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Appaloosa Horse

Country of Origin: USA

Appaloosa Horse


Known for their flamboyant spotted patterns, the Appaloosa is a color breed. This means that they are classified based on color genetics, rather than conformation features. There are six different coat patterns found in the appy family, each one rather distinctive.

Appaloosa Horse


Although spotted horses had already been documented in Europe & Asia for centuries, the modern North American Appaloosa was developed by the Nez Perce Indians in mid-18th century Oregon, Idaho & parts of Washington. This is another breed originating with Spanish horses brought to North America by conquistadores. The name Appaloosa itself comes from the Palouse River that ran through Nez Perce territory.

Built Strong

Bred not just for richness of coat & spotting patterns, Appaloosas were also bred for strength & endurance. This made them suitable for work, hunting & war. Even Lewis & Clark noted the quality of the Nez Perce Appaloosas. When the U.S Government began seizing tribal lands & re-locating tribes to reservations, the Nez Perce fought, but were defeated. Many of their prized horses were redistributed or slaughtered, thus separating the well bred band of animals.

After this tragedy, the appaloosa was all but forgotten until 1937 when Dr. Francis Haines published an article in The Western Horseman titled “The Appaloosa or Palouse Horse”. The article sparked a renewed interest in the spotted animals & by 1938 the Appaloosa Horse Club was formed in Idaho to renew & preserve the breed. Just 50 years later the breed registry became the third largest in the world.

Modern Appaloosa

Sadly the loss of their people was not the only roadblock in the breed’s history. Crossbreeding (especially to the American Quarter Horse) has changed the conformation of the modern appaloosa in many ways including loss of patterns. Luckily today there is a healthy love of the breed & their popularity hopefully ensures that the original bloodlines will persist.


Average height 14.2-15.2 hands.
A striking mottled appearance of many different patterns.
Best specimens have the confirmation of well bred stock ponies.
White sclera of the eye & mottled muzzle skin.


Strong, correct legs
Short-coupled thin mane & tail
Hard, striped feet

Traditional Colors:

The Leopard pattern displays in a number of ways.
Few spot leopard
Varnish Roan


Willing & hardy
Strong endurance

Appaloosa Horse


Ranch work
Show horse
Pleasure horse
Parade horse
Stock horse
Long-distance riding

Appaloosa Products

Helpful Links

* All links open in a new window
America Appaloosa Association
Appaloosa Horse Club | Twitter
International Colored Appaloosa Association
The British Appaloosa Society
Australian Appaloosa Association
Appaloosa Horse Association of New Zealand
Foundation Appaloosa Horse Registry
Sportaloosa International Registry
Walkaloosa Association
Appaloosa Sport Horse Association
Appaloosa Reining Horse Association

Where to Buy

White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue
Meucci Ranch
M-Y Sweetwater Appaloosa Ranch


Do you have images or know more about the Appaloosa breed? We’d love help completing this page, please contact us to get involved.

Country of Origin: USA | Colors:
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