Category: Horses

The Appaloosa is a horse breed known for its unique spotted coat. There are many body types for this breed, but its spots and mottled skin are the easiest way to identify this horse. The pattern of spotting is known as the "leopard complex". Striped hooves are another interesting feature of this breed.

Appaloosa Mare

Appaloosa Mare

Appaloosa Foal

Appaloosa Foal

Scientific & Common Names

Genus & Species - Equus ferus caballus

Common Name - Appaloosa


Many horses have been involved in breeding the present day Appaloosa, including the American Quarter Horse, Arabian and Thoroughbred, which led to a versatile breed with many body styles. The Apaloosa's mottled skin and spotted coat come in a variety of color styles, and striped hooves and a visible white sclera (the area around the iris of the eye) are other noteworthy traits of the breed.


A significant cross-breeding effort helped to revitalize this breed after it was largely forgotten by the end of the 1800s. Arabian and Quarter Horse cross-breeding occurred in the 1930s, and Thoroughbred was introduced into the breed in the 1970s. This resulted in a horse that was highly variable in body type, but always retained its leopard complex pattern.


Appaloosas are hardy with a strong work ethic, and are calm, docile and easily trained. They are an intelligent breed that enjoys variety in its training.


Spotted horses have a long history, being depicted in cave paintings from over 20,000 years ago, as well as appearing in 17th century Chinese artwork. They were used by Native Americans including the Nez Perce people, and the name "Apaloosa" is derived from the Palouse River, which runs through traditional Nez Perce country.

Present Status

The Appaloosa is a versatile horse breed that is used in jumping, dressage, racing, and other competitive activities. It is the state horse of Idaho, and one of the most popular horse breeds due to its interesting coat pattern.