Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > General > 14 African Horse Breeds (With Pictures)

14 African Horse Breeds (With Pictures)


There are many horse breeds scattered throughout the world, and they can vary considerably from one area to the next based on the climate that they live in and the work they need to do. Draft horses are excellent workers and tend to have muscular bodies that are thick and heavy while racing horses tend to be much leaner. The Clydesdale and other horses you often see in cold climates often have hair that hangs down over their hooves as well as a thicker, longer mane. Right now, we will look at African horses to see how many breeds there are and how they differ from horses found in other parts of the world. Keep reading while we supply you with pictures and a short description of each breed to help you make an educated purchase.


The 14 African Horse Breeds

1. Abyssinian

The Abyssinian horse is a breed from Ethiopia, which was formerly called Abyssinia. It’s one of the world’s poorest countries, and the people use these horses for transportation and agricultural work. You will find this horse in the mountain region of northern Ethiopia. It has a sway back and a heavy belly.

2. Bahr-El-Ghazal

The Bar-El-Ghazal is a variety of the Dongola horse that we will talk about soon. This variety is a little shorter than the other breeds and is a little heavier. It’s usually dark-colored but may have patches of white that extend to the legs.

3. Barb

The Barb horse originates from north Africa and is the basis for many other breeds. It’s a hardy breed with plenty of stamina capable of making long journeys through hot weather. Scientists have traced the bones back 4,000 years, and you can see cave paintings depicting this breed in numerous locations.

4. Basotho Pony

The Basotho pony is a small horse and has horse-like features and a long stride. It has a heavy head and a long neck with straight shoulders and a muscular body. It’s usually chestnut, brown, bay, black, or gray and can have some white markings mixed in. It’s surefooted, and owners describe it as fearless and fast.

5. Boerperd

The Boerperd is a modern horse breed from South Africa. Breeders created it to mimic the Cape Horse, which is now extinct. This horse was the first to make it to Australia, where it became the basis for the Australian Waler. This breed is also responsible for the Basotho Pony breed as well as the Namaqua Pony.

6. Dongola

The Dongola breed is popular in Africa and is similar to the Barb breed that we discussed earlier. Owners mostly use this horse for riding, but many people also use it for pulling carts and other labor. It has plenty of energy and is easy to train. Due to its calm demeanor, it rarely gets spooked, so it’s unlikely to throw new riders.

7. Fleuve

The Fleuve comes from West Africa, and its name is a French word for big river, which described the area where it lives. There is little documentation about its origin, so there is little information about it before the 1970s when researchers began to keep track of its numbers.

8. Fouta

The Fouta is another horse breed from West Africa, created by mixing a Fleuve stallion with a M’Bayar mare. The result of this mix is a highly sought-after racing horse. Like many other breeds originating from Africa, its origins do not have proper documentation, and researchers only began to keep track of their numbers in the 1970s.

9. M’Bayar

The M’Bayar is a small horse from West Africa closely related to the Fouta and the Fleuve. It’s the most popular of the horses from this region, and despite its small size, it’s very fast and capable of hard work. It’s also a popular transportation animal due to its high stamina level.

10. Nooitgedachter

The Nooitgedachter is a South African horse breed created primarily for riding. It’s more modern than many others, and its development began in the 1950s. Due to past inbreeding creating stallions and mares that are not desirable, this breed has been slow to grow, and there are only a few hundred found worldwide. It’s a good jumping horse and is suitable for long-distance riding. Many experts recommend this breed for children because it’s easy to manage.

11. Hamdani

Hamdani horses are plain solid colored horses with a muscular build. It’s one of the larger horse breeds from Africa and often stands more than 15 hands tall. It has a large, straight head and is usually grey or bay colored, but you can find them in other colors too.

12. Poney du Logone

The Poney du Logone is a small horse breed from central Africa closely connected with that region’s Moussey people. It hails from an area where breeding remained mostly unchanged for more than 100 years, so this breed’s pedigree is well defined. It’s one of the only breeds resistant to sleeping sickness, a harmful disease that can cause self-mutilation and aggressive behavior in your horse.

13. Tawleed

The Tawleed is a horse breed from Sudan in Northern Africa. Most owners use them for riding and describe them as extremely resistant to heat and drought, which can help transport supplies across the hot arid climate. However, these horses are extremely rare, and there is no specific pedigree documented.

14. Vlaamperd

The Vlaamperd is one of the rarest horses on this list and in the world. It comes from the Western Cape section of South Africa and is a mix of several small horse breeds. It usually stands about 14 hands tall, and owners often use it for driving carts and carriage rides. The Stallions are always black, but the mares can be dark brown.

horse shoe divider


If you are looking to get an African horse, the Barb and the Fouta are likely the easiest to find and most affordable. The Vlaamperd is also a smart choice for anyone doing carriage rides, though they might be harder to find and a bit more expensive. The other breeds on this list exist in much smaller numbers, and some are hard to find outside their specific region.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this list and found a few breeds you hadn’t heard of before. If we have gotten you interested enough to look up more information about one of these horses, please share these 14 African horse breeds on Facebook and Twitter.

Related horse reads:

Featured Image: jacotakepics, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets