10 Black and White Horse Breeds

The way a horse looks is what often draws a person’s attention to it in the first place. Although many horse breeds have a solid color, the distinctiveness of the black and white horse breeds is difficult to ignore. The contrast in coat color automatically draws attention to the horse.

Some of these horses have a painted or spotted look to their coats. Others may be mostly one coat color, but have some white on the legs or as a star on the forehead. Either way, these are the breeds that tend to be considered some of the most beautiful in the world today.

#1. Friesian

Originating in the Netherlands, this breed has nearly become extinct on multiple occasions. Their distinctive black coat, with a minimal amount of white, is one of their key characteristics. These horses also have a long-flowing mane and tail that gives them a very striking appearance.

The history of this breed is nearly 1,000 years old. The ancestors of this breed were royal war horses, taking knights into battle as early as the 12th century. The breed began to be formalized in the 16th century, creating a horse that was a little lighter and with a warmer personality so that it had more energy. 

Today this breed is primarily used as a show horse and for recreational use. 

#2. Marwari

This rare breed of horse features a black body with white legs and a white muzzle. It’s known, however, for the inward-turning ear tips. It is a hardy horse that originates from India, with a breed history that dates to the 12th century. Throughout history, it was primarily used as a cavalry horse.

There have been few breed standards in place for the Marwari, with a breed society only forming in 1995. Exportation of this breed has been banned throughout most of history, though there are some limited passports available from time to time.

Only a few thousands purebred Marwari horses are known to exist in the world today.

#3. Tennessee Walking Horse

This gaited horse is known for its unique four-beat running walk. It was originally developed for agricultural work in the Southern US, but with its gait, has become a favorite in the show ring. It is also a popular horse for trail riding and other recreational needs because the gait eliminates the “bounce” which other horses cause a rider.

The studbook for this breed was closed in 1947. There are two types of horses within the breed that are recognized. Performance horses have exaggerated movements because they tend to wear weighted action devices, even though such devices are banned from USEF events. Flat-shod horses have less leg action.

With its running walk, thee Tennessee Walking Horse can travel at up to 20 miles per hours, even though the stride is flat and ambling.

#4. Morgan

This breed is one of the earliest to be developed in the United States and is named after the foundation stallion and one of his initial owners. These horses have served many roles in US history, including being cavalry horses during the Civil War. They are a heavily exported breed as well, influencing several modern breeds. The first breed registry was established in 1909 and more than 175,000 horses are believed to be in the population base.

The coat color of this breed can vary greatly, with several pinto variations possible. Morgans are often used in English and Western riding disciplines because it is such a versatile breed. They are refined, compact, and graceful.

#5. Appaloosa

These war horses from the Native and First Nations tribes of the Pacific Northwest have a very distinctive look. This is due to the leopard complex genetics of the breed, which is rare in the equine world. After the tribal wars in the US in the late 19th century, Appaloosas almost went extinct. If not for the efforts of an entrepreneur and the eventual establishment of a breed registry, it would have been lost to history.

These black and white horses can also come in a variety of colors and patterns. The front of the horse tends to be more of a solid color, while the back end tends to be spotted. This breed also has a long-flowing mane and tail. It is an athletic horse that can almost be hot-blooded in temperament, but can still make for a good family horse.

#6. Percheron

This draft horse breed originates from France and is often black in color with a mottled appearance. Appearing in the 17th century, it is a breed that was initially used as a war horse because of its calm disposition. Over the next two centuries, Percherons would be transformed into a working horse, with an emphasis on agricultural work and the harness. The first Percheron studbook, however, would not be established until 1883.

This horse has recently grown in popularity, with more than 2,500 horses being registered annually in the US alone. It is still used as a working horse, especially in the timber industry, when heavy work needs to be done, but mechanization cannot reach the job site.

Percherons are also a popular horse for show jumping and similar events. It excels in the English riding discipline. 

#7. Colonial Spanish

This is technically a group of horse breeds, brought to the US from Spain. Each has a lineage that can be traced to the ancestral horses of the Iberian Peninsula. Sometimes the Mustang is included with this grouping, but a purebred Spanish-type horse in the feral herds that roam the Western US are rare. 

These breeds can come in variety of colors, including black and white. Their features can be quite variable, with crossbreeding involving many different tribal, ranch, and mission horses over the past 200 years. They are generally smaller, sometimes under 14 hands, and weighing around 700 pounds.

Horses that may be referred to as Colonial Spanish horses include the Florida Cracker Horse, the Choctaw, the Carolina Marsh Tacky, the Banker Horse, and the Chincoteague. Some Mustangs, including the Abaco, Kiger, and Pryor Mountain, are sometimes associated with this grouping as well. 

#8. Holsteiner

Originating in Germany, this breed is thought to be one of the oldest warmblood breeds in the world. It has a history that can be traced back to at least the 13th century. There isn’t a large population for this breed, but their willingness to learn and work makes it a dominant force for many equestrian events. You’ll find Holsteiners in combined driving events, dressage, show hunting, and show jumping.

As a breed, Holsteners are surprisingly tall, with many standing above 17 hands. They are an athletic breed, with a high-set neck and powerful hindquarters with an elastic stride. There are several coat color combinations, though there is a preference for single coat colors. White spots are allowed, but large white spots that are suggestive of Pinto genetics are not allowed in the registry.

What is interesting about this breed is that a Thoroughbred improvement sire was approved with palomino and buckskin offspring, though these coat colors are not considered to be acceptable. 

#9. Irish Draught

It is the national horse breed of Ireland. Many of them are crossed with Thoroughbreds or warmblooded breeds to create the Irish Sport Horse, but there is still demand for them as a working horse as well. Initially developed from local Hobby horses and war horses that came to Ireland over the decades, it is a breed that is strong, but docile, and excels as a riding and hunt horse.

Crossbreeding has led to a lack of genetic diversity for purebred Irish Draught horses over the years. Research is currently ongoing to help preserve the breed in future years.

They are one of the most economical black and white horse breeds to keep, with many able to survive on pasture grass and leftover cattle feed. The breed has a unique affinity for boiled turnips.

Since the turn of the 20th century, the Irish government has been involved with the breeding programs to preserve the legacy of Irish Draught. It is a breed that offers a free, smooth action that isn’t heavy. Solid colors are preferred, but white leg markings below the knees are considered to be acceptable. 

#10. Knabstrup

This is the Dalmatian of the horse world. With a distinctive white coat and black spots, this is a breed that is hardy and rugged. They are a good riding breed that is easily trained, but with an independent personality that can make them resilient and strong. They are generally gentle and eager to work. They are quite loyal.

The trademark of this breed is their strong feet. This gives them leverage when it comes to pulling power, while also making the breed a good riding horse. 

The black and white horse breeds are distinctive, attractive, and a pleasure to own. Many of these breeds are suitable for recreational and sporting use. If you love horses and have always wanted one, then these are the breeds you may wish to pursue.