Black Horses: 14 Things You Should Know

Black horses possess a very commanding, majestic aura that cannot be simply dismissed.

You can frequently see them in different myths, movies, and books. However, they are sometimes characterized as the antagonists in the story because of their dark color.

But what is the real story behind their dark coat?

Are Black Horses Rare?

Black horses are relatively unusual but not extremely rare.

You might be one of those people who very much desire to see a jet black stunning horse. Why? Simply because black horses are unusual, not typically seen in farms or horse competitions.

They are not extremely rare as they are not yet reaching the point of being endangered. In fact, black is one of the base colors of horses.

black horses

How Uncommon Is A Black Horse?

A black horse is uncommon that other horse colors are often mistaken as black.

Since it is unusual, some individuals are not that familiar with the true black color. They tend to mistakenly think or claim that a dark chestnut horse or bay horse is a black horse.

A chestnut or bay horse may be black but if you will observe it closely, the hair around their eyes, muzzles and flanks are not. You can see the real colors of these false black horses once they are hit with the light at a specific angle.

True black horses have dark brown eyes and black hair around their eyes, muzzles and flanks. They have black skin and completely black hair all over.

Why Are Black Horses Uncommon?

Black horses are uncommon because their skin and coat are sensitive.

Black is one of the base colors of horses, but why is it uncommon? As a base color, there should be lots of horses with black coats; but it is not the case.

Black horses are less in number compared with other colors because they are not suitable for hot places. As much as possible, they should be raised in locations with a cooler temperature.

Too much heat from the sun can give them higher body temperature that is not good for their health. Their black coat absorbs the heat rather than reflecting them.

The rays and heat of the sun cannot be avoided in the everyday work of horses. Horses used in farms, definitely, need to work during day time. As for horses joining equine sports, training and competing under the sun is common.

Since they are quite sensitive, they are not being bred as much as other horse colors, making them less in population.

Is There Such Thing As A Black Horse?

Yes. There are black horses, certainly.

Though they are not the typical color of horses that you can see, they are existing.

You might think at times that black horses are not real as some black foals that you see will turn grey as they grow old or with some white markings. Their base color may be black but because of color gene modifiers, changes in their coat shades happen.

Some breeds of horses are known to be exclusively black such as the Murgese, Ariegeois, Friesian Horses, Percheron, and Fell Pony.

Are Black Horses Born White Or Black?

Black horses are born black, but most of them can be grey at birth.

Black horses are not born white. As a foal, they can be black, mousy grey, or dark grey.

At birth, they usually own a black mane, black dorsal stripe, and black tail.

If foals are born grey, you can see their black coats slowly appearing as they age and start shedding. They are the common non-fading black horses that can have a blue-black color as adults.

Do Black Horses Turn White?

Real black horses do not turn white, but grey horses do.

Black horses will either be jet black, blue-black, brown or brownish-red when they reach adulthood.

The black horses that turn white when they mature are actually the grey horses.

A grey horse can be born black, and as soon as it grows up, it will gradually fade off its color until it becomes white. It is due to the grey genes it holds that act as a color modifier.

Why Do Black Horses Turn Brown?

Black horses turn brown when they get too exposed to the heat of the sun.

Interestingly, black horses have two classes: the fading black and the non-fading black.

Fading black, also known as sun-bleached black, happens when a black horse spends too much time under the sun. It will sweat excessively, gradually losing its deep black color and turning it to brown.

Compared with other colors, black horses are not recommended in hot environments as their pigment takes in and retains heat.

The non-fading black horse, usually called blue-black or jet black, will not fade its color because of the sun or sweat.

It is still unknown why coats of jet black horses do not fade. There have been various studies about their genetic composition, but none is still proven yet. 

Are Black Horses Expensive?

Black horses are expensive because of their breeds.

The majority of the black horses that you see are not just from one specific breed. They are actually from different lineages that share a similar pigment called eumelanin which causes the black color.

Aside from the fact that they are uncommon, black horses are expensive because of their breeds.

The usual breeds that come in black are those pricey ones such as Thoroughbreds, Arabian Horses, Dutch Warmblood,

American Standardbred, and Friesian.

Generally, breeders buy horses based on their pedigree, parents, age, temperament, trainability, physique, stamina, and price. The black color is such a sight to behold, but there are more important factors to consider before buying a horse.

How Much Does A Black Horse Cost?

A black horse could cost from $500 to 160,000 on average.

One of the famous and most expensive breeds known for having a black coat is the Friesian horse. Friesian horses, also called Belgian black, have a majestic character with long manes and tails and full black color.

The only accepted white spot in this breed should be barely on the forehead.

A Friesian horse will run you around $3,000 to $100,000 which is commonly based on age, quality, and training received.

This black horse breed is expensive, again, not because of its color, rather it is considered an endangered class. It is yet to recover from near extinction making it a rare one today.

Are Black Horses Faster?

Black horses run just the same as other horse colors.

Horses that can run faster than others are the result of intense training, a healthy diet, personal care, and great lineage.

A black horse is not guaranteed to run faster than other horses as color does not affect speed.

Is A Black Horse A Stallion?

A black horse can be a stallion if it is a male, at the right age, and not castrated.

You can say that a black horse is a stallion if it meets the criteria based on age, gender, and reproductive health.

A stallion, also called “Entire”, is a mature horse already, aging 4 years and older.

It is male and has not been gelded. A stallion did not get its reproductive organ removed which means it can be used for breeding its offspring.

Do Black Horses Get Hotter?

Yes. Black horses get hotter because their color tends to absorb and retain the heat from the sun.

Compared with other light-colored horses, black horses get hotter as they tend to absorb more heat. The black coat does not reflect all the light it is receiving from the sun; thus, transforms it into hot temperature.

It is just like wearing colored clothes during the summer season. Some people prefer to put on garments with light shades when it is hot as they believe it is keeping them cooler than dark colors.

So if you are living in a hot-climate place and planning to get a black horse, you should think twice as it is recommended to be raised in a cooler temperature setting.

Can Black Horses Have Blue Eyes?

Black horses can have blue eyes but are very uncommon.

There is a connection between skin color and eye color because they are both determined by genes. You can frequently notice that dark-colored horses have pairs of dark eyes while light-colored horses own light-colored eyes as well.

Most of the true black horses that you can see have dark brown eyes as they black coats as well due to their genes.

Blue-eyed horses most often have light colors or white markings.

A horse will have light-shaded eyes if it has a double-dilute color as a result of a creme gene.

A black horse can have one or two blue eyes if it has pink skin under its white spots. For instance, a pinto horse can have a black base which will give white markings in different body parts and possibly blue eyes.

How Many Black Horses Are There In The World?

The population of black horses in the world is unknown.

Because black horses can be of different breeds, it is quite hard to know their real numbers around the globe.

Lots of researches show statistics of specific breed horses only. Per breed, it is difficult to identify the percentage of horses based on color.

Even the population of the specific breeds that are exclusively black cannot be relied on since they can also be of other colors.


Labelle, A. (2013, June 3). Are blue eyes in horses more sensitive than Brown? The Horse Owner’s Resource.

Kilby, E. (2007). Chapter 10 – The Demographics of the U.S. Equine Population. In The State of the Animals (4th ed., pp. 175-205).

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