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Iberian horse

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Iberian horse

1743 engraving depicting an Iberian horse

The Iberian horse is a title given to a number of horse breeds native to the Iberian peninsula. At present, no fewer than 18 horse breeds are officially recognized[1][2][3]

Iberian horses are thought to be one of the oldest types of domesticated horses. Modern Iberian breeds tend to be of a Baroque horse type that resemble their most famous member, the Andalusian horse, in conformation.

The Lusitano, Sorraia and Garrano are Portuguese, and the remaining are Spanish. These include the Asturcón, Burguete, Caballo de Monte del País Vasco, Pura Raza Gallega, Pura Raza Española (Andalusian horse), Hispano-Árabe, Hispano-Bretón, Jaca Navarra, Losino, Monchino and Pottoka, as well as the Cavall Mallorquí, Mallorquín and Menorquín (subsets of the Balearic breed[4]).[5] A spinoff from the Sorraia, the Marismeño, has also been identified living in Doñana National Park, but is not on the FAO list.[6][7]

List of commonly accepted Iberian Horse Breeds

Breed Country Of Registry Breeding method[8]!! Number (approx.)[9]!! Comments
Mérens horse France >7.000[1]
Garrano Portugal semiferal >950[1]
Lusitano Portugal, other countries 23,619[10]
Sorraia Portugal feral >100[1] [11]
Pura Raza Española (Andalusian horse) Spain, other countries 199,852
Asturcon Spain semiferal 2,319
Burguete Spain open field 4,814 Heavy work and meat horse. Has some mixture of Breton blood
Basque Mountain Horse Spain semiferal > 600[1] meat horse
Pura Raza Gallega (Galician Pony) Spain semiferal 1,526 Under the term faco or del país there are a number (perhaps over 10.000) of closely related semiferal horses not on the Stud Book
Hispano-Árabe Spain, other countries 7,286 Of mixed Spanish / Arabian horse blood
Hispano-Bretón Spain open field 14,902 Work and meat. Of mixed Breton-native blood
Jaca Navarra Spain semiferal 1,020
Losino Spain semiferal 754
Mallorquín Spain 320
Marismeño Spain semiferal 1,051
Menorquín Spain 3,125
Monchino Spain open field 782
Pirenenc Catalá Spain open field 7,133 Still not on FAO list but recognized in Spain since 2012. The type has partly blood from French heavy breeds
Pottoka Spain, France some semiferal >2.600[1]
Caballo de las retuertas (Retuerta horse Spain feral 60-140 First described in 2005[12] No official status yet

Procedures have been started to include the Serrano horse.[13] It's a very scarce (less than 40 individuals) mountain big pony variety


  1. ^ a b c d e f 'FAO breed list', accessed March 15, 2012, cites 3 Portuguese and 20 spanish breeds
  2. ^ 'R.D. 2129/2008', accessed March 13, 2012, which is the official Spanish list. Only fomento and en peligro de extinción sections, which are the iberian breeds, list 15 breeds. The remaining breeds are of well-known foreign blood, or like the deporte español are recent developments
  3. ^ Both lists are divergent, partly because the Spanish list is more recent-last changed February 2012- and partly because FAO list as different entities two Mallorquin horses -in Spanish and Catalan- as different breeds. The FAO lists also lacks another breed, Troton Español, which is bred solely in Mallorca
  4. ^ Genetic characterization of the Spanish Trotter horse breed using microsatellite markers, Genetics and Molecular Biology, accessed November 5, 2009.
  5. ^ Lopez, María S. et al.. "Mitochondrial DNA Insight On The Evolutionary History Of The Iberian Horses." Poroceedings of the XIV Plant and Animal Genome Conference, 2006. Web page accessed June 17, 2007 at
  6. ^ Royo, L.J., I. Álvarez, A. Beja-Pereira, A. Molina, I. Fernández, J. Jordana, E. Gómez, J. P. Gutiérrez, and F. Goyache (2005). "The Origins of Iberian Horses Assessed via Mitochondrial DNA". Journal of Heredity 96 (6): 663–669. PMID 16251517. doi:10.1093/jhered/esi116. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  7. ^ (A. Rodero et al, 2008) needs full cite
  8. ^ Following classifications apply for the Breeding:
    • feral, at least on discovery
    • semi-feral. Roams free in an area and are only collected and managed once a year
    • Open Field: Grown in the field, with minimal management
  9. ^ For Spanish breeds, unless otherwise noted, we took the most actual data in 'the Spanish Official Breed Catalog on-line' (in spanish), accessed March 15, 2012. Data thus are from 2010 or 2011. Those gotten from FAO are data from 2001
  10. ^ 'Fundaçao Alter Real', in Portuguese, accessed May 16, 2012
  11. ^ Oelke, Hardy. "The Sorraia Horse, General Information". Sorraia Folheto Informativo. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  12. ^ The Retuertas horse; the "missing link" in the iberoamerican horse breed origin?, Vega-Plà et al 2005, available at
  13. ^ 'Proceedings of the Regional Parliament of Madrid' (in Spanish)

External links

  • The Origins of Iberian Horses Assessed via Mitochondrial DNA
  • International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association
  • Andalusian Horse Link
  • Lusitano Horse Link
  • Report on DNA of Spanish horses
  • Info on Jaca Navarra (Spanish) (Google translation)
  • OSU Losino page
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