Appaloosa

Appaloosa Breed Profile

Height 13.9 - 16.2 hands (55.9 - 64.9 inch; 142 - 165 cm)
Body Compact; short back, high tail
Head Small; broad forehead
Neck Sturdy, high
Colors Leopard
Character Calm, well-balanced, bold, strong-minded
Gait smooth, light-footed
Type Warmblood
Origin USA
Bred since 1750
Suitable for Dressage, endurance, show jumping, Western

The Horse of the Red Indians

When you think of the horses of the Red Indians, the horse with the funny dots on the head comes to mind: the Appaloosa. Hardly any other breed can compete with its beautiful and unique coat pattern. Even the hooves of the Appaloosa are different to those of most other horses: they are striped. Appaloosas also have human-like eyes that are white around the iris.

Character: Calm and Relaxed

The Appaloosa radiates calmness and tranquility. It is strong-nerved, patient and reliable, but also versatile, agile and athletic. Therefore it is also popular as a family horse.

History: Nearly Extinct

The Appaloosa developed from dotted horses which were brought to America by the Spanish conquerors. Yet, the Indian tribe of the Nez Percé (pronounced: nes persee) was responsible for the careful breeding and preservation of the horses. Later, in the year 1877, the Nez Percé had to flee from the “white man”. Many of the affectionately bred horses lost their lives then and the breed happened to be nearly extinct. Fortunately a few horses could be saved. Meanwhile the population has increased to several hundred thousands of animals, and the Appaloosa is the world’s third most widely spread horse breed.

Appaloosa Appaloosa - Photo: Makarova Viktoria/Shutterstock

Abilities: Appaloosas and Their Cool Tricks

Many Appaloosas are rather gifted and like to learn little tricks such as opening gates with their mouths, finding hidden treats, sit or lie down like a dog, shake “hands” and nod their head. They can even learn to bring certain items on command.

Colors: Many Dots and Spots

Appaloosa can have many different patterns of dots and spots. It can have a white “blanket” (mostly the back and hips) with darker spots. The “leopard” has dark spots spread over the entire body. The “snowflake” has a dark coat with white dots and spots.

Appaloosa Appaloosa - Photo: Melory/Shutterstock

Where Does the Name Come From?

Settlers originally named the horse of the Red Indians „Palouse“ after the river Palouse in the State of Washington. Later-on the term gradually changed to “Appaloosa”.

Did You Know?

  • The Appaloosa is the mascot of the American State of Idaho.
  • The color of the coat of an Appaloosa gradually changes over time.

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Appaloosa Appaloosa - Photo: Zuzule/Shutterstock