American Paint Horse Facts And Information – Breed Profile

The American Paint Horse is one of the most beautiful horse breeds you can find. Marked by fascinating coat patterns, this horse breed is highly popular in North America. The color combinations are alluring with white and contrasting dark patterns. These horses mostly belong to the American quarter horse bloodline and have pleasant personalities.

Popularly called the paint horse, this breed is certainly the owner’s pride. With an obedient temperament and a docile disposition, this easily trainable horse is fun, has a great athletic ability, and is the perfect domestic horse. It is also loyal and a very intelligent animal.

The American Paint horses are a popular choice when it comes to choosing a domestic horse. This breed is increasingly gaining popularity and is now one of the favorites with horse lovers in Europe and other parts of the world.

American Paint Horse

The horse breed combines the conformational characteristics of stock horses and the pinto white and dark coat color patterns. These pinto patterns over their bodies make them look just like out from a fairy tale.


These horses come with an interesting history. It is believed that the barbaric tribes brought these horses to Spain during the invasion of the Roman Empire. They were then bred with the native horses. The new breed, the Paint horse turned out to be captivating and since then has been consistently earning praises for their look and abilities.

The horses, particularly with the overo patterns resemble the contemporary American paint horses. Experts believe these horses are descendants of the horses brought by the Spanish conquerors in the 16th century.

The American Paint Horse Association, which came into existence in 1940, began preserving the stock-type horses. The ‘crop out’ and ‘pinto coat’ ones were however not focused on. The fans without losing zeal formed several regional clubs thereafter and began promoting all kinds of the stock horse breed.

Today, these horses are one of the most rapidly growing breeds. They’ve even crossed the plains and joined the horse herds living in the western parts of the United States.


These horses are friendly and very social animals. They can make a good companion for any caretaker, rider, or trainer that loves to spend time with domestic horses. These horses are a perfect blend of beauty and athleticism, easy to manage, and relaxed. This means anyone with basic knowledge about horses can keep one as a pet.

This horse breed is multi-talented and can effortlessly perform various tasks. These horses are used for general riding, racing, dressage, jumping, and more.

These horses are muscular, have a firm neck, stout legs, short back, and powerful hindquarters. Their physical characteristics include mid-sized ears, sloping shoulders, and attractive eyes. Their average weight is 1150 lbs. They are warm-blooded, strong, and walk evenly.

The breed comes with standard coat patterns and distinctive white markings. The chief patterns are the Tobiano and Overo, distinguished by the type and size of the white spots on the horses’ bodies.

Diet And Nutrition

Like all other horses out there, these horses are also herbivorous. It primarily feeds on grass and plants. However, for better health and growth, you can supplement their diet with nutritious grains such as soya bean, barley, oats, corn, alfalfa, flax, clover, wheat, and more.

The horse can also be fed vegetables. However, you should note that this horse is easily prone to obesity. Consult a vet if you are bringing home a Paint horse and properly plan and monitor his diet.

This is a breed that requires a balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, vitamins, fat, proteins, and minerals. Water is equally important, especially on hotter days to avoid the risk of dehydration. These horses, when properly cared for can live up to 30 years.

Interesting Facts

  1. There are now over 1 million horses registered with the American Paint Horse Association. It is estimated that over 20,000 horses are added to the association records each year. Today, it is one of the largest breeds in North America. The registrations however involve strict bloodline requirements.
  2. Native Americans, particularly the Comanche tribe appreciate this horse breed. This tribe owns large herds of these horses as well have images of them on their buffalo robes.
  3. They largely resemble Pinto horses in their color patterns. The only difference lies in their bloodlines.
  4. They have a good and proven track record. They are one of the fastest breeds and have won many track shows.
  5. These horses are an excellent choice for pleasure riding. They are sturdy, intelligent and can understand the lessons you teach. Riding them is a pride since they simply stand out from the rest.
  6. No two horses feature the same pattern. The coat and color patterns are defined, but they vary in size and shapes.


They are versatile, agile and offer a great ride for both professional and casual riders. More popular for general riding, the Paint horses are also largely used for trail riding, showing, jumping, ranch work, transportation, barrel racing, combined driving, and US racing. Their athletic nature supports their sporting abilities while they also make kind pets for children.

This horse is going to be a great choice if you are looking to own a modern horse that features both domestic and sporting qualities.

Female Paint Horse

Color And Coat Patterns

Paint horses have specific combinations of colors on the equine and white spectrum. Brown, black, and bay are the common colors in paint horses with a beautiful combination of white with sorrel or chestnut.

The spots on these horses however vary in size and shape. Whatever the difference, the colors are defined in definite coat patterns, mainly the Ovaro, Tovero, Sabino, and Tobiano.

