🐎 The Appaloosa Horse Breed

Breed Description

The Appaloosa is a breed with a color preference. Coat pattern, white sclera of the eye, striped hooves and mottled skin are the characteristics of the Appaloosa. An Appaloosa, however, may also have a solid coat pattern. To be registered as an Appaloosa, the minimum height requirement at maturity is 14 hands.

Average Height

The average height of an Appaloosa is around 15.1 hands.


  • Bay
  • Black
  • Brown
  • Buckskin
  • White
  • Dun
  • Chestnut
  • Grullo
  • Gray
  • Roan
  • Palomino


The conformation of the Appaloosa is typical of the stock horse breeds. However, the Appaloosa may resemble the shorter, more compact Arabian or the longer, leaner Thoroughbred.


Appaloosas are generally very gentle and are suitable for every level of rider. They are intelligent and have trustworthy temperaments, making them the perfect mount for children and novice riders.

Members of this breed often excel in the following disciplines:

  • Reining
  • Dressage
  • Endurance

Breed History

The Appaloosa’s heritage is as colorful and unique as its coat pattern. Spotted horses on cave drawings have been dated as far back as 20,000 years ago.

It wasn’t until the 1600s that horses were first introduced to North America by Spanish explorers. In the early 1700s, several of these horses found their way into the lives of American Indians, specifically the Nez Perce of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The Nez Perce were known for their keen abilities with horses, and began breeding their own stock. The outcome was mounts that were agile, strong, quick and sure-footed, with a bonus feature of distinct coloring. As settlers came to the Northwest Palouse region in Idaho and Washington, they called the spotted horses “Palouse Horses.” Over time, the name finally became “Appaloosa.”

During the Nez Perce War in 1870, the Appaloosa carried the tribe 1,300 miles over rugged terrain in their flight from the U.S. Cavalry. When they reluctantly surrendered in Montana, their surviving horses were relinquished to soldiers, left behind or dispersed to settlers. Nothing was done to preserve the Appaloosa, and the breed nearly vanished.

However, in 1938 a group of dedicated horsemen formed the Appaloosa Horse Club to preserve and promote the disappearing Appaloosa. The ApHC is the international breed registry for Appaloosa horses. Now more than 650,000 Appaloosas have been registered in the United States and 40 foreign countries.

US Breed Association:

Appaloosa Horse Club
2720 W Pullman Rd
Moscow, Idaho 83843