Roughly estimated, there are more than 300 horse breeds in the world. All these horses have unique characteristics and distinctive features. But some of these appeal to the human eye more than others due to their captivating and stunning appearances. Some of them are considered exotic horses because of their curly hair, while others have a unique color. Some other horse breeds are specific to a certain country and are not seen anywhere else.

In our article, we have compiled a list of the 12 most exotic horses from around the globe. So, join us to read about these unique horses in detail and learn a little more about their features and personality traits.

12 Exotic Horses and Their Features:

1. Akhal-Teke


The breed that tops our list of exotic horses is called an Akhal-Teke that hails from the lands of Turkmenistan. While other horse breeds have a golden or dark-colored coat with a mane in a contrasting color, the Akhal-Teke’s hair has a glossiness, making them appear shimmery. With a total length of 14 – 16 hands, these horses are capable of covering long distances. They are also popular for their speed, intelligence, and high stamina.

Breed Overview

Height:14 – 16 HH

Life Expectancy20 years

Origin Turkmenistan

2. The Knabstrupper

The Knabstrupper

Originating from Denmark, this horse breed is famous for its unique dotted appearance. Due to the beautiful leopard markings, these exotic horses are sometimes mistaken for an Appaloosa that also has an almost similar appearance.

These horses are intelligent, hardy, and willing to work. With high endurance and stamina, they are used for showjumping and dressage. They were also used as cavalry horses by the Danish army, but they were easy to be spotted and targeted due to their unique coloring.  

Breed Overview

Height: 15 – 16 HH

Life Expectancy27.5 years.

Origin Denmark.

3. Bashkir Curly

As the name implies, this horse breed is known for its curly hair that grows longer in winters and completely shed in summers, leaving the horse bald. These horses are intelligent, friendly, and can be easily trained. With a calm demeanor, great stamina, and an overall tough build, they are very popular among horse enthusiasts and are considered an ideal horse for beginners.

Just like other exotic horses on this list, this one is also used for dressage, reining, barrel racing, eventing, and other forms of Western riding.

Bashkir Curly

Breed Overview

Height: 14 – 16 HH

Life Expectancy25 years.

Origin North America.

4. Friesian

The Friesian horse breed hails from Friesland in the Netherlands. These horses have a pure black coat with no white markings. Although these horses are now considered to be among the beautiful breeds, they were once thought to be ugly.

They have a muscular body, a thick, wavy mane, and a long tail that add to their stunning appearance. Apart from their physical beauty, they are also very popular for their discipline, elegance, and grace. 


Breed Overview

Height: 15 – 17 HH

Life Expectancy16 years

Origin Friesland, Netherlands.

5. Falabella

Originating from Argentina, a Falabella is considered the tiniest breed of horses, with a total height of only 34 inches. By their physical features, these horses closely resemble a Thoroughbred-Arabian mixed breed. They have graceful and refined features, sturdy bodies, and thick hair coats.

These exotic horses are sweet-natured and enjoy being around people from all age groups. They are also liked for their adaptability and gentle demeanor. These personality traits make them an ideal horse for children and beginners.   

Embed from Getty Images

Breed Overview

Height: 6 – 7 HH

Life Expectancy40 – 45 years

Origin Argentina.

6. Andalusian


Andalusian horse breed belongs to Spain and has been around since the 15th century. This is a purebred horse whose baroque appearance hasn’t changed ever since. 

Just like their Friesian cousins, they also have long and thick manes and tails that add to their beauty. Historically, these exotic horses were used for bullfighting and as a warhorse. But now, they are used for dressage, showjumping, filmmaking, and riding. 

Breed Overview

Height: 15 – 16 HH

Life Expectancy25 years.

Origin Andalusia, Spain.

7. Marwari

The Marwari horses are best known for their inward-curving ears. Originating from the Western parts of India, these horses are considered a symbol of royalty and nobility in India. They are treated as a member of the family and would often wear a saddle embellished with jewels.

These athletic horses are known for their bravery and intelligence, so much so that they can even find their way back home. 

Exotic Horses-Marwari
Scmehta64, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Breed Overview

Height: 14 – 16 HH

Life Expectancy25 – 30 years

Origin Eastern Rajasthan, India.

8. Haflinger

Haflingers are easy to recognize because of their short height, chestnut color, and muscular, strong bodies. Originating from the mountains of Hafling, Austria, these exotic horses are adored for their golden color, calm and gentle demeanor, and graceful gait. Thanks to their athletic bodies and lustrous coat, they are one of the most beautiful horse breeds.


Breed Overview

Height: 13.2 – 15 HH

Life Expectancy25 – 30 years

Origin Hafling, Austria, and Northern Italy.

9. Lipizzaner—The Ballet Horse

A Lipizzaner is also called the Ballet horse because of its unique ballet-dancing manner of movement. This makes them ideal to be used for classical dressage, where the horses are trained to move with grace and intricacy.

These horses hail from Slovenia and are born black but later change their color to brown or gray. 

Lipizzaner—The Ballet H

Breed Overview

Height: 15 – 16 HH

Life Expectancy30 – 35 years

Origin Slovenia.

10. Percheron

The Percheron horse breed is best known for its tall and strong body. Influenced by the Arabian bloodlines, these draft horses have an overall muscular build, athletic legs, and refined body shape. These horses also have very graceful and elegant gaits. They hail from the Huisne river in the western parts of France, formerly called the Perche province. These exotic horses can be found in gray or black colors.

Exotic Horses-Percheron

Breed Overview

Height: 15 – 18 HH

Life Expectancy30 – 40 years

Origin Western France.

11. Black Forest Horse

The Black Forest horse takes its name from its place of origin—Wurttemberg’s the Black Forest in Germany. These medium-weight horses are sturdy and can tolerate harsh winters. They are mainly used as draft horses, but they can also be used for riding. They mostly have chestnut-colored coats but are found in other colors as well, have a thick mane, and they move with grace and elegance. 

Black Forest Horse

Breed Overview

Height: 14 – 15 HH

Life Expectancy25 – 30 years

Origin Southern Germany

12. Clydesdale

The last horse breed we have added to our list of exotic horses is called Clydesdale. These horses hail from the Scottish valley of the Clyde river—hence their name. Clydesdale horses are known for their well-formed legs that have long hair on them. These magnificent steeds are one of the heaviest horse breeds, weighing around 1600 – 2400 pounds. They are gentle, calm, and easy to train horses.     


Breed Overview

Height: 16 – 18 HH

Life Expectancy20 – 25 years.

Origin Clyde River Valley, Scotland.

With more than 300 horse breeds around the globe, deciding upon some exotic horses is hard. All the above-listed horse breeds have distinctive features, appealing colors, and stunning appearances that make them unique in their own ways.

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