed as pulling coaches and draft workers.

2. Mustang Horses

White Mustang Horse
South Steens Wild Horses / facebook.com

Mustangs can be found free-roaming all across North America. They are direct descendants of the Spanish horses that were brought across the Atlantic around the 15th century.

Back then though, they managed to escape confinement and they started to spread their genes all across the US, to the point where there are well over 100,000 of them living in the US wilderness right now.

You can find them in any color of the spectrum, including white, and while it is not exactly common, you can still come across a white Mustang every now and then.

1. Azteca Horses

White Azteca Horse
Photo by horsemen / stock.adobe.com

The Azteca horse breed originates from Mexico, where the breeders decided to combine an Andalusian, an American Quarter horse and a Mexican Criollo horse.

Later on down the line, they managed to find their way to the US, where they were subsequently bred with the American paint horses, giving birth to the American Azteca horses.

While for the most part Azteca horses are gray, you can also find most any other solid colors around, including white. This is a much rarer color though, so if you do happen to find one just remember that it is a one in a thousand phenomenon.


White horse breeds
Photo by Helena Lopes / unsplash.com

White horses come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, and while not all of them are true whites, if you just so happen to want to own a white horse, you shouldn’t be all too picky about it.

Sure, if you want a true white that is also fine, but just keep in mind that the color of the horse may change, but the horse itself will always remember you as an owner, a companion and most importantly, a friend.

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About Alex Verwest

Alex is an equestrian consultant who has co-founded several successful start-up companies and worked with various international equestrian businesses. Using his experience and connections in this field, he loves to introduce readers to many outstanding small equestrian brands, sharing stories about equestrian lifestyle and trends. Learn more about Seriously Equestrian's Editorial Process.

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