About The Appaloosa

The Appaloosa is a distinct breed of horse. All Appaloosas have characteristics that set them apart from other breeds in the equine world.

Characteristics Of The Appaloosa

Appaloosa Contrasting Coat Pattern

Appaloosa comes in many base colors. Many will be white over the loin and hips with dark round or egg-shaped spots which vary in size from tiny specks to as much as four inches in diameter. Lots of  Appaloosas carry the spotting all over their body, the base coat can be all white or red or blue roan. Others may show very dark over their entire body with few or many white spots all over. No two Appaloosas will ever be of the same markings. However, not all Appaloosa foals will be born with contrasting coat markings, some are born solid and color with age and some will never color.  It’s all about choosing the right parents.

The skin of the Appaloosa is mottled with an irregular spotting, a speckled pattern of pigmented and non-pigmented skin. Most often it can be found on the soft skin tissue of the horse but can cover its entire body. It can be seen in/or on the nostrils, around the eyes, in the ears, under its tail and other soft skin tissue.

White Sclera is the white area encircling the dark pupil of the horse’s eye. Appaloosa eyes have a similarity to the human eye, which is not true with all other breeds of horses. Most of them have dark sclera, almost black.

Clearly defines vertically light and dark striped hooves on legs that have no white leg markings. The Appaloosa breed is the only breed of horse that displays this characteristic and it is truly an Appaloosa Characteristic. sometimes it can be found on other breeds, that carry some kind of other color genes,  but never to be compared with the Appaloosa.

The Appaloosa is symmetrical, smooth, and proportional; head is straight and lean showing partly-colored skin about the nostrils and lips and sometimes around the outside of eyes; forehead is wide; sclera of eyes is white, giving the eye prominence and adding distinctiveness to the head’s appearance; ears are pointed and of medium size; neck shows quality, a clean-cut throat latch and large windpipe blending into a deep chest and long sloping shoulders; withers are prominent and well defined; forearm is well-muscled, long, wide, and tapered down to a broad knee; cannons are short, wide, flat, ending in smooth, wide, and strong supported fetlocks.

Pastern should be long and sloping with the hoof being rounded, deep, open, and wide at the heel; back is short and straight; loin is short and wide; underline is long with the flank well let down; hips are smoothly covered, being muscular, long, and sloping; blending into well-rounded quarters; gaskins are long, wide, and muscular extending to clean, clearly defined, wide, straight hocks; back feet are a little more narrow than the front feet with a wide and high heel.

The ideal Appaloosa should have, among other attributes, a deep but not excessively wide chest, well defined, prominent withers, and length and slope to the pastern, shoulders, and hips. 

A thin or sparse mane and tail are very typical of the Appaloosa breed and should never be held against the horse. For a visual explanation of the various white facial and leg markings, click here. (**NOTE: This pdf file will download slow, please be patient.)

Appaloosa build ……….

Weight usually ranges from 950 to 1250 pounds. Height ranges from 14 to 16 hands. The minimum height for a mature Appaloosa (five years or older) is 14 hands (56 inches). There is no maximum height, though height and weight should be proportional.

Side view

Looking at the hindquarters from the side, you should be able to draw a straight line from the hip joint and fall directly from the center of the foot and should divide the gaskin in the middle.  Draw a straight line from the Buttock point, it should run parallel with the line of the cannon.

the Front legs, draw a line from the center of the elbow joint it should fall upon the center of the knee and pastern joint and back of the foot.

Front View

looking at the front of the horse, a perpendicular line should fall upon the center of the knee, cannon, pastern, and foot. Excessive with in the chest is not desirable and should be counted against if judged in a halter class.

Hind View

looking from behind the horse, a perpendicular line from the point of the buttock should fall on the center of the hock, cannon, pastern, and foot.  A horse should also be wider at the stifle then at the hips.

Head Type:

Side View

The head should be straight and lean (Originally the head had a light Roman nose, but slowly it was changed to a straight nose )

There should be parti-colored or mottled skin at the nostrils and lips and also often can be found around the eyes. You find the Eyes set wide apart and they should have white sclera and giving the eye distinctiveness to the appearance to the head. Ears are pointed and of medium size. The head is clean-cut and well conformed.