Black Horse Breeds (13 Beautiful Dark Steeds)

If you’re wondering about the most beautiful black horse breeds, you might be surprised to learn that there aren’t that many true black horses in the world, although many appear black in color.

Lots of people love black horses, which tend to be sleek, graceful, beautiful, and striking.

Most horses that appear black are actually “false blacks,” which look black in most lights, but will show their true colors when in direct sun. These tend to be dark brown or very dark bay horses.

You may also have heard of fading blacks, which are black horses that lose their color a little when exposed to sun and sweat. These horses tend to look browner, despite the fact that they are truly black.

It’s not clear why some horses are “fading blacks” and others do not fade. A faded black horse has no brown or chestnut hairs; it is black but has been bleached by the sun.

If you want to avoid this, it is best to cover black horses in the summer, and quickly wash away any sweat. This can help to preserve their color.

Here is a list of some beautiful horse breeds that can be found in black:

1. Dales Pony

The Dales Pony is usually black, although it can exist in other colors, such as brown or gray. Some white markings are permitted, but only a limited number, or the pony cannot be classified as a Dales.

These ponies stand about 14hh and are usually short, muscly creatures. They are a rare breed with fewer than 5000 registered throughout the world. These beautiful creatures are popular and considered excellent for beginners learning to ride.

2. American Quarter Horse

Black Quarter Horse Stallion

American Quarter Horses vary enormously in color and there are many different shades that are acceptable for this breed – but true black is among them. It makes up a fairly low percentage of Quarter Horses, but does exist.

Black American Quarter Horses are particularly beautiful creatures, with glossy black coats that lack light areas. They are versatile and very popular horses.

An American Quarter Horse actually played Black Beauty in the 1994 version, according to Helpful Horse Hints. They also note that the horses are popular and excel in all areas, including their ability to complete the quarter-mile extra fast – hence their name.

If you’re looking for a reliable, friendly, and flexible black horse, you may well be able to find an American Quarter Horse that fits the bill. As the name suggests, they are particularly common in the United States.

3. The Friesian Horse

Friesian Horse Galloping

Friesian horses may be the first one you think of when you think of black horses – because the whole breed is black, and they rarely come in any other colors. White markings and discoloration are not sought after when breeding, except occasionally a small white star on the forehead.

These stunning horses are large and graceful and have beautifully feathered legs, coupled with long flowing manes and tails. They are also sometimes called the Belgian Black.

They can be up to 17 hands, although some adults are only around 14 hands, so they represent quite a diverse range of sizes.

They date from the medieval era and have been used both as workhorses and as war horses. Friesian horses were once a common sight on farms, pulling carriages and working the fields. With mechanization came a sharp decline in population numbers which fortunately have been recovering since World War II.

They are often expensive and remain popular throughout the world because of their striking looks and power. They are also popular in films.

4. The Andalusian Horse

Beautiful Black Andalusian Horse

Famous in the equine world, the Andalusian horse has a particularly lustrous and dense black coat that gleams in the sunlight. They have flowing manes and tails, and come in other coat colors too, such as bay and gray.

These horses are popular in exhibitions and in movies, especially fantasy and medieval movies. They are a beautifully glossy Spanish breed that has existed since the 15th century.

An Andalusian black stallion stands over 15 hands high, and they are strong, powerful horses that have become very popular throughout the world since the Spanish permitted exports to take place in the 1960s.

The horses are also used in many show events, such as driving, dressage, and show jumping, and they are sometimes referred to as the “pure Spanish horse.”

5. The Fell Pony

Fell Ponies are another particularly hardy breed of pony, and they are almost always black, though some other coat color variations do exist.

Fell Ponies are native to Cumbria in the north of England, and there are still feral groups that roam up there. They are closely related to the Dales pony, and can be up to 14 hands tall.

They are patronized by Queen Elizabeth II, who rides Fell Ponies at times, and has helped to protect and preserve the endangered breed. The Fell Pony Society was formed in 1918 to try and ensure the breed’s survival.

You might not think of ponies as riding horses, but fell ponies can be ridden, and they are also suitable for other jobs such as working and driving.

They are hardy, low-maintenance creatures, and according to Horse And Hound, they are perfect for adults and children, being tall enough for an adult to ride.

6. The Morgan Horse

Black Morgan Horse

You may not have heard of the Morgan horse, but if you’re looking for a black horse breed, this beauty might be a top choice for you. Its lineage can be traced back to Justin Morgan’s stallion “Figure,” according to HelpfulHorseHints.

These horses are extremely versatile, with the ability to compete in all sorts of disciplines. They were used by the US military as mounts for soldiers and as artillery horses, and they are also frequently ridden.

