There are many types and breeds of horses in the world. Many have been nourished to assist the human’s needs and wants. Nowadays, although we don’t need horses for power or transportation anymore (except in certain corners of the world), we are still attracted by their beauty and enjoy them as a companion and a “sidekick” in sports.
Why are there numerous types of horses?
There are two major types – ponies under 14hh (i.e. 56″ at the withers) and horses over 14hh. You can divide them into driving horses , draft horses and ponies, gaited horses, stock horses for working livestock, horses bred for meat, light horses for riding and racing, some as companions, etc. Many of the breeds falling under these primary types are available.
Why do horses have so many breeds?
People nourished most breeds when horses were the primary means of power and transportation. Belgian, Clydesdale, or Percheron are good at pulling heavy loads. For the entertainment of horse racing, you may hear a lot about the American Standardbred and the Thoroughbred.
People relied on Arabians to commute quickly over the desert. Meanwhile, riders were comfortably and rapidly carried over mountainous terrain thanks to Kentucky Mountain Horses.
All of the breeds were available in various locations around the world, and different locales would have grown their kinds as per needs. That’s why there are so many horse breeds all over the world.
How many breeds are there?
It’s hard to calculate the exact number as so many breeds have been newly added into, differentiated from others, or are localized.
In the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS), there are 4150 entries, reported by 200 countries or so. Still, the listing contains spelling-related errors and extra punctuation in names, which adds to the confusion.
According to Oklahoma State University’s The Breeds of Livestock Project, there are 217 separate horse breeds. The list starts with the Abyssinian and ends with the Zhemaich .
Elwyn Hartely Jones in The Encyclopaedia of the Horse has listed more than 150 breeds. Among these, many are ancient breeds that don’t exist anymore but are the ancestors of many groups of horses with particular characteristics today.
Most of the stocks cataloged are those with existing registry databases. The number of registries is also growing since we recognized how necessary it was to compile data about endangered and rare types.
The world’s ten most popular horse breeds
In spite of the large quantities, some have received more favors than others :
- Quarter Horse
- Tennessee Walker
- Miniature Horse
This piece of information may not satisfy your curiosity – exactly how many horse breeds are there in the world? Still, it gives you an idea of how the genetics of horses have been evolved in many ways to produce what is thought to be desirable traits. Studying the listings above is useful and exciting as you may not think of countries like Nijer as having distinct kinds of horses.
- The Encyclopaedia of the Horse by Elwyn Hartely Jones