Spotted horses are quite uncommon as most horse breeds mainly has bay, chestnut, black, grey and white colours in them. Spotted horses are very eye catching because of the colour and pattern of their coats which differentiate them from normal horse breeds. We have ranked the 11 Most Common Spotted Horse breeds in the world today.
The appaloosa is the most common spotted horse breed. The breed has six coat patterns in total; two of them that are more popular include Blanket and Leopard Appaloosas. The latter has white coats covered with spots, and they look more like a big cat. At the same time, Blanket Appaloosa has a darker color. Towards the back of them is a lighter area. Appaloosa is the best-known breed of spotted horses. The Appaloosa Horse Club is dedicated to preserving the breed since 1938.
This spotted horse breed originated from Denmark two centuries ago. The Knabstruppers have striped hooves and pale sclera. Their skin inside the ears and around the eyes is pink and they are commonly known for their high spirits and stamina. They are used for dressage, trail riding or pulling carriages; you may see them in show jumping also. Their unique appearance clearly shows why they are popular. A white horse with dark spots only existed in the fairytales until the Knabstrupper arrived.
3) Tiger Horse
The origin of this spotted horse breed is not known till now. It is pretty similar to the Appaloosa in terms of its spots, but it has a rare extra gait called glider gate (also referred to as Indian shuffle) . Horse riders say it riders very comfortable and smooth. Its breed is yet to be developed and breeders are encouraged to only use Tiger horses with a remarkable glider gate in their breeding program. Its a gaited horse breed that is slowly becoming more popular in United States. It is now being overseen by the tiger horse association.
The Noriker is a spotted horse breed originated from Austria and was previously known as Pinzgauer. It reached its peak of popularity between the 1st and 2nd world war and has mainly been used in agriculture. Almost all Norikers have spots and have “Leopard-type” markings but they also come in black and blue colors, and some of their patterns include overo and tobiano. Noriker is almost the only spotted horse breed that is the heavier draft horse type, which makes them very majestic looking.
5) Colorado Ranger
This spotted breed was originated from Colorado High Plains and is either spotted or solid-coloured. The former has “Leopard-style” black spots. They used to be a popular ranch horse and there are many similarities between the Appaloosa and the Colorado ranger horse. They are used for leisure riding now and are known for their temperament and agility.
6) British Spotted Pony
You might have guessed from its name (The British spotted Pony), that this horse has a unique spotty pattern. The breed originated in Britain some centuries ago. It has leopard or near-leopard type dots with pink skin around the muzzle and eyes. It also has white sclera and striped hooves. Nowadays, people use these horses carriage driving and for riding. They are often mistake for being normal miniature horses. Because of their small size they are also often used as companion animals for other horses.
7) Nez Percé Horse
In 1938, the breeding of the Nez Percé horse was started by a North American Tribe in Idaho by crossing the Akhal teke breed with Appaloosa. These beautiful horses are often used for jumping, trail rides and long-distance endurance riding. They usually have palomino coats along with spots overlaying them, showing their association with Appaloosa. All in all, they look more like Appaloosas.
8) American Paint Horse
The unique characteristic of this spotted horse breed is its colorful coat, showing patches of various colors in the pinto pattern. Most American Paint Horses have dark coats and white spots (of any kind but not leopard). The American paint horse is a versatile horse breed and regularly used in western events.
If you take a look at its name carefully, you will find it similar to Appaloosa because of its Appaloosa coloring. Otherwise, it is just a gaited horse. It provides a comfortable ride also because of its smooth gait, but it isn’t as effective in the show ring. At the moment, the registered Walkaloosas are very few in number.
Mustangs are often considered wild horses even though they are very common amongst horse owners. They originated from domesticated Spanish Horses and are found in various patterns and colours such as black, sorrel, brown, bay and spotted. So they are not typically known to have a spotty coat color - but they do exist. They are small in size and have heights between 12 and 14 hands, so more a pony type than a large horse. You can find many of these roaming freely in North America.
11) Pony of the Americas
This spotted horse breed originated in Iowa, USA. The breed was created by crossing a shetland ponies with Arabian and Appaloosa. Approved coat patterns include leopard patterns with dark spots on a white coat. They are a popular kids pony because of its small size, they are another versatile breed used for english and western sports.
Whether you're a shetland pony breeder, draft horse breeder or just into regular horseback riding - Spotted horses are fascinating horse enthusiasts around the world. Thank you to all the breeders, associations and clubs that help us preserve these breeds. The spotted horse is truly a fairytale horse in real life.