Horse Breeds With Blue Eyes: Top 10 Breeds

Which Horse Breeds Have Blue Eyes?

If you’ve ever looked deep into a horse’s eyes, you know how expressive and soulful they are. Usually, most horses have deep brown eyes, but did you know there are also horses with blue eyes?

Which horse breeds have blue eyes? Any horse breed can have blue eyes, but they are most common in horses with lighter or diluted coat colors. Ten breeds that you can frequently find blue-eyed horses in are:

  • American Paint Horse
  • Appaloosa
  • Akhal-Teke
  • Gypsy Vanner
  • Icelandic Horse
  • American Quarter Horse
  • Tennessee Walking Horse
  • Clydesdale
  • Miniature Horse
  • Pony of the Americas


Blue-eyed horses are eye-catching and unique, and it’s no wonder if you want to add one to your herd! In this article, I’ll share more about the breeds listed above so you can decide what type of blue-eyed horse you’ll want. Keep reading!

Blue-Eyed Horse #1: American Paint Horse

The American Paint Horse is a popular breed of horse developed in the United States – so popular that it has the second-largest breed registry in the country, known as the American Paint Horse Association. The breed was developed by crossing Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds to horses that had pinto patterns.

Paints are famous for their pinto patterns that look as if they have been splattered with paint. These coats can range significantly in pattern from a few small patches of white to white splashes that cover a large portion of the body.

There are different names used to describe these patterns, with “splashed white” (bold patches of white covering a large portion of the body, head, and legs) being most closely associated with blue eyes. 

I have an American Paint Pony with blue eyes. Her name is Bella’s Baby Blues, or just Bella for short. Her eyes make her unique and give her a bit more character! Above is a picture of Bella and I.

To learn more about horse color variations and patterns, visit my article, 21 Common Horse Colors, Markings, and Patterns With Pictures.

To get to know more pony, Bella, check out this video:


Blue-Eyed Horse #2: Appaloosa

The Appaloosa is another American horse breed famous for its spotted coat. These spotted coats are not to be confused with the pinto patterns of the Paint horse; instead of large patches of white, the Appaloosa will have darker “spots” covering the body, or a portion of the body, due to a genetic mutation called the leopard complex gene.

Several spotted patterns are recognized in Appaloosas, from leopard spots all over the body to blankets covering the horse’s hind end. Base coats can include diluted colors like palomino, buckskin, cremello, and perlino; therefore, it is not uncommon to find an Appaloosa with blue eyes.

Blue eyes can be especially noticeable in Appaloosas due to the white scleras the leopard complex gene also causes them to have.

Blue-Eyed Horse #3: Akhal-Teke

The Akhal-Teke originated from Turkmenistan and is famous for its “golden” coat. This phenomenon is due to the structure of the Akhal-Teke’s hair shaft, which is thinner and more opaque, allowing light to shimmer off of it. The trait gives the Akhal-Teke a unique “sheen” for which it is world-renowned, most noticeable in specific colors.

Akhal-Tekes, while most well-known for their palomino and cream coats, can also be found in bay, black, chestnut, and gray. Blue eyes have been noted in Akhal-Tekes with lighter-pigmented coats.

Blue-Eyed Horse #4: Gypsy Vanner

Gypsy Vanners are known affectionately as the “people-sized draft horse:” they are strong horses bred by the Romani people to pull their caravans. They are friendly and docile horses prized for their abundance of mane, tail, and fetlock feathering.

There are no official coat color standards in the breed, but the majority of Gypsy Vanners have pinto patterns, especially the “piebald” black and white. A splashed white pattern is common in the Gypsy Vanner, and these horses can often be found with striking blue eyes. 

To learn more about Gypsy Vanners, visit my article Gypsy Vanner Breed Profile: Cost, Colors, & History.

Blue-Eyed Horse #5: Icelandic Horse

Icelandic Horses are the most colorful horses in the world; you can find just about any coat color, pattern, or marking in the breed, including blue eyes! Icelandic Horses, specifically from Iceland, are some of the purest horses in the world; they have been carefully and selectively bred to maintain the hardiness and survivability of the first horses in Iceland 1,000 years ago.

An interesting thing about Icelandic Horse breeding operations is that they selectively breed to maintain the healthiest, most docile horses. Unlike in the United States, where we’ll breed a horse just because we like it, even if it has health and temperament problems, Icelanders refuse to pass on bad genes. Because of this, most Icelandic Horses are easy to handle and very low-maintenance.

Watch our trip to Iceland where we were able to ride Icelandic Horses here!


