7 Fastest Horse Breeds (With Pictures and Quick Facts)

7 Fastest Horse Breeds

Horses are elegant and graceful animals that have been with humans for thousands of years. But not all horses are made equal. Some are faster than others. Some horse breeds win races while others pull carts. And even among those racehorses, some breeds have the natural disposition and physique to dominate.

Of the many horse breeds out there, the 7 fastest horse breeds are

  1. Akhal-Teke
  2. Arabian horse
  3. American Quarter Horse
  4. Appaloosa
  5. Andalusian horse
  6. Standardbred
  7. Thoroughbred

So what makes each breed faster than the rest? Actually, each one of those horse breeds has a unique and colorful history.



Some horses were born in luxury while others were born for hardship. The Akhal-Teke belongs to the latter group. Originally from Turkmenistan, this horse has more stamina and endurance than a horse born in a stable and attended to by vets 24/7. Its main and only job is to carry its nomadic owners across vast distances. It weighs about 1000 pounds and rises up 6 feet at the shoulders.

And the Akhal-Teke does that with all the grace and speed one would expect from a wild horse. Its strong physique allows it to travel long distances without breaking a sweat. But that’s not all they’re good at. These horses have a temperament that matches their harsh environment and living conditions as well. Their ancestors were famous for their courage and fearlessness, especially in wars.

Long before fighter jets and armored vehicles were used in war, man’s most trusted transport in battle was a brave horse that got all fired up in the heat of battle. Back then most of Asia was at war with each other and invading Europeans as well. It’s safe to say that the most decisive element in those wars was not the rifle, but the Akhal-Teke. This horse carried many warriors to victory and was the favored horse by the Mongols who swept across Asia and built one of the largest empires in history.

Arabian Horse

Arabian Horse

When you talk about racehorses, the Arabian horse usually finds its way into the conversation. One of the most ancient and fastest horse breeds out there. It has the grace and speed to make it dominate any race. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most expensive breeds and in horse auctions, a purebred will cost a small fortune.

The physical qualities that both distinguish and make this breed excel in races are numerous. The arching neck, chiseled head, and high tail carriage all give it a distinct look and incredible speed when it breaks into a gallop. These features are the result of thousands of years of racing across the Arabian Peninsula chasing rare food and water.

On average this slender and graceful horse weighs about 900 pounds and at the shoulders reaches a little under 6 feet. Its unique physique and its ability to conserve energy all contribute to its formidable stamina and ability to travel for miles without getting tired. It’s not just that, but the ease with which it moves makes it a delight to watch.

This breed is famous for its floating trot. Their hooves seem to glide over the surface without actually touching the ground. Their grace is unequaled and their spirit unmatched. If you love horses, don’t miss an opportunity to see this one in a horse show or better still in a race.

American Quarter Horse

American Quarter Horse

Some horses are bred for speed, others for stamina. And then others like the American Quarter horse are bred for short distances. This is the king of the sprint. It is wasted on cross country runs. It can reach 54 miles per hour but that’s only for a short distance. It cannot keep up this speed for long due to its physical limitations.

As the name implies this horse is a thoroughbred of the United States. Its history goes back to Native Americans as they chased the mighty bison in the American prairies. But since it cannot maintain its top speed for long distances it was replaced with other breeds.

Because of its visible strength and ability to accelerate to top speed within a few seconds, this horse is legendary in chases that don’t last for longer than a quarter-mile or so. If the chase takes longer, the horse’s speed dwindles quickly and it drops down to a trot.

Its most distinctive features are the muscly chest, powerful neck, and sloping shoulders. The only physical defect the horse has in this strong body is its small feet. The hooves are considered tiny to carry these firm legs and powerful body.


appaloosa horse

If the American Quarter horse could break into stunning speed, the Appaloosa had other qualities that endeared it to Native Americans. Apart from its flashy hide, it can keep up its speed for long distances. That made it the ideal ride for chasing buffalo and war raids. When you have the cavalry chasing you, you want a trusty steed that can carry you for miles without having to stop for a break. Famous warriors like Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull favored the Appaloosa over other breeds.

One thing that distinguishes the Appaloosa over other breeds here is that it’s the product of crossbreeding. Many species have contributed to its magnificent style and physique throughout the centuries. If you are going for a long ride across the country or down a rather winding trail, the Appaloosa is the kind of horse that will stay with you all the way thanks to its stamina and endurance.

It might not be the fastest breed on this list, but the Appaloosa has other qualities that give it its deserved place here. It reaches up to 64 inches high at the shoulders and weighs about 1,100 pounds. Most of this weight is muscle though which gives you an idea of the raw power this horse has.

Andalusian Horse

Are Andalusian Horses Good for Beginners

Some horses race, others run long distances, while the Andalusian horse captivates with its magnificence and beauty. They originate from the Iberian peninsula and sometimes are known as the Pure Spanish Horse. The reason it is called that is that since the 15th century it has maintained its distinct qualities and features without being crossbred with other breeds.

In horse shows the Andalusian horse dominates. It’s not just its grace or the way it glides rather than run. But it’s the physical appearance that really gets your attention. We’re talking about the full mane and long tail. The lean and pointy head and intelligent eyes. This high intelligence makes them easy to train. No other breed can execute difficult maneuvers like this one.

Back in Europe in the middle ages, this kind of horse was ideal for battle. It could charge and retreat at the blink of an eye. Since the war was fought with swords and close combat was the norm, fighters need a reliable horse quick on its feet that could change directions quickly. This is one of the main reasons the horse was so valued that it was recognized as a distinct breed that deserved to be kept pure. Today the horse is considered a treasure because of its purity.



As the name implies this is not a pure species. It was crossbred for decades to create a designer horse that serves a purpose. The purpose here is speed, power, and personality. The Standardbred is one of the friendliest horses you can come across. It is both patient and strong. Two qualities you’d need in a horse especially if you’re new to horseriding and don’t know how to deal with a horse.

Another quality that makes the Standardbred stand out is that they do well in some races but not others. For example, in harness races, the Standardbred is known to always come up on top. They also are a good choice for events and shows where you’d rather have a fast horse with some intelligence and strength added into the mix.



We always leave the best to last. If you’re looking for a fast horse that will leave the other breeds behind, the Thoroughbred is your ideal choice. Its average speed is 43 miles per hour. While that might sound much and it’s not as fast as the American Quarter horse, keep in mind that it can maintain this speed for long distances.

If you’re wondering what makes the Thoroughbred excel in just about any race or competition, you got breeding to thank for. For centuries breeders have painstakingly picked the choicest of the breeds and kept refining them. Today most races are won by this breed than any other horse breed ever.

This is the kind of horse that loves competition and seeks the thrill of the race. Their temperament thrives on the adrenaline of competing and they find pleasure in finishing first. That’s the only explanation for their competitiveness. But it’s not just that. Their beauty is unparalleled. They make racing look so easy and they are a delight to watch as they cross the finish line with such grace and power.

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