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 > Horses > Falabella Horse: Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Falabella Horse: Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Falabella Horses

You will certainly appreciate the adorable miniature horse—the Falabella—if you’re a horse lover. Even though at first glance you might think the Falabella is a pony, that is not true. They take the title of the smallest horse on the whole planet—very special indeed.

If you don’t have a lot of space, or the idea of a house horse has interested you, you should learn all you can before deciding to purchase. Let us fill you in! These are authentic horses that make exquisite additions to particular living situations.

Breed Overview

Care Level Moderate
Temperature Warm
Temperament Gentle, easy-going, docile
Colors Bay, black, red leopard-spotted
Lifespan 40–45 years
Weight 75–120 pounds (stallions), 70–115 pounds (mares)
Height 6–7 hands (stallions), 6–7 hands (mares)

Falabellas make such desirable pets—but good luck with your search! These rare minis are quite hard to find. That doesn’t stop enthusiasts from being curious about this sought-after breed. These little cuties check all the boxes for what makes a miniature-sized horse fabulous for the family.

Falabella Horse Characteristics



What Are Falabella Horses Used For?

The Falabella is sought after because it’s very unusual, rare, and extremely small. Typically, these horses are kept for two purposes: pets or show. Although, they can pull their weight around the farm somewhat, helping with loads up to 70 pounds.

These tiny horses are excellent first-time riders for small children. So, if you’re looking to train your young child on a safe horse, this is an ideal place to start. We want to be clear that these horses cannot hold much weight on their backs.

So, you must know the limitations. Remember that the Falabella horses can only carry roughly 70 pounds. That means they can safely carry children up to approximately 4 to 6 years of age.

If your child is any older than this, they should try walking them around on a lead rather than hopping on their backs. If your Falabella takes on too much weight at a time, it can cause severe back problems, which can be expensive to treat, and in some cases, it can cause lifelong problems.

Falabella walking in the snow
Image By: Zuzule, Shutterstock

Where Did The Falabella Horses Originate From?

The adorable little Falabella descended from South America, specifically Argentina. This breed came to be when a man named Patrick Newtall tailored the breed from Criollo in the 1840s—so this breed is quite old!

After the beginning of this stunning petite horse, Newtall brought his son-in-law on board—Juan Falabella. A few generations later, the breed was perfected and displayed to the world by great-grandson Julio Falabella.

While it likely goes without saying, the charming little Falabella received its lovely name from those who helped create it. Once Julio introduced the Falabella in the 1960s, their popularity expanded greatly after that.

Today, descendants of Julio continue to breed these beautiful horses in the homeland of Argentina. However, many also try their hand in the United States and Europe. Falabellas are very unique and extremely rare.

The Falabella horse is a rare one—it can mainly be found in the Americas and Europe. It’s primarily concentrated in its homeland but has liberally spread out across the globe since the 1940s.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Falabella

So, while they’re mainly bred for pets and shows, they still have a purpose and can work great in many valuable areas. Breeders have diligently been working on the personality of the Falabella.

These horses are known for being very docile, easy to work with, and intelligent. Because of their agreeable nature, they work very well for small children (unlike certain miniature ponies that can be very headstrong, rigid, and stubborn).

Much like a Chihuahua has a lengthy lifespan for a dog, the Falabella horse has a longer lifespan than an average horse. They can live as long as 45 years, which is roughly 15 years longer than their full-size companions.

Appearance & Varieties

A Falabella horse in a fenced field
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

The Falabella is a tiny, strong little horse that stands roughly 8 hands high. That equates to a total height of 28 to 34 inches on average. The compact appearance was achieved using several horse breed influences, including the Welsh, Shetland, Thoroughbred, and Criollo.

These hardy little horses are physically impressive and robust. While they might appear pony-like, they are considered horses due to the major horse influence in the bloodlines. As the breed developed, patterns such as Appaloosa and Pinto started to develop. These horses are primarily brown and black but can also appear leopard spotted.

The Falabella is hardy, slim, and compact with a dished forehead and doe eyes. They have a relatively thick mane and tail that requires regular grooming. These tiny equines are minis for good, remaining foal-like their whole lives.

horse shoe divider new do not use

Things to Know When Owning a Falabella Horse:

Habitat & Stable Requirements 🌾

The Fallabella is incredibly adaptable, fitting into a variety of living situations. They need plenty of grazing space, daily rations, and shelter from the elements to stay happy and healthy. Each Falabella horse requires an ideal minimum of 1 acre per horse.

