White horse breeds have been around for centuries, with some of them appearing as far back as ancient times. Today, many horses still carry the white gene and are bred specifically to be true white horses. These horses can be absolutely stunning, with their coats reflecting light in a way that is truly captivating.
Real White Horses
The term ‘true white horse’ is defined as a horse that carries the genetic trait that produces an all-white hair coat. These horses are born either completely white or with very small amounts of pigmentation in their skin, eyes and hooves. True white horses usually have pinkish or dark-colored skin, dark eyes and black hooves.
The most popular white horse breeds are the American White Horse, Andalusian, Arabian, Camarillo White Horse and Lipizzaner. All of these breeds share the same genetic trait mentioned above which produces an all-white hair coat.
White horse breeds
White horses come in many different breeds and sizes. Some of the most popular white horse breeds include:
The Lipizzan is a white horse breed of Spanish origin. It has a long, graceful neck and powerful hindquarters that help it move with agility and grace. Lipizzaners have a unique ability to ‘levade’, which is when they lift their front legs off the ground and hold them in a vertical position while remaining still. This is a skill that was utilized by the equestrian school of the Imperial and Royal Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria. Lipizzaners are popular for their elegant appearance, as well as their intelligence and sensitivity. They are known for being gentle, loyal companions to humans, making them great for riding horses. The average height of a Lipizzaner is between 14.2–16.1 hands, and they tend to have a white coat with black or gray points. While many Lipizzaners are born with solid white coats, they can also have a creamy shade of white that changes as they mature.
American Cream Draft
Old Granny was the first mare to be recognized as an American Cream Draft. Bred in Iowa during the early 1900s, this breed’s distinct white coat and mealy muzzle earned it its nickname. These horses have a very gentle temperament and are known for their intelligence and ability to work hard even with minimal instruction. Their docile nature makes them great for beginner riders, and their size averaging between 15 to 16.3 hands makes them easy to handle and control. As working horses, they are great for pulling heavy loads on the farm or in the mountains. The American Cream Draft is a hardy horse with good health, perfect for anyone looking for an all-purpose riding partner.
The Camargue horse is a rare breed of white horse native to the marshlands of the Camargue region in France. It is believed that these horses were bred by the local inhabitants and have been present in this area for thousands of years. The breed has flourished because of its hardiness, intelligence, agility and strength. These qualities make it well-suited for riding and working the marshes. It is considered to be the only true white horse breed in existence today, with no other base colors appearing in its coat. Its long mane and tail are generally light grey or silver, although occasionally darker colors do occur. The breed stands between 13.1-14.3 hands tall and is known for its sure-footedness and hardy nature. The Camargue horse is still used today by the local cattle herders of the region, who use it to move their herds in the wet marshes.
The Connemara Pony is a breed native to Ireland, bred for hardiness and strength. It is one of the few true white horse breeds in existence today, and its notable characteristics include its small size (generally 12.2 to 15 hands), its low-set ears, and its distinctive head shape. Its coat colors are usually grey, dun, bay, or black. The Connemara Pony is an agile and sure-footed mount, making it ideal for cross-country riding and jumping. It is known for its versatility, intelligence, and friendly personality. The breed can be seen at shows across the globe competing in dressage, eventing, driving, show jumping, and more.
The Shagya Arabian is a true white horse breed that originated in Central Europe. It is thought to have been created by crossing Arabians with native European breeds and was originally bred for their strength, intelligence, and hardy nature. They are generally well-muscled horses and display an elegant gait when ridden. The coat of this breed is typically pure white with some having light gray or cream-colored hair. The mane and tail of the Shagya Arabian are usually long and silky, giving the horse an impressive look when viewed from afar. This breed is known for its sound temperament, making them an ideal mount for even novice riders.
Camarillo White Horse
The Camarillo White Horse is an endangered breed of horse that developed in the United States in the early 1900s. The breed was selectively bred for its color, a pure white coat with no markings or other pigmentation. The Camarillo White Horse is also known for its long, fine mane and tail and strong legs that allow it to move quickly and gracefully. Its temperament is considered mild-mannered and friendly, making it an excellent companion horse.
The Boulonnais Horse is a white horse breed originating from France’s northern coastal region of Boulogne. They are renowned for their agility and strength and were historically used as heavy cavalry horses in wars throughout Europe. The typical characteristics of the breed include strong legs, long necks, and an energetic disposition. This breed has an even-tempered personality and is incredibly docile. The Boulonnais Horse comes in a range of sizes, from small to large, with the largest being about 17 hands high. They are also known for their striking white coats that can range from pure white to light cream or grey. Boulonnais Horses have been used in equestrian competitions, such as dressage, show jumping and cross-country. The breed is also well-suited to recreational riding and trail riding in addition to its other uses. Boulonnais Horses are known for their intelligence, athleticism, strength and sure-footedness.
The Percheron is one of the most popular breeds of true white horses, originating in France. These large, powerful horses have a well-muscled frame, and a gentle disposition, and are known for their intelligence. They are also incredibly versatile and can be used for riding, driving, and drafting work. The breed was developed to withstand the hard work of pulling heavy loads and carriages, so they are very strong and resilient. While their size can be intimidating, these horses are known to be good-natured and willing to please.
The Orlov Trotter is a breed of horse from the Russian Empire. It was developed in the late 18th century at the Orlov Stud Farm and has since become one of the most popular breeds in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe. The breed is truly white, with a crest that reaches 15.5 to 16 hands tall, and is known for its intelligence, strength, and speed. It is often used in harness racing and show jumping events. Its unique look has made it a popular choice for film roles. The breed was nearly wiped out during the Russian Revolution but was revived in the 1950s thanks to dedicated breeding efforts.
The Paint horse is considered to be the most popular breed in North America and comes in many distinct colors like black, bay, chestnut, and various shades of white. The Paint Horse has an athletic build with a muscular back and shoulders, giving it great strength and endurance. This breed has an even temper and is known for being gentle around both humans and animals.
How Much do White Horses Cost?
White horses are one of the most sought-after breeds in the equine world due to their unique coloration and regal stature. The cost of a white horse can vary greatly depending on its pedigree, age, and individual traits. Generally speaking, an average white horse will cost between $1,500-$10,000 USD. Show-quality horses, however, can range from $12,500-$100,000 USD or higher.
Why is a white horse called a GREY?
Contrary to its name, a white horse is not actually grey in color. They are classified as “true white” horses due to their pure white coat, which lacks any underlying pigmentation or skin tone. Despite this, they are still commonly referred to as ‘greys’ due to the fact that they can often appear a pale shade of grey.
What color are white horses born?
White horses have a unique coat color, but they are not born white. Many breeds of true white horses are born with their coats varying from black or brown to shades of gray and dun. Some may even be chestnut or roan-colored when they are firstborn. As the horse matures, its coat can lighten until it becomes a white shade.
Are white horses deaf?
No, white horses are not deaf. While some believe that the color of a horse’s coat could indicate whether or not it is deaf, this is actually a myth. The true cause of deafness in horses has to do with genetics and pigmentation within the inner ear, regardless of coat color.