The breed description of the Arabian horse should be available from each country's Arabian horse association. The Swedish Arabian Horse Association's breed description are to be found on their official web site (see link at bottom of page).

Yet, I have chosen to give you a more historical and poetic version than the traditional breed description.

The Arabian is a horse of great beauty, elegance, dignity and athletic, refined power - an equine work of art. Hallmarks of the breed is its exquisite head and its high tail carriage. Without these characteristics the true identity of the Arabian is lost. The Arabian is gentle and curious yet with a spirited disposition and great intelligence.


Said about the Arabian mare:

"A beautiful coquettish who sends flirting glances through its veil when it looks at you from the corner of her eye through her silky forelock."


A description of the characteristics from head to toe:

The Head:

One of the most distinctive features of the Arabian is the head - the hallmark of the breed.

"A most intelligent and yet singularly gentle look, full eye, sharp thorn-like little ear..." Palgrave 1862

"... marked depth of jowl also width between the cheek bones. The ears are fine and beautifully shaped but not very small. The eye is large and mild, the forehead prominent and the muzzle fine, almost pinched..." Blunt 1880

The Neck:

"The head, too, and this is perhaps the most distinguishing feature, is set on at a different angle... the neck of the Arabian is light" Blunt

Back and Body:

"A little saddle-backed, just the curve that indicates springiness without weakness." Palgrave

"The back is shorter than in our thoroughbreds and the barrel rounder." Blunt

Quarters and Tail:

"A tail set on high, rather than thrown out at a perfect arch." Palgrave

"The tail is carried high both walking and galloping and this point is much looked to as a sign of breeding" Blunt.


"Legs fore and hind that seemed as if made of hammered iron." Palgrave

"The hooks are larger, better let down and not so straight." Blunt


"A neat round hoof, just the requisite for hard ground." Palgrave

"The hoofs are round and large and very hard." Blunt


"Their stature was indeed somewhat low, I do not think any were above 15hh., but they were so exquisitely well-shaped that want of greater size seemed hardly, if at all, a defect." Palgrave

A description on how the Arabian has "borrowed" its physical and mental characteristics from other animals:

The Gazelle: The speed and the feather light movements. Soulful expressive eyes. The width of the forehead, strongly narrowing towards the nostrils.

The Dromedary: Endurance. Wide, flat feet (hoofs) strong enough to walk through loose sand.

The Ostrich: Short, strong front legs. Dry neck.

The Wolf: The slim stomach. Long tongue.

The Bull: Great strength. Powerful withers. Wide, curved forehead. Concave, well squared profile. Sharp eye. Round, widely set eyes. Large, open nostrils. Always a high tail carriage.


The Arabian



Swedish Arabian Horse Association (SAHF)