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Home > Horses > 15 White Horse Breeds: History, Facts, & Info

15 White Horse Breeds: History, Facts, & Info

Camargue Horses

If you’ve ever seen a white horse, you know that they’re a truly breathtaking animal. There’s just something about white horses that sets the human imagination on fire, which is why they’re so heavily featured in movies, books, and other works of art and fiction.

One thing that you need to know, however, is that there are very few genuinely white horses. Indeed, the chance of seeing a pure white horse (about one in 100,000) is incredibly low because they’re so rare.

In this article, we showcase breeds that look white, even if they aren’t pure white. If gorgeous white horses make you happy, read on!


How Are White Horse Breeds Classified?

To be considered pure white, a horse must be born with skin and hair that is 100% free of pigment. A horse born with no skin and hair pigment will never change colors. That’s why having a genuinely white horse is so uncommon because the genetic occurrence happens so infrequently.

A horse born with pigment can lose some of it as they age and become more white, but they won’t be considered a genuine white horse. It’s important to note that many horse breeds can lose their pigmentation and become white.

The 15 White Horse Breeds

1. Arabian Horse

White arabian horse in the desert
Image Credit: Olga_i, Shutterstock
Origin: Arabian Peninsula
Lifespan: 25 to 30 years
Height: 15 hands (60 inches)

The Arabian horse has the distinction of being one of the oldest breeds in the world and one of the most popular. About 500,000 Arabian horses can currently be found in the United States. You’ll never have a true white Arabian, though, as they are born with dark skin. Where they originated, dark skin was needed to combat the constant UV rays of the sun.

If you see a white Arabian, they will most likely be a Shagya Arabian. That said, it’s possible to see an Arabian with pink skin and white hair. However, these horses are so uncommon that they’re not even classified as Arabians. But no matter the color, Arabian horses are still gorgeous.

2. American Paint Horse

American paint horse galloping in the grass
Image Credit: horsemen, Shutterstock
Origin: North America
Lifespan: 31 years
Height: 14.5 to 16 hands (56 to 62 inches)

Although you’d be hard-pressed to find a pure white American Paint Horse, you’ll see partially white ones with the famous color markings that the breed is known for. Interestingly, the patterns form due to the American Paint’s light skin and white hair.

These beautiful equines were introduced to the Americas in the early 1500s, when Hernando Cortes brought 17 mixed-breed, two-toned horses from Spain. They then mixed with Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses to form the fascinating breed that we know today.

3. Camargue Horse

Camargue Horse
Image Credit: Machaon13, Pixabay
Origin: The Camargue region of France
Lifespan: 20 to 25 years
Height: 13 to 14.5 hands (52 to 56 inches)

A small horse breed, the Camargue is surprisingly agile. While they look stunning in white, almost all are born gray and only become white as they age. Even though they will never be a true white horse, the Camargue is still a beloved breed and well-known for being patient and affectionate with children.

What’s rather unique about the Camargue horse is that rather than prairies or dry flatlands, they enjoy life in the marshlands in southern France. That likely has much to do with their agility, since marshlands can be quite unpredictable and loose and give way underfoot.

4. Lippizan Horse

White Lippizan Horse running in the grass
Image Credit: horsemen, Shutterstock
Origin: Spain and Morocco
Lifespan: 30 to 35 years
Height: 14 to 15 hands (58 to 62 inches)

You’ll never find a genuine white Lippizan horse because they are all born with black skin and gray hair that whitens as they age. This breed takes a bit longer to mature than others but also lives longer and is known to work well into their 20s when needed.

Horse fans love the Lippizan due to their elegant look and long life, and many are used in dressage shows. Most become a beautiful gray color when they reach maturity. Lippizans are known for their noble, mature temperament.

5. Cremello Horse

Cremellos horse
Image Credit: arthorse, Shutterstock
Origin: Varied
Lifespan: Varied
Height: Varied

The fascinating Cremello horse isn’t a breed but a color, and that color happens to be creamy white or a pale gold color. Draft horses, Shetland ponies, and several other breeds can be Cremello, and most have no other colors on their body. Their legs, however, can sometimes be a darker shade than the rest of their body.

While many believe that the Cremello is an albino horse, that’s incorrect. An albino animal lacks pigment, but the Cremello has some.

6. American White Horse

American White Horse galloping in the hills
Image Credit:, Shutterstock
Origin: United States
Lifespan: 20 to 30 years
Height: 14 to 16 hands (52 to 62 inches)

What’s genuinely interesting about horses is that there’s never been a true albino horse, genetically speaking. However, by breeding a white stallion with a Morgan mare, the American Albino Horse was born. The name changed due to its inaccuracy, and they became known as the American White Horse.

While they might not be true white horses, they are gentle and easier to train than most other breeds. Therefore, the American White Horse is an excellent choice for beginner riders.

7. Clydesdale Horse

White Clydesdale horse looking out from a stable door
Image Credit: robert hartl, Shutterstock
Origin: Scotland
Lifespan: 25 to 30 years
Height: 17 to 19 hands (67 to 75 inches)

As one of the biggest and strongest horse breeds, the Clydesdale is also one of the easiest to tame and train, making them a great farm animal and perfect for beginner riders. They don’t often come in white, but occasionally, you’ll find one that’s mostly white. Chestnut, cream, brown, and bay are the most common colors.

The Clydesdale is famous in the United States for their work in TV commercials. The first of their breed came from crossing Belgian Flemish stallions and Lanarkshire horses.