Blue-Eyed Horse #6: American Quarter Horse

The American Quarter Horse is the most popular horse breed in the United States, known for its dominance on working ranches and in the arenas of Western disciplines. They are strong and stocky, yet agile and quick, so quick that their prowess inspired the breed name in quarter-mile sprints.

Quarter Horses can be found in and registered as virtually any color or pattern. They are most commonly found in chestnut or sorrel, but among other base colors such as bay and black, they can also be found in diluted coat colors like perlino and cremello.

Though less common, they may also be found in pinto patterns as well. These lighter horses, or horses with lighter patches, can be found with blue eyes.

Blue-Eyed Horse #7: Tennessee Walking Horse

The Tennessee Walking Horse is a breed of horse developed in the American South as a comfortable riding horse to traverse the vast plantations. Tennessee Walkers are gaited and known for having flashy and exaggerated movements. As with the Quarter Horse, Tennessee Walkers can be found in just about any base color or pinto pattern.

While most commonly found in bay, black, and chestnut, they can also be found in the blue-eyed coat colors of dun, champagne, and cream. They can also be found in silver dapple and in the overo, sabino, and tobiano pinto patterns.

Blue-Eyed Horse #8: Clydesdale

Most notable for their presence in parades and Super Bowl commercials, Clydesdales are large, strong draft horses that originated in Scotland to work in agriculture. While their breed numbers declined after the increased use of farm machinery, they remain one of the most popular breeds of draft horses and are still used widely in carriage pulling, parades, and driving shows.

Clydesdales are most commonly found in bay with white feathers but can also be found in a sabino pinto pattern. 

Blue-Eyed Horse #9: Miniature Horse

Miniature Horses can be considered any horse under 38″ tall. Minis come in just about any horse color, pattern, or variation, from solid colors and pinto patterns to Appaloosa markings and dapples. Most often looked at as pets, miniature horses also make excellent cart horses and children’s mounts. They are also used for trick training and in-hand competitions. 

Over the years, many breeds, genetics, and gene pools have been used to make variations of miniature horses, resulting in the plethora of colors you can find these horses in. The wide variety of colors in the breed also leads to a higher percentage of members having blue eyes. Above is a picture of my Miniature Horse, Yoshi, and my cat, Smeagól. 

Blue-Eyed Horse #10: Pony of the Americas

The Pony of the Americas usually gets grouped in with the Appaloosa horse breed, even though they’re two separate breeds. The POA breed was the result of breeding Appaloosas, Shetland Ponies, and Arabians to create a compact pony breed with the load coloring of an Appaloosa.

My horse, Tucker, is a POA standing 13.1 hh with the blanket pattern you’ll see on most Appaloosas. Because the POA carries the leopard complex gene, these horses can have loud spots over their coat and blue eyes. While Tucker doesn’t have blue eyes, I included a picture of him to show off his coat!

What Determines A Horse’s Eye Color?

The same genetics associated with a horse’s coat color is responsible for a horse’s eye color. While there is still much to learn about these genetics, a horse with white patches around the eyes and face may have blue eyes. Additionally, horses that have “double-dilute” coats, such as perlino, cremello, and smoky cream, have a high likelihood of having blue eyes due to the same genes that dilute the coat color will also dilute the pigment of the eye. This means that any horse breed that can throw diluted coat colors, pinto patterns, or spotted patterns can theoretically have blue eyes.

Contrary to popular belief, blue eyes in horses are not more sensitive than darker eyes. They are not associated with any specific temperament, and the only health concern that seems to be more common in blue eyes than in other eye colors would be Squamous Cell Carcinoma, though this is likely a result of the lighter skin around the blue eyes rather than the color of the iris itself.

Have You Met A Blue-Eyed Horse?

The eyes of a horse are beautiful, and no less so in the color blue. If you’re concerned about purchasing a blue-eyed horse due to various claims you may have heard about their eye health, sensitivity, or temperament, fear not! Blue-eyed horses are no more sensitive to the light, to eye disease, or in personality than their brown-eyed relatives.

As far as researchers understand, the color of a horse’s eyes is directly related to the color of a horse’s coat, so there is no need for superstition when it comes to blue eyes. As research advances, so should knowledge of the genetics involved in these pigment changes.


Want to learn about more horse breeds? Visit my article Brown Horse Breeds: 10 Horse Breeds With Brown Coats.

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Carmella Abel, Pro Horse Trainer

Hi! I’m Carmella

My husband and I started Equine Helper to share what we’ve learned about owning and caring for horses. I’ve spent my whole life around horses, and I currently own a POA named Tucker. You can learn more here.

Thank you for reading, and happy trails!

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