How to Breed Appaloosa Horses

Decide that you want to breed a purebred Appaloosa Horse, not a Quarter Horse, Warmblood or any other breed outcross. Respect that many people, decades ago, invested much time and research into bringing the Appaloosa Horse back to what it was when it belonged to the Nez Perce tribe. They worked hard at eliminating the draught horse types from the breed and introduced the best (Arabian) to improve and refine the Appaloosa.


  1. 1
    Look for the best of the breed insofar as bloodline, grading, height, conformation, character and color. These attributes are the best place to start.
  2. 2
    Check that the horse is registered with the relevant breed Society and that the bloodlines of both the sire and the dam are correct and that they too are registered. This ensures that you won't hit any snags when you have bred a gorgeous foal and you try to get it registered.
  3. 3
    Make certain that the horses have all the necessary tests before you breed with them (CEM, Dourine, etc).
  4. 4
    Be sure that the horses don't have any inherited faults: parrot mouth, boxy hooves, etc. Get your vet to do an inspection and ascertain that both horses are in good health.
  5. 5
    Select horses from good colorful bloodlines. Spend plenty of time researching bloodlines and checking other studs and breeders to see which horses have given them the best results - have an idea in your mind as to what you are looking to get: leopards, blankets, few spot, roans, etc. No good breeding leopard line to leopard line and expecting a spotted blanket.
  6. 6
    Speak to the breeder of your own horse/s and ask them for advice. Speak to successful breeders and ask them if they have any pointers. The old breeders have so much knowledge.
  7. 7
    Remember that all animal breeds have a specific type and they all must look like that particular breed.
  8. 8
    Quarterloosa horses are lovely but they are not Appaloosa horses. Quarter Horses were designed for specific needs and are in the top four fastest horses in the world and also make wonderful cow horses and halter horses - but may lack the hardiness and stamina of the long distance horse. Their body type is different from the Appaloosa - they have a narrower or flatter rib cage and therefore smaller heart and lungs due to less space - good for short bursts of speed. The narrower rib cage also means the the elbows are closer together and often creates a toed out stance. The Appaloosa has a well sprung ribcage - room for a larger heart and lungs for going the distance - they can eat up the miles. The pastern of the QH is slightly shorter and more upright, not suitable for long distances.


  • Breed good Appaloosa horses, breed pure Appaloosa horses and keep this spectacular breed of horses alive and well.
  • Keep paperwork in order.
  • Simply put: in the dog world - breeding a Dalmatian to a Dalmatian begets more Dalmatian puppies. Breeding a Dalmatian to a Great Dane will produce puppies with interesting color that cannot be either Dalmatian nor Great Dane - nor can be registered!
  • Select coat patterns carefully.
  • The Warm-blood Appaloosa cross can be a lovely animal. The action though, can often be more magnified than the pure Appaloosa and can be very suitable for dressage etc. But out-crossing still means that the resulting foal is 50% of both breeds not a purebred Appaloosa. The dilemma then is what to breed these out-crosses back to or with? Warmblood crosses could lose their action and height if bred back to an Appaloosa and if bred back to a Warmblood will probably result in a solid horse that cannot visibly be an Appaloosa and may not be a Warmblood type either.


  • Be respectful of the breeders before you who went to great lengths to improve and bring the breed back from extinction.
  • Don't be tempted to out-cross to other breeds thus diluting the Appaloosa genes.
  • Don't be tempted to cross the Appaloosa to horses with paints and pintos, grey horses, draught horses, poor conformation, poor temperaments.

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Categories: Horse Breeding