In some parts of the US, the Morgan is used for policemen to ride. It was first registered in 1894, and there are thought to be over 147,000 Morgan horses in the world. Of all the breeds of horses, the Morgan may be the most versatile and capable of competing in all different areas at once.

Having a black coat is not rare for a Morgan; the commonest colors are black, brown, chestnut, and bay.

7. The Mérens Horse

If you haven’t come across Mérens horses before, you are in for a treat: these creatures are particularly famed for superb endurance and sure-footedness even on rough, challenging terrain.

They come from the French mountains, and can be used to ride through rocky hills quickly and easily. The breed came under threat in the later part of the 20th century, but Horsey Hooves applauds effective conservation efforts that have kept it going.

The heritage of Meréns horses is not clear; they are thought to be ancient horses, and their looks have been significantly shaped by the mountains where they are found.

Mérens horses are always black, but black foals are not a necessity. Some Mérens foals are light in color, and only darken as they grow older.

Mérens horses stand around 14-15 hands tall, and have served a variety of purposes throughout history, even being part of the cavalry at times. These days, the horses are mostly used for recreation, although some do serve as police horses at times.

8. The Murgese Horse

A huge horse that can grow to be over 16 hands, the Murgese is a stunning descendant from Arabian, Barb, and Neapolitan bloodlines, according to Horsey Hooves. They are nearly always black, and modern breeding has refined the older breed.

They are superb in terms of handling, and are generally excellent for riding, or for light work. They come from Italy, where they are still popular and commonly used.

It was used as a cavalry horse in the 15th and 16th centuries, and risked extinction for a while. HorseBreedPictures says that breeding stock had to be reestablished in 1926, and numbers still remain relatively low even today, with only around 1500 registered horses in 2005.

9. The Mustang

Much loved and popularized by movies, the mustang is symbolic of America, and particularly the American West. Black mustangs are reasonably common (mustangs come in quite diverse colors so that may not be surprising).

Mustangs are beautiful horses usually associated with wildness and freedom, and HelpfulHorseHints says that the word mustang comes from the Spanish word mestengo, meaning to go wild or to stray.

Mustangs horses aren’t truly wild, but many wandered away from their owners to create feral colonies of horses. These horses should more accurately be referred to as feral, as they are not truly wild.

Mustangs are fairly small, often under 15 hands, but they are strong and sturdy creatures. They have a particularly long life span and can live up to 40 years!

10. Percheron

Percheron Horse

The Percheron is a breed of draft horse known for its good temperament and gentle demeanor. It is most common in Normandy, Picardy, and Berry France.

They are typically black or dark brown in color and have a glossy coat. The breed has been bred in France for centuries, they were most popular during the 19th century.

A Percherons stands at 16+ hands tall and weighs anywhere between 1,800 to a massive 2,600 pounds when fully grown.

They are used domestically to haul heavy loads or for drawing carriages on paved surfaces or unpaved roads. A draft horse that has been selectively bred to be docile and easygoing, a Percheron can be a very reliable workhorse if trained correctly.

11. Lusitano

The Lusitano is one of the most ancient breeds of horses coming from Portugal and is found primarily in its homeland and in Spain. They are normally gray, chestnut brown, or bay in color.

This beautiful breed is not a large horse and averages around 15.3 hands in height and can weigh between 900 to 1,100 pounds.

Initially bred as a warhorse, the horse is today used for bullfighting, shows, and for riding.

12. Peruvian Paso

The Peruvian Paso is a breed of horse that originates from Peru. They are known for their smooth gaits, which means they can cover ground with less effort than other breeds.

These horses are also very intelligent and easy to train. There are many reasons why this particular horse has become popular around the world, but the main one would be because of its unique gait.

Peruvians Pasos come in varying colors but mostly gray or browns with white markings on their heads and legs.

They stand at about 14 hands tall (about 5 feet) so they aren’t too big to handle by just anyone who might be interested in owning them as pets or working animals.

13. Tennessee Walking Horse

The Tennessee Walking Horse is one of the most famous breeds in America for its unique gait and running walk. It was developed as a plantation horse due to how it moves on land, but also enjoys being ridden like any other breed.

They can grow up to 17 hands in height and weigh between 900 to 1200 pounds.

This American breed of horse was bred in the 18th century and is usually found on ranches, trails, or at shows.


Black horses come in many different shapes and breeds, and while they seem to be less common than some other colors, if you are keen to own a black horse, you are unlikely to be disappointed. 

Black horses are often particularly glossy, and many of the breeds are graceful and breathtaking. However, it is worth noting that a lot have quite sensitive skin and their coats are more likely to absorb heat from the sun than a light-colored horse. Make sure you provide adequate shelter, especially in summer, so that they can stay cool.

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