Tiger horse

In This Article

  • History and Origins

  • Size

  • Breeding and Uses

  • Colors and Markings

  • Characteristics

  • Diet and Nutrition

  • Health and Behavior

  • Grooming

  • Tiger Horse for You

  • How to Adopt or Buy

  • More Horse Breeds

The Tiger Horse is a relatively new breed that’s based on the spotted horses of the Iberian Peninsula in Spain. They are often sought out for their unique, leopard-like coloration.

Breed Overview

Weight: 700 to 1500 pounds

Height: 13 to 16 hands (52 to 64 inches)

Best For: Shows, recreation

Body Type: Confex profile; curved ears and a lean head; large eyes; arched, high-set neck; sloping shoulders and sturdy legs

Life Expectancy: 20 years

Tiger Horse History and Origins

The Tiger Horse dates back to ancient China around 618 AD. The breed was later brought to Europe and rose in popularity during the time Europeans were colonizing America, thus these horses became known in America as well. Breeding centers were established in central and south America.

The Tiger Horse Association, or THA, was established in America in 1994, and in 2011, the “Soulon Tiger Horse Registry” was founded to encourage the continued growth of this spotted breed.

Tiger Horse Size

Averaging 700 to 1500 pounds in weight and 13 to 16 hands, or 52 to 64 inches, tall, the Tiger Horse breed varies greatly in size. But no matter how big or small each individual is, you can be sure a Tiger Horse has big, muscular legs and sloping shoulders, giving them a somewhat elegant and strong look.

Breeding and Uses

This stunning breed was developed for their unique leopard-like coats and hardiness. After the Tiger Horse Association was established in 1994, Tiger Horses gained popularity quickly due to their unique coat. Today, they are often used as companion pets.

A great horse for beginners, Tiger Horses are often sought out by families or riding instruction businesses. They are also used in competition, notably dressage.

Colors and Markings

The Tiger Horse can come in a wide variety of base colors, including white, black, and bay. Their markings are spotted and leopard-like. The TSA also accepts Tiger Horses that exhibit blanket, roan, and snowflake patterns, with or without spots.

Unique Characteristics of the Tiger Horse

Tiger Horses stand out among other horse breeds mostly because of their spotted coats. This coat color is unique and their skin is almost like a leopard’s. But because the ancient Chinese did not have a word for leopard, they named the breed after the tiger instead.

Another unique characteristic of the Tiger Horse is its gait. These horses can easily perform a number of gaits beyond the trot or the two-beat. They do so smoothly, elegantly, and with great athleticism.

The Best Gaited Horse Breeds for a Smooth Ride

wild horses with mountains in background

wild horses with mountains in background

Diet and Nutrition

Speak to your veterinarian if you have concerns about your Tiger Horse’s diet. In general, the amount of food you feed them will depend on their size. Because their size varies greatly, so will the amount of food they need. Typically, Tiger Horses do well on a diet filled with grass and hay.

Common Health and Behavior Problems

There are no known common genetic health or behavior problems associated with the Tiger Horse. In general, however, horses need to be exercised regularly and fed a high-quality diet full of whole grains and vegetables.

If you have concerns for your horse’s health, discuss the issue with your veterinarian who can give you appropriate advice.


Like any horse breed, Tiger Horses need regular grooming for both aesthetic and health reasons. Give your Tiger Horse a bath as required and use shampoo that will be gentle on their skin.

The Tiger Horse’s mane and tail varies—sometimes being long and full, and other times being almost nonexistent. Use your best judgment to care for your horse’s hair. If your horse does have long hair, make sure to brush it regularly to avoid tangles.

You should also have a farrier trim your horse’s hooves regularly. Its front hooves should be rounded and back hooves slightly smaller.


  • Easy to train

  • Colorful

  • Gentle

  • Surefooted


  • Needs hooves maintained

  • Uncommon

Is the Tiger Horse Right for You?

Tiger Horses are generally sensible and gentle, making them great for beginners as well as experienced riders. Another benefit for beginners is that they are sturdy and surefooted, so stumbling is not usually an issue. Tiger Horses are extremely affectionate, too.

How to Adopt or Buy Tiger Horses

A quick internet search will help you find breeders selling or adopting out Tiger Horses across the world. But before you pay for one, be sure it is a reputable organization.

You can contact the THA before you buy to see what they know of the organization and be sure to ask for a clean bill of health from any breeder you buy from. If they are reputable, they should have information about each horse’s health to offer you.

More Horse Breeds

If the Tiger Horse piqued your interest, you may be interested in similar horse breeds, like these:

  • Appaloosa
  • Andalusian
  • Peruvian Paso

Otherwise, you can check out all of our other horse breed profiles.

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