Will the Horse Ever Become Extincted?

When we think of endangered animals we are thinking of wild animals but did you know some of our own farm animals are endangered? Just looking at horses there are dozens of breeds about to fade out of existence, but there are concerned organizations big and small that are trying to keep the breeds alive. You can read all about these horses on websites such as Rare Breeds Canada and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. In Britain you can find information through the Rare Breed Survival Trust.

There are so many unwanted, abandoned horses; many are sent to slaughter. These lists answer the question as to why people are still breeding horses. Someday we may not have these beautiful animals at all and what shame that would be. The horse itself will continue to live in our world but their history will be lost as the breeds are blended.


Endangered Horses registered in the US:


American Cream



Cleveland Bay

Dales Pony


Hackney Horse

Morgan – Traditional¹

Newfoundland Pony





Colonial Spanish²



Irish Draught




Fell Pony


Mountain Pleasure /Rocky Mountain



¹ – Strains include Baca-Chica, Banker, Belsky, Choctaw, Florida Cracker, Marsh Tacky, Santa Cruz, Sulphur / Vaquero, Wilbur Cruce, and numerous other sub strains and composites. Feral horses from the Cerbat, Pryor, and Sulphur areas include some that would meet the criteria as well as some that do not. Colonial Spanish horses are represented by several registries, and several strains have independent conservation breeding programs. Each of these strains contributes to the overall composite breed.

² – Includes horses whose pedigrees are absent of outcrosses after 1930.


And in Canada:
1 – 15
Bashkir Curly

Lac La Croix

Indian Pony

Newfoundland Pony

American Saddlebred

Cleveland Bay

Exmoor Pony

Fell Pony

Hackney Horse and Pony

Shetland Pony

Suffolk Horse

Dales Pony

Dartmoor Pony

Irish Draft

Highland Pony
16 – 50
Alberta Wild Horse

Brittany Triangle Horse

Nemiah Valley Horse

Sable Island Horse

51 – 150
Canadian Horse


Welsh Cob and Pony
151 – 500


Source: http://rarebreedscanada.org/home


Endangered horse ratings are universal:

• Critical
– Fewer than 300 adult breeding mares.

• Endangered
– Fewer than 500 adult breeding mares.

• Vulnerable
– Fewer than 900 adult breeding mares.

• At Risk
– Fewer than 1500 adult breeding mares.

• Study
– Breeds of genetic interest but either lack definition or lack genetic or historic documentation.

• Recovering
– Previously listed breeds that have exceeded the at risk category(fewer than 1500 adult breeding mares), but are still in need of monitoring.

Livestock Conservancy Organizations

Based in the CANADA:

Rare Breeds Canada : Rare Breeds Canada is a federally registered charitable organization formed in 1987 that is dedicated to conserving, evaluating and studying heritage, rare and minor breeds of Canadian farm animals. L: Website, pictures, links.

Based in the USA:

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy : The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy shows a comprehensive list of the current state of horses and their ratings as described at the top of this page. L: Website, some pictures, links.

Based in the UK:

Rare Breed Survival Trust: The Rare Breed Survial Trust works to restore Britain’s native livestock breeds to their rightful place in our countryside. L: Website, breed list, register, links.