8. Azteca Horse

Girl in red dress riding an Azteca horse
Image Credit: Lindsay Helms, Shutterstock
Origin: Mexico
Lifespan: 30 to 40 years
Height: 14 to 15 hands (58 to 60 inches)

The Azteca Horse is the result of mixing the Mexican Criollo, Andalusian, and Quarter Horse, which were then mixed with American Paint Horses. Finding one that’s white isn’t easy, but they do come in many other colors.

Those who love the breed say that the Azteca looks like a Quarter Horse from the back but an Andalusian from the front. Most equine experts and owners agree that a white Azteca Horse is simply beautiful.

9. Mustang Horse

White mustang galloping in the hills
Image Credit: mariait, Shutterstock
Origin: Spain
Lifespan: 25 to 30 years
Height: 14 to 15 hands (56 to 60 inches)

Over 100,000 Mustang Horses are estimated to live and roam the U.S. wilderness. All of them are descendants of Spanish horses that were brought to the Americas in the 1500s, and while white is uncommon, you’ll occasionally see a white Mustang. You’ll more often see them in other colors, though, of which there are many.

Like the frontier people, the Mustang is hardy, versatile, and highly intelligent. They make great riding partners when tamed and are also used for dressage and ranch work. Mustangs can run quite fast but not as fast as the famous sportscar named after them.

10. Percheron Horse

White percheron horse portrait
Image Credit: Lenkadan, Shutterstock
Origin: Le Perche, Normandy, France
Lifespan: 25 to 30 years
Height: 16 to 19 hands (64 to 75 inches)

A French draft horse, the Percheron is the most popular draft breed worldwide due to their elegant appearance, agility, and sheer strength. They are massive horses, nearly equal in size to Clydesdales, and were used as war horses in Europe for centuries. Most Percherons start life as gray horses and only become white later in life. When they do, it’s not unusual to see them all white, including their mane and tail.

11. Appaloosa Horse

Young white Apaloosa horse galloping playfully
Image Credit: AnetaZabranska, Shutterstock
Origin: Spain
Lifespan: 25 to 30 years
Height: 14 to 16 hands (57 to 64 inches)

Known in the American West as the Nez Perce Horse (after the Native American tribe of the same name), the Appaloosa Horse is sometimes almost all white, with a few scattered black splotches around the body and head. However, most Appaloosas aren’t considered white horses, except for a sub-breed called the Few-Spot Leopard horse. They only have one or two black spots, leaving the rest of their body white.

Appaloosa horses have an almost unlimited number of color combinations. Finding one that’s all white is almost impossible, but finding one that’s gentle and faithful is easy.

12. Camarillo White Horse

Camarillo White Horse standing on grass field
Image Credit: Jrs Jahangeer, Shutterstock
Origin: United States
Lifespan: 20 to 25 years
Height: 14 to 17 hands (57 to 70 inches)

The Camarillo White Horse has the distinction of being the only true white horse breed. They are born white and stay white throughout their lives, with the typical pink skin and dark eyes that white horses are known for. The first Camarillo White Horse was Sultan, a Spanish Mustang born in 1912, and he was the breed’s foundation sire.

The Camarillo is a rare horse, and fewer than two dozen purebred Camarillo Whites are around. That makes these magnificent horses incredibly rare and expensive. To prevent inbreeding, Camarillo Whites are often bred with non-white horses.

13. Shagya Arabian Horse

shagya arabian horse running in the meadow
Image Credit: horsemen, Shutterstock
Origin: Austro-Hungarian Empire
Lifespan: 25 to 30 years
Height: 15 to 16 hands (63 to 76 inches)

The Shagya Arabian is stronger and taller than a purebred Arabian Horse, and they’re highly intelligent and known for being friendly. They’re also a rare breed, and due to their size, were heavily used as a calvary horse. Shagya Arabians are often gray and become whiter as they get older.

While you can find them in the United States, the Shagya Arabian is more commonly seen in Hungary, Poland, Austria, Denmark, and other countries in Western Europe. Regardless of their coat color, the Shagya is a joy to manage and ride.

14. Boulonnais Horse

Boulonnais horses running
Image credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH, Shutterstock
Origin: France
Lifespan: 20 to 25 years
Height: 14 to 16 hands (57 to 63 inches)

Boulonnais horses are draft animals and are also called “White Marble Horses” due to the marbled white and gray coats that many of them display. In the 17th century, the Boulonnais Horse was often used to transport fresh fish from Boulogne, France, to Paris. That’s where their name came from.

Later, during the wars of the 20th century, these big, strong horses were used by the French to pull supply wagons. Boulonnais horses are relatively rare and are more often gray or cream colored than white. They have a high endurance level and are known for their elegance.

15. Missouri Fox Trotter Horse

Missouri Fox Trotter walach
Missouri Fox Trotter walach (Image Credit: Gaitedhorse, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 4.0 International)
Origin: Ozark Mountains, United States
Lifespan: 20 to 30 years
Height: 14 to 16 hands (57 to 63 inches)

Although a true white Missouri Fox Trotter is possible, they need the unique sabine-1 gene, which makes the possibility exceedingly rare. Their name comes from their gait, which looks like a foxtrot. These sure-footed horses are perfect for trail riding and are well-known for having a great deal of stamina.

Missouri Fox Trotters were developed by settlers in the Ozark Mountains in Missouri, hence their name. They’re gentle, easy to train, and quite muscular, which makes them excellent for ranch work.

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Although the only pure white horse is the Camarillo White, several other breeds can have white hair, usually as they age. Maintaining a horse’s grooming routine is essential for their health, but keeping a white horse’s coat attractive is even more challenging. The white fur does not hide dirt or bug bites as well as darker hair does, but with a dedicated schedule for brushing and cleaning your horse, you can keep your horse’s coat looking gorgeous.

Featured Image: AB Photographie, Shutterstock

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