While we don’t necessarily recommend it, Falabellas can be kept indoors. If you would like to take on the challenge of having a horse houseguest, the Falabella is definitely the breed for you.

If you choose this method of housing, take them out every day to ensure they can graze and get enough exercise. In the house, it’s advisable to put a rubber sole, or another fix, around their hooves to prevent floor scratches and protect their sensitive feet.

Food & Diet Requirements 🥕

Falabella horses thrive on natural grasses and grains. They love grazing in the field, which should take up most of their day. You can add in grain to balance dietary requirements, but they get most of their sustenance from nature.

Thanks to their compact size, they also work very well and nutritionally thrive in small fenced-in spaces with luscious foliage.

Exercise 🐎

Ideally, Falabellas and many other small horses should be exercised daily to take care of mental and physical stimulation needs. At a minimum, you should exercise them three times per week to keep them fit and healthy.

The awesome thing about these horses is that their size gives way to lots of fun activities. You can spend time teaching them tricks, going on walks, and playing games—much like you would with a domestic dog!

foal mini horse Falabella
Image Credit: DraNika, Shutterstock

Training 🐴

The Falabella is the smallest horse in the world! These tiny horses stand roughly 2–3 feet high—but don’t let their small stature fool you. These are quite strong equines, capable of carrying small children and even small carts.

In addition to riding, folks train the Falabella to act as therapy horses for emotional support. They can also act as guide horses for people who are blind. They truly are brilliant, versatile little equines who get along fabulously with children and other pets.

Grooming 🧽

You should groom your lovely Falabella weekly to keep their coats tidy and debris-free. Since they are small, grooming is considerably less time-consuming than that of a full-grown horse. You can do all sorts of braids and funky hairstyles for them, too. Your Falabella will love the attention!

Falabellas will also need hoof care every 6 to 8 weeks. If you are experienced, you can do this on your own. However, if you need a little help tending, you can contact a reputable farrier to come to the farm.

Lifespan & Health Conditions 🏥

Falabellas are generally healthy little equines. They can live up to 45 years! Their favorable lifespans make them excellent additions to young families—the horse can grow with your family and even meet your grandchildren one day!

But like all little horses, the Falabella can have problems crop up. Regular care, frequent time spent, and routine vetting will keep your mini healthy for years to come. But here are some conditions to watch for.

Minor Conditions
  • Malerupted teeth
  • Overbite/underbite
  • Sinusitis
  • Obesity
Serious Conditions
  • Luxating patella
  • Angular limb deformities
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Dwarfs
  • Dystocia

Male vs Female

Surprisingly, males and females are so similar in size; they have few differences. Without taking a peek at the nether regions, it can be hard to tell gender by size alone.

Girls and boys will sport different personalities. Both tend to be docile and friendly, but the girls are adventurous, and the boys are slightly more friendly. However, this will vary based on the individual horse.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Falabella Horse

1. Falabellas are very rare today.

There aren’t large numbers of them out there in the world, so if you ever meet one, consider yourself lucky. And if you own one? All the more exciting!
Outside of their original home in Argentina, the Falabella exists in the United States and various countries across the globe. These beauties came to the States in 1962, and there are only roughly 2,000 registered horses in the US today.

2. The Falabella is the smallest horse breed of all.

These compact cuties are the smallest horse breed of all, as we mentioned earlier.

3. Falabellas have fewer vertebrae than regular horses.

Because of their small stature, the Falabella is actually structurally different from their larger counterparts. This breed has fewer vertebrae than their full-size cousins—making sense in relation to their compact size.

new horse shoe dividerFinal Thoughts

Falabellas are extremely good horses for pets or for small-scale farming! These little horses take up very minimal space, and some people even allow them in the home. Granted, if you allow a horse to stay in your home, preparations must be made—and you have to understand the implications of having a horse in your home.

This fascinating horse breed can pull carts, carry children, perform, and train like any other. You may even have more unique possibilities due to their size. Welcoming one of these cuties can be difficult, as they are hard to find in some regions. Contact local breeders in your area for more information on locating a lovely Falabella.

Featured Image Credit: horsemen, 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