What is the Fastest Horse Breed in the World?

There are different horse breeds in the world. Of course, they vary in size, shape, and other qualities. But an essential quality to look for is speed quality. Today, it’s common to develop horses primarily focusing on speed. This leads you to wonder what is the fastest horse breed in the world?

However, the horse speed isn’t necessarily for determining the attainment of the top pace. There are various ways of measuring the rate of a horse. It can be over long distances, shorter distances, or while pulling a carriage. Though some horses may be fast, others have fit stamina, hence perfect for long distances. 

What Makes a Fast Horse?

Most people think that the biggest or tallest horse breeds are the fastest. That’s not the case, though. Some horses with the highest speeds are medium height or short. For instance, Seabiscuit is a Thoroughbred horse and was a winner in the 1940s and 1950s races. Contrary to what most people expect, it is of small stature. 

Another famous horse is the Eclipse. A study by scientists shows that the main reason for his fast speed is his average stature. Short horses might be faster than taller horses. For a horse to run fast, they rely on their respiratory system, muscles and build. Other factors that determine the speed of a horse include stride angles, rate, and length.

So, what are the fastest horse breeds in the world? Here is a list of the quickest horse breeds but in no particular order. 

1. Arabian Horse

The Arabian is one of the world’s ancient horses. Its first development was in the Arabian Peninsula for war and raiding. The Bedouin tribespeople is responsible for developing the Arabian horse. They always kept the horses in the tents for safety. There was breeding for specific character traits such as willingness to please, close bonding with humans, and cooperativeness into the Arabian horse. Additionally, they are friendly, intelligent, alert, and high-spirited animals. The traits are essential for combat, hence suitable for unprofessional horse owners. 

Arabians have a top speed of about 64kmph. However, they don’t match the American Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds in shorter distances. This breed has excellent stamina and is the fastest for longer distances. Their looks are striking, and you can quickly note them. The shape of Arabians’ heads is distinctive, with a high tail carriage. These characters make them the most handsome breeds worldwide.

2. Akhal-Teke

Akhal-Teke is among the oldest horses in the world. Its origin is in Turkmen. They are the descendants of the Turkoman Horse, whose today’s breeding is for stamina. Therefore, they can go for a long distance in a short period. 

Akhal-Teke is around 14.2 to 16 hands tall. It has a distinctive metallic coat hence the famous nickname “Golden Horse.” They possess a fiery temperament. Therefore they aren’t fit for inexperienced horses riders or owners. However, they can build a strong bond with a familiar person. These characters make Akhal-Teke perfect war horses and long-distance racers. They perform well in eventing, showjumping, and dressage events. Today, only about 6,000 Akhal-Teke horses exist in the world, especially in Turkmenistan.

3. Andalusian

The Andalusian is also called the PRE or the Pure Spanish horse. It’s an ancient breed originating from the Iberian Peninsula. Besides being handsome with a long tail and mane, the family is intelligent and docile. 

Andalusians are also famous for elegant movement, agility, stamina, and speed. These traits make them valuable for war, especially in the past. Though they are currently not for war, the belief is that this breed has had little evolution since the 15th century. Andalusians horses are incredibly versatile and excel in competitions of long-distance races. They are also good at show jumping and dressage. 

4. Thoroughbred

Thoroughbreds dominate most horseracing events. Their development was in the 17th to 18th centuries in England. During this time, the local mares were breeding with Barb, Turkoman, and Arabian stallions. The famous stallions are the Godolphin Arabian, the Darley Arabian, and the Byerly Turk. Today’s Thoroughbreds trace their lineage from here. 

The Thoroughbred is hot-blooded with a slim, tall build and a lively, fiery temperament. It’s excellent in one-mile races and can hold speed in distances about 0.75 to 1.25 miles. The Guinness Book of World Records places Thoroughbreds as the fastest horses with 43.97 mph. Other breeds excel in shorter races.

Most people confuse the term Thoroughbred with purebred. However, the purebred is a horse with pure lineage. 

5. American Paint Horse

The American Paint horse originates from the American Quarter horse and The Thoroughbred. That is why they have the potential of aiming at higher speeds. This breed developed when patterned, and colored horses were exempted when registering the American Quarter horse. However, some owners, impressed with the colored horse whose looks were attractive, continued to breed them. 

Today, the American Paint horse use is in Western riding disciplines. That is because of its powerful hindquarters and low gravity center. Therefore, they are capable of high speeds and fast acceleration in short distances. It’s now among the US famous breeds. 

