Zebras vs Horses: Similarities & Difference

Well, both zebras and horses are in the Equine Family. While a majority of horses are domesticated, the zebras have still remained wild. Although they are cousins and share many features in common, they can easily be differentiated by color, body, size, sound, speed, diet, and domestication.

Zebra vs Horse

This in-deep article will help you know more about zebras vs horses.

How are zebras related to horses?

Zebras are some species of the African Equine Family, the Horse Family. This family also includes the Donkey but unlike the others, the Zebra has never been domesticated.

Zebras and horses are definitely related. They both belong to the genus Equus (the genus of mammals) – the only recognized extant within the Equids. The ancient ancestor of the Equus genus is estimated to be 4 million years before the present.

Equus comprises 7 living species: E. ferus, E. Africanus asinus, E. hemionus, E. kiang, E. quagga, E. zebra, and E. grevyi.

The first one is of the horse, the middle three are of a donkey, and the last three are of zebra.

equine family related to zebra

Comparison between zebras vs horses

Since zebras and horses belong to the Equine Family, they both are hoofed mammals. They produce offspring but the zorses, her bras, and zonies are always sterile.

However, there are many differences between zebras vs horses that might be interesting for us to know.

1. Color

A zebra has a black-and-white stripe covering the body which is arranged uniquely for each individual. When standing in the tall grass, this black and white coat plays the role of a camouflage means and protects the zebra herself.

Meanwhile, horses have multicolored skin. They can have pink, black, brown, white, gray, etc but do not have stripes like their cousins – the zebras.

2. Size

Have you ever touched a real zebra? If yes, did you find that she is smaller and lighter than a horse? Well, if your answer is “yes”, then you are right. Zebras have a donkey-like body, and they are not as big and heavy as horses.

3. Morphology of body part

Zebras’ ears are larger and more rounded than those of horses. Zebras’ tails are solid and end with hairy tufts while horses have a hairy tails. Zebras’ manes are short and stiff but their cousins look gorgeous in long hairy manes which lie freely on the neck.

Horses’ legs are much longer but zebra’s legs are of nearly equal length when compared with the upper part of the body. And that makes the horse’s legs seem to be visually longer. Moreover, horses’ hooves are bigger, softer, and not as oval as zebra hooves.

>>> Discover more: Part of Horse’s Hoof

4. Speed

You may think that zebras run faster than horses because of the dangerous environment they are living in. Surprisingly, a horse can reach 54.7 miles per hour, much faster than the 40 miles per hour of zebras maximum speed. To survive, intelligent zebras run in a zigzag manner when being chased by predators.

>>> Read more: Fastest Horse Ever of all time

5. Domestication

Zebras have never been domesticated since their bodies are not suitable for riding. Also, their temper is hard to be predictable and ready to fight back to defend themselves. Unlike zebras, horses have ridden for 4000 years BC.

6. Diet

Although these animals are herbivores, a horse’s diet is especially based on grass. Well, generally a zebra eats grass but she can easily have brush and shrubs for her meals in case grass is not available.

7. Sound

Horses and zebra have a vocabulary of noises, such as the snort, the snuffle, the whinnies, and the bray. However, zebra has a unique “bark” sound which is high-pitched to alert nearby zebras about the presence of predators. Moreover, this sound is also an identification call to communicate with others when the zebra’s family is separated

Horse and Zebra play fighting


With these interesting facts about zebras and horses, we hope you will no longer wonder yourself “are zebras related to horses?” and how a zebra and a horse are different. Me, I remember I used to wonder why people did not ride zebras but always horses, luckily I knew the answer soon after then.


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