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.

11 Recently Extinct Horse Breeds (Updated in 2023)

Two Tarpans

When you are looking up horse breeds, you may notice several dozen breeds from all over the world. The American Quarter, Thorobred, Tennessee Walker, and others have numbers in the hundreds of thousands. However, many others aren’t as lucky, and their numbers are in decline. Several breeds are currently on the endangered list, like the American Cream, Suffolk, and Cleveland Bay, while several others have already become extinct. Keep reading while we look at several breeds that are no longer with us to get one more look at them and see if we can learn a little more about each one.


Top 11 Recently Extinct Horse Breeds

1. Abaco Barb

The Abaco Barb is an extinct breed of horse from the Bahamas. No one is sure how the horses got there, but experts think the Spanish brought them. It’s also possible they arrived after the American Revolution. There were once more than 200 horses on the island, but numbers declined to habitat destruction until it finally went extinct in 2015.

2. Charentais

The Cherentais is a French horse that worked to drain swamps until breeders crossed it with other breeds to create a cavalry riding horse. Though It is no longer with us, you can see a partial descendant of this breed by looking at the Selle Français.

3. Ferghana

The Ferghana was a popular Chinese horse imported from central Asia. Artists depict it in ancient artwork from the Tang Dynasty, which was from 618 to 907. Rumor states that these horses sweat blood, though experts believe parasites were the cause.

4. Narragansett Pacer

The Narragansett Pacer is the first horse that breeders created in the United States. It originated in Rhode Island in the 1800s and was extinct before the turn of the century. It was surefooted over rough terrain and was a mix of Spanish and European horses. George Washington owned one, and breeders crossed it with several other breeds, so its genes may live on in another species.

5. Navarrin

The Navarrin is another French horse that went extinct in the 1800s. Before that, it was a popular riding horse, and the government used it in light cavalry. Owners described it as lively and elegant.

6. Norfolk Trotter

The Norfolk Trotter was from Norfolk, England. It was a large trotting horse that was popular with royalty, and its owners included King Henry VIII. These were fast horses that could carry a full-grown man long distances at speeds exceeding 17 miles per hour (MPH).  The Norfolk Trotter influenced the American Standardbred and the Hackney horse breeds.

7. Old English Black

The Old English Black is an extinct European horse breed that, despite its name, was often brown or white. This breed heavily influenced the Clydesdale horse, and they may have looked quite similar. Breeders created it when the horses of the time did not have the strength to pull the carts.

8. Quagga

The Quagga was a subspecies of the zebra that looked like a zebra from the front and a horse from the back. This animal was native to South Africa and was prey to many hunters who wanted it for its meat and pelt. It was also a popular animal in traveling circuses due to its odd appearance.

9. Syrian Wild Ass

The Syrian Wild Ass is an extinct horse that was similar to the modern donkeys. Experts believe it was about three feet high at the shoulder, making it one of the smallest horse breeds. It was popular in the Middle East until it died out during World War Two.

10. Tarpan

The Tarpan was a large Eurasian Wild Horse. It went extinct shortly after the last ice age, but many experts believe the early man used this breed to create many horse breeds that we can still see today.

11. Turkoman

The Turkoman was the horse used by the nomadic people of Eurasia, including the Mongolians. It was a large, fast, and muscular horse. European breeders imported before it went extinct and used it to create the modern Thoroughbred, one of England’s most popular horses.

horse shoe divider


While many of these horses went extinct many years ago, the Abaco Barb shows us that it’s still possible in modern times, and we need to make every effort to save the horses on the endangered list before they meet the same fate. Breeds like the Canadian and Shire Draft horse won’t make it much longer without our help.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this list and found some facts you hadn’t heard before. If we have convinced you to look into things you can do to help endangered horses, please share this list of 11 recently extinct horse breeds on Facebook and Twitter.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Two Tarpans, Christian Jansky, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 2.5 Generic

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