6. American Quarter Horse

The American Quarter horses beat all other horse breeds in short-distance races. Its name is a derivation from racing over quarter miles, speeding up to 55mph. However, it can’t beat other species such as Thoroughbreds in long-distance racing. But as the fastest Horse, American Quarter Horse takes the prize. 

American Quarters bear some Thoroughbred blood in their genes hence their prowess. In the colonial period, there was the importation of the English Thoroughbreds by North American colonies. Breeding was done with their local horses resulting in agile and fast horses suitable to work with cattle. 

American Quarter horse is famous for its calm demeanor and willingness to work. Its acceleration is impressive, and its speed is ideal for Western riding events like barrel racing. 

7. Standardbred

Standardbred horses are the best in competing when flat out. Though it has no slouch while galloping, it is the fastest horse in existence for trotting. While trotting, its speed goes to 30mph!

These traits make Standardbreds familiar in events such as harness racing. They have a friendly nature, are versatile, and are willing to learn, hence popular. Their qualities make them suitable for inexperienced riders and are typical for pleasure riding by any rider level. Standardbreds are Thoroughbreds’ descendants. You can trace their lineage back to Hambletonian 10 horse, also called Rysdyk’s Hambletonian. 

8. Appaloosa

Appaloosa is among the US popular breeds and has specific amounts of Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred blood. The first development of this breed was by Nez Perce, a Native American Tribe. Its primary breeding purpose was for the horse to excel in hunting. 

Apart from having a distinctively patterned coat, we appreciate the Appaloosa’s endurance, strength, and speed. They are common in Western riding principles, with stamina perfect for trail riding in longer distances. 

9. The Black Forest

Though the Black Forest is not good at racing over the flat, it is a miniature but muscular horse that can pull heavy carriages at high speeds. The name suggests that its origin is from Germany in the Black Forest region, Schwartzwalder Kaltblut. Its look is distinctive, and when registering, it has to have the chestnut color and a flaxen tail and mane. Today, Black Forests are rare and are regarded as endangered. 

10. Mustang

Mustangs are often considered wild horses. However, they are descendants of the domestic horses that Spanish people imported to America hence feral horses. Since Mustangs breed freely and run wild, it is hard to characterize them due to considerable variations. However, horses that belong to some herds retain most characteristics from the original Spanish horse.

The American Quarter horse and Thoroughbreds have a contribution to the Mustang blood. It’s for this reason they have attributes similar to the two breeds, like impressive speed. You can adopt a tame Mustang since they are versatile, friendly, and have calm temperaments. However, some of those with wilder personalities can be challenging for inexperienced owners to domesticate. Mustangs are good in trails, and you can use them for racing or dressage. 

11. Mongolian Horse

A Mongolian horse is a type of horse that can perform well under specific conditions. In Mongolia, horse riding is a local culture that is deeply ingrained. Therefore, these horses are more in the region than people. Their breeding purpose is to be hardy animals. They live a semi-wild lifestyle, finding food themselves and living outside. It’s harsh considering the country has winter lows about -40°C and summer highs reaching more than 30°C.

This horse breed in various parts of Mongolian country has multiple characteristics. However, those in Sukhbaatar and Khentii province are regarded as the fastest. The stamina of Mongolian horses is incredible! They can gallop for 6.25 miles. Today, they are used at the Mongolian Derby. The longest horse race worldwide, with 625 miles. 

12. Friesian Horse 

Friesian Horse can’t excel in flat-out races. However, they perform well in harness. It’s a descendant of an old breed for centuries who were war horses and used to carry armored knights into battle. Though they are regarded as agile, Friesians are quick, graceful, and light-footed horses. They are also friendly and docile, hence ideal to be employed as workhorses. Besides pulling carts and carriages, they perform well in events like dressage. Friesians are also common for pleasure riding.

13. Selle Francais

The history of the Selle Francais is fascinating. Its development was explicitly in 1958. It was from a conscious decision to merge stud books of other horse breeds, resulting in a unified sport horse. The breeding was during a time that working horses were scarce hence replaced with machines. Therefore, the family was only kept for sports. 

The Selle Francais horses are French breeds, and their breeding is extensive throughout the country. They are athletic horses whose temperaments are lively. The horse excels specifically in show jumping. However, they also perform in other disciplines like eventing and dressage. Though they don’t match breeds like American Quarter horse or Thoroughbred over flat courses, they can put a top speed. That is why they have a place on the list. 


Today, there are many horse breeds in the world. Most of them are trying to break records in strength, stamina, and speed. With new breeding and training techniques that appear annually in our communities, we can only expect horses with great pace in the future.