The American Paint horses also display fascinating shades such as rune, cereal, gravy, groolo, Buckskin, and Palomino.

Let us understand the coat patterns.


This is a colorful coat pattern. A Toby patterned horse comes with white legs and a solid-colored dark head. The back is white too while the color pattern features clear borders and distinctiveness. This horse’s mane and tail are multi-colored.


Overo patterns are unique. Horses with these patterns have white color on their legs, head, and underbelly. The white however doesn’t extend onto the back. Paints with overo patterns generally feature one blue eye. Unlike the tobys, the designs on the overo horses are not clear and defined.


The tovero coat pattern is a blend of the overo and tobiano color patterns. These horses feature blue eyes and have white hair splashed across their chest and face.


Horses with a sabino pattern have full blazes and white legs. The horses with this coat pattern look like they have more white however in actuality they have a base coat that is a mix of white and another light color.


A solid-colored horse is an American paint horse with no spots. Wait! Don’t think these horses cannot be registered. A separate classification is available in the association registry for solid-colored horses.

Whatever the coat pattern, design, or size of the spots, the paint horses are extraordinary in appearance and truly one of a kind.

Distinctive Face And Foot Marks

This horse breed features unique faces and footmarks. While their coat and color patterns are out of the ordinary, the foot and face marks differentiate them from the other horse breeds.

Some popularly found marks are:

  • Flexen
  • Rowan
  • Dorsal stripe
  • Zebra stripe
  • Blaze
  • Transverse stripe
  • Star, Snip
  • Tuck face
  • Coronet, Pastor
  • Sock
  • Ankle
  • Half-puster
  • Stocking
  • Strip and snip


Regular grooming is advised to maintain the health and beauty of these horses. The sensitive areas such as the mouth and feet require fine brushing and a curl is suggested to get rid of dirt and loose hair.

Standard grooming tools are easily available and can be used to further decorate the Paint horse.


These horses have a long lifespan and can live healthy lives provided appropriate care is taken. There are however certain health issues associated with some coat colors.

Lethal White Syndrome

This disease is seen in paint horses with an overo color pattern. Newborn foals with this disorder appear healthy however they don’t have a normally functioning digestive system. This is fatal and a horse born with this condition will die within a few days.

Paint owners need not worry. Today, a DNA test can detect whether the parent horses have the mutated allele. If both parents have it, the baby will be born with lethal white syndrome.

Because of the presence of the quarter horse genes, American paint horses are also prone to quarter horse diseases. Some of them to mention are hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia, malignant hyperthermia, or glycogen branching enzyme deficiency. Today, thankfully, many paint horse diseases can be prevented with genetic testing.

There are specific labs that excel in genetic testing. If you want to get your paint horse tested for genetics and want to know which lab to approach, get in touch with your vet.

Some paint horses with white markings over their ears can suffer from deafness. With some medical attention, a deaf paint horse can lead a normal life.


Paint horses can get along with humans. History has proved that.

These horses have a good temperament, are easy-going and gentle. So, regardless of whether you want to keep one as a pet or for racing, you can find one to meet your needs.

How Much Does An American Paint Horse Cost?

Just like humans, each horse is different so is their price. Generally, a paint horse for pleasure comes at a price tag of around $5000. But it will certainly cost you more if you are looking for one with a good sports track record.

A trained paint horse or a horse with successful show/racing records will be on the higher side of pricing. The price also depends upon the age and abilities of the horse.

How Good Is The American Paint Horse For Your Home?

The American paint horse can absolutely make a good pet. This horse breed can quickly befriend your family members and become one with your home. However, note that you should understand the horse’s diet and health requirements and make efforts to provide everything he needs.

These horses are social animals. They love to be in groups but can easily adjust to humans as well. They need a lot of hay and grains to feed on and access to clean water. These horses should also be well sheltered.

A routine medical checkup is also recommended to avoid potential health issues. So, you need to invest time and spend considerably if you want to own a paint horse.

If you own a farm with a lot of open space and grass around, a paint horse shouldn’t be a burden for you.

Are Paint Horses Good For Beginners?

As said earlier, they are gentle, strong, and trainable. It is for these reasons they are chosen by the beginners.

These horses are also loyal to their owners and follow work ethics.


Whatever the body type, the kind and sturdy paint horse is an ideal horse for any horse lover. Besides their attractive physical appearance, these horses are also eager to compete and prove their ability on tracks.

They are quick learners, obedient, and come with unwavering intelligence that is hard to find with the other breeds.

This western stock type is perfect for both beginners and professionals. The horse can make a great family pet as well as work for you in sporting events.

Pleasure, sport, or pet needs, an American paint horse is for you!

There’s a whole world of horse breeds out there to explore! Discover and find out more information by checking out our horse breed guides.