Last Updated on January 26, 2022
People have always had a fascination with white horses. Here is a full list of white horse breeds, some you are likely familiar with and some that may be new to you.
What Is A True White Horse
Many people are surprised to learn that true white horses are very rare. Most commonly, when people think they see a white horse, the horse is considered ‘grey’.
Grey horses may appear to have white hair, but their skin is actually grey. They may have discolorations such as darker grey or red in their hair pattern as well.
The easiest way to tell if a horse is actually grey is to look at his points. Grey horses will have grey skin visible around their nose, eyes, ears, and belly.
Real white horses have pink skin under their coat. You can see this at their points as well, as pink skin is easily visible around their nose. They also commonly have blue, brown, or hazel eyes.
True white horses are white because of a rare combination of genes passed down from their parents.
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Do White Horses Change Colors?
A true all-white horse is born white and will stay white their whole lives.
However, grey horses can be born any color. The hairs of their coat will begin to turn silver as they mature. An older grey horse will then end up looking grey or nearly all white.
Horses that turn grey must have one parent who is also grey. The grey gene that they carry will eventually fade their coat out to a lighter color.
It can be difficult to determine if your foal will be grey early in their lives! If they have one parent who is grey, there is a 50% chance the grey gene has been passed down. If both parents are grey, there is only a 75% chance the foal will be grey. Usually, by about two years of age, it will become clear if your foal will begin to turn grey.
White Horse Breeds
There are a few white horse breeds that are true white horses. While this is rare, there are countless breeds that may carry grey genes. Here is a list of white horse breeds for you to learn more about!
The Camarillo is a very rare, true white breed of horse. This breed is also very new, only having been around for about 100 years.
This breed is known for its rare color. They generally have a compact build, are very strong, and commonly have an arched neck.
These white horses trace their heritage to a single sire- a Spanish mustang name Sultan. Adolfo Camarillo bought Sultan at a state fair in Sacramento, California in 1921. The stallion was brought to the Camarillo family ranch where he was bred with morgan mares for years, creating the Camarillo family line. The horses were sold at auction after Adolfo’s daughter’s death.
By 1991, only 11 Camarillo horses remained. The Camarillo White Horse Association was then formed to prevent the breed from dying out. To prevent inbreeding, one parent may be from another breed of horse. However, a separate registry is kept for non-white foals.
The Percheron is a breed of draft horse that originated in France. They are known for usually being grey, but can sometimes have black foals.
The origin of the Percheron breed is unknown. They were originally bred as war horses. As time moved on they were primarily used for pulling stagecoaches, forestry work, and agriculture.
Percherons are known for their intelligence and hard work ethic. They can range anywhere from 15 hh to 18hh. Percherons are very muscular and adapt well to all kinds of environments.
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3. Connemara Pony
While this pony can range in colors, the Connemara is most widely recognized as being grey. These ponies are especially hardy and thought to originate from Scandinavian ponies which were used by the Vikings.
These ponies were first recognized in Connemara, Ireland. The Connemara Pont Breeders Society was formed in 1923 to preserve the ponies’ bloodline after they were overly crossed with other horse breeds.
Connemara ponies are commonly used in modern times as sport ponies. They make excellent jumping, dressage, and eventing horses, and can be ridden by both children and adults.
4. Lipizzan – White Horse Breeds
The Lipizzan, or Lipizzaner, is a breed famously known for being used in the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria.
These horses are predominantly grey, with a few exceptions of bay horses. As with all grey horses, their foals start black or bay and being too grey out as they get older. Generally by the time they are six to ten years old they are fully grey.
Until the 18th century, Lipizzan horses were a variety of colors. Grey was the preferred color of the royal family at that time, however, so an emphasis was placed on only breeding grey lines.
It is the tradition of the Spanish Riding School to always have at least one bay Lipizzan in residence. They still continue this tradition today.
This is one of the oldest horse breeds still around today. The Camargue horse originated in the marsh and wetlands of southern France. This helped them to develop stamina and hardiness through the years.
Most of these horses are under 14.2 hands high, but because they are so tough they can easily be ridden by adults.
Many photographers like to capture scenes of herds of these grey ponies galloping through the waters of Southern France. Many are still feral or semi-feral today. They are also the official mounts of the ‘Guardians’, who are local cowboys who herd the black bulls used for bullfighting in the area.
The Fascination With White Horse Breeds
People have always been drawn to white horses. They are often used in cinema and literature to depict moving scenes. While the majority of horse breeds can carry the grey gene, it is still interesting to learn about the horses who are truly white, and who are recognized for being grey.