What Are the Black and White Horse Breeds?
Two-toned horses of contrasting colors are striking, and there is no greater color contrast than that of black and white. If you love black-and-white horses, you are in luck! There are several breeds that produce this fun and colorful combination.
What horse breeds come in black and white? Many horses can be found with black and white coloring. Thirteen of the most common breeds with this color contrast include:
- Gypsy Vanner
- American Paint Horse
- Pony of the Americas
- Black Forest Horse
- American Miniature Horse
- Shetland Pony
- Tennessee Walking Horse
- Icelandic Horse
- American Saddlebred
While some of the breeds on this list are easy to find, others are not. Also, while some of these horses come in pinto paint patterns, others do not! To learn more about each breed and what you can expect in their black-and-white coloring, keep reading!
Black & White Horse Breed #1: Gypsy Vanner
The Gypsy Vanner is one of my favorite breeds; not only is it a friendly and docile horse, but it is also stunning, with a thick mane, tail, feathering, and striking and colorful coat patterns. Also known as the Irish Cob, Galineers Cob, and Tinker Horse, this breed is known as a small draft horse, generally reaching anywhere from 13 to 16 hands high and with a thick, muscular build.
Gypsy Vanners can come in a variety of patterns and solid colors, but they are most commonly found in a black-and-white pinto pattern, also called a “piebald.”
Black & White Horse Breed #2: American Paint Horse
The American Paint Horse is perhaps best known for its pinto markings. These splashes of color are actually where this horse gets its name! Paints can be found in a variety of different colors combined with white. They can be found in white with black, bay, chestnut, and even dilution colors like palomino, buckskin, and champagne.
In addition to a variety of color combinations, their colorful markings can be found in a number of different patterns, including tobiano, overo, sabino, and splashed white. Each of these terms defines a different pattern and placement of the white patches on the horse. American Paint Horses generally stand between 14 and 16 hands high and are known for their excellent cow sense and versatility.
Black & White Horse Breed #3: Pony of the Americas
The Pony of the Americas was developed in the state of Iowa, with a foundation stallion that was a mix between an Arabian, an Appaloosa, and a Shetland Pony. This breed has held true to its colorful foundation sire and today can be found in a bold Appaloosa patterning, with a white coat and spots of black, chestnut, bay, or gray.
The spots can be patterned across the entire body, or contained to the rump of the horse, called a “blanket.” A horse of this breed will stand between 11.2 and 14 hh, and will typically have a gentle and calm disposition.
Black & White Horse Breed #4: Appaloosa
The Appaloosa is the breed the Pony of the Americas acquired its spots from. Appaloosas are an older breed, developed by the Nez Perce tribe in the 1800s. They come in patterns varying between a sprinkling of leopard spots over a white coat to a horse saturated in spots.
The Appaloosa’s spots can be black, bay, chestnut, palomino, gray, roan, buckskin, or other dilution colors. Appaloosa spots can cover the entirety of the horse or can be displayed as a blanket over the rump.
Black & White Horse Breed #5: Shire
The Shire is a large draft horse breed, averaging 17.2 hands high and weighing 1,800-2,500 pounds at maturity. They are best known for their work pulling brewer’s drays and working in the agriculture and forestry industries. Shires are not found in spotted or pinto patterns but are most often found in a solid black color.
In addition to their base coat, they are often found with white markings on the face and white feathering at the feet. This gives them a beautiful and subtle two-toned coat.
Black & White Horse Breed #6: Black Forest Horse
The Black Forest Horse isn’t really black at all; in fact, the breed comes in only one color pattern, and that is a solid chestnut coat with a flaxen mane and tail. So why did I include the Black Forest Horse in a list of black-and-white horses?
The name of the breed is not without merit; often the horse will come in a chestnut base coat that is so dark it looks black to the untrained eye. Coupled with the silver mane and tail, you will get a stunning horse that appears to have a striking black-and-white color contrast.
Black & White Horse Breed #7: Mustang
The Mustang is not a breed of horse, but rather the name used for the herds of feral horses found in the Western United States. Because there are no breed standards that Mustangs are held to, they come in just about every color and pattern combination. Mustangs are frequently found in both pinto and spotted patterns, including those with the black-and-white color combination.
Black & White Horse Breed #8: American Miniature Horse
The American Miniature Horse, also known by the term “Mini”, is a breed known for its tiny size and regular horse proportions. It is generally no taller than 38” at the withers, and is kept as both a companion and a therapy animal.
All coat colors, patterns, and markings are deemed acceptable by the American Miniature Horse Association, and Minis are commonly found in black-and-white pinto patterns.
Black & White Horse Breed #9: Shetland Pony
Shetland ponies are a popular pony breed reaching a maximum height of 42” at the withers. These ponies are popular children’s mounts, harness horses, and companions. Shetlands are stocky and hardy, originating from the harsh climate of the Shetland Isles. They come in every solid color and can also come in pinto patterns, often found with the black-and-white color combination.
Black & White Horse Breed #10: Tennessee Walking Horse
The Tennessee Walking Horse was developed in the United States as a gaited, comfortable mount for use in navigating large plantations. Tennessee Walkers can stand between 15 and 17 hands high, weigh up to 1,200 pounds, and are a gaited breed that is known for its unique running walk.
Tennessee Walking Horses come in all solid colors and the pinto patterns of tobiano, overo, and sabino. Because they can be found in every color, this means the white of their pinto patterns can be combined with any other solid color, including black. The black-and-white markings are especially striking on this tall, elegant horse.
Black & White Horse Breed #11: Icelandic Horse
The Icelandic Horse hails from Iceland and is known for the purity of its bloodlines, accomplished due to the ban on importation of horses that has been in effect for more than a thousand years. Their horses are a large part of the Icelandic culture, and the natives have over one hundred different words they use to describe the coloring and markings of their horses. They come in both pinto patterns and solid colors including black, chestnut, bay, gray, dun, palomino, and roan.
Black & White Horse Breed #12: Knabstrupper
The Knabstrupper is a Danish warmblood breed that is currently considered to be endangered, with a global population of just over 2,000. Those unfamiliar with the breed may look at a Knabstrupper and mistake it for an Appaloosa, due to the leopard complex gene that leads to its uniquely spotted coat.
The breed’s foundation mare was said to be “a deep red with a white tail and mane, and white flecks or ‘snowflakes’ over her whole body and brown spots on her back.” Knabstruppers are commonly seen with a white base coat and black spots. They are generally used as riding horses and do well in both dressage and show jumping.
Black & White Horse Breed #13: American Saddlebred
The American Saddlebred is known as the “Horse America Made,” and was used as an officer’s mount during the Civil War. They are taller riding horses, typically standing between 15 and 16 hh and weighing between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds. They come in both solid colors and pinto patterns, including the contrast of black-and-white. Today, the American Saddlebred is shown in pleasure driving, saddle seat, hunter jumper, and a variety of other disciplines and shows.
Finding a Black and White Horse
If you love the bold contrast of a black-and-white horse, you likely won’t have to look very far to find one. While some of the above breeds are rare or mainly found in their native countries, others can be found across both the United States and the world.
Paints, Mustangs, Miniature horses, Ponies of the Americas, Appaloosas, and even Gypsy Vanners have gained significant popularity over the years and can be found in just about every corner of the country. Whether you are looking for a jumping partner, a ranch horse, or a companion, you should have easy success finding a black-and-white equine friend.
Want to learn more about colorful horses? Check out these articles!
- Golden Horse Breeds: 10 Horse Breeds With Gold Coats
- 10 Common Blue Roan Horse Breeds: (With Pictures and Cost)