A Look at Some of the Rarest Horse Breeds in the World

Horses have had a special relationship with humans for thousands of years. It’s thought that they were first domesticated in Asia by nomads. Over the years, these beautiful animals have become a major part of everyday life.

Key points
  • There are over 400 different breeds of horses
  • The Akhal-Teke was originally bred by nomadic tribes
  • The Suffolk Punch breed of horse dates back to 1768 and originates in the UK
  • The Caspian horse is thought to be the oldest breed

All of the domestic horse breeds that we know today come from one species. However, there are over 400 different breeds that exist across the globe.

Over the long history of horses and humans, many breeds have flourished. However, several horse breeds have become rare over time and some are critically endangered. Let’s take a look at some of these rare horse breeds in more detail.


The Akhal-Teke horse is one of the most beautiful breeds of horse in the world. Its coat has a metallic appearance and it almost looks like a statue. The Akhal-Teke was originally bred by nomadic tribes that used their horses to travel long distances. Although there are still more than 6,000 of these horses globally they are in decline thanks to an issue with inbreeding within the population which mostly exists in Russia.

Suffolk Punch

The Suffolk Punch breed of horse dates back to 1768. The breed originates in the UK. These powerful horses were used to work on the land and pull carts. However, since the end of World War II, the breed has declined in numbers thanks to a change of working practices and advancements in machinery. 

The good news about this famous breed is that numbers are starting to increase thanks to dedicated conservation efforts. As a result, there are around 600 Suffolk Punch horses in the United States and around 200 in the UK.

American Cream Draft

It’s hard to miss the stunning American Cream Draft horse. This beautiful draft horse breed has a coat that is champagne/cream coloured. Unfortunately for the American Cream Draft, its appearance has not been enough to prevent its numbers from dwindling to a population of less than 500 globally. Much of this decline is due to advancements in technology that have removed the need for these horses to carry out traditional tasks such as pulling farming machinery.


The Caspian horse is thought to be the oldest breed. Its history goes back as far as 3000 BC. It has its origins in what is now Iran and was a favourite of Caspian royalty. It was originally thought that these ancient horses had died out until experts discovered that the Caspian horses of today are directly descended from them. 

Sadly, these small and athletic horses are no longer bred in their home region very often due to unrest and there are only around 2,000 of them in the world at the present time.


The Galiceño horse was originally bred in Mexico before being introduced to the United States where the breed became well-known for its high energy levels. This led to these animals being used for sporting events including show jumping.  Galiceños may only be short in stature but they have high levels of stamina which also make them well-suited to sporting prowess. 

Sadly, this prowess seems unlikely to protect the breed in the long term. There are less than 100 Galiceños left and many of them are not in breeding condition. This means that the Galiceño is thought to be the most endangered horse breed in the world.

Canadian Horse

The Canadian Horse originates in the country from which it takes its name. It’s a hardy animal that is easy to train. This makes it a good choice for riders. 

Most examples of the Canadian Horse are black, brown or bay. However, they can occasionally be chestnut coloured. 

Unfortunately, the number of foal registrations for the breed has fallen to 100-150 each year since 2015. This has led to a decline in numbers which is pushing the breed towards becoming extinct.


The Marwari breed is also known as the Marwadi and Malani. These good looking animals are part of the ancient world of horses in India where they are traditionally used for show or religious purposes. 

The breed exists in several different colours including black, bay, chestnut, grey and piebald. Right now there are only around 30 of these horses outside of India in countries including the United States, Spain, Pakistan and Oman. This means that the future of this ancient breed is uncertain.

It remains to be seen what will happen to these horse breeds that are rare in the future. Some, like the Suffolk Punch, are likely to survive thanks to the dedication of enthusiasts. Sadly, others may not be as fortunate and it’s possible that we will not see them at all in the not too distant future.

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