Top 10 Most Expensive Horse Breeds in the World


Top-10-Most-Expensive-Horse-Breeds

Long before the first cars hit the streets, people were riding horses! As such, horses have been a precious commodity for thousands of years. But what are the most expensive types of horses, and why are they so pricey?

The most expensive horse breeds are the Thoroughbred, Selle Francais, and Dutch Warmblood. These horses can sell for millions, especially when they have a history of racing competition or dressage competition wins. The most expensive horse ever sold was a Thoroughbred name Fusaichi Pegasus.

Whether you’re looking to buy a top-dollar horse or are curious to learn more about the priciest horse breeds in the world, this ranking will fill you in on everything you need to know.

Here Are the Top 10 Most Expensive Horse Breeds:

  1. Thoroughbred – Up to $72 million
  2. Selle Français – Up to $15 million
  3. Dutch Warmblood – Up to $13 million
  4. Arabian – Up to $11 million
  5. Hanoverian – Up to $3.26 million
  6. American Quarter Horse – Up to $2.1 million
  7. American Standardbred – Up to $1.1 million
  8. Trakehner – Up to $314,000
  9. Oldenburg – Up to $232,600
  10. Friesian – Up to $100,000

10. Friesian – Up to $100,000

Friesian-Horse

The Friesian is one of the most well-known horse breeds. Before the advent of modern farming technology and automobiles, these horses were some of the most expensive and beloved in the world.

Unlike racehorses or bulky workhorses, the Friesian exhibited various qualities that lent it to almost any pursuit. This breed is also well known for its appearance and physical abilities, making it a fantastic choice for competitions.

But when technology began to replace horses, the Friesian almost went extinct. Thanks to concerted breeding efforts, the Friesian is slowly growing in numbers. But if you’d like to own one, you can expect to spend about $100,000.

Why It’s Expensive

The Friesian horse (which originates from the Netherlands) is a rare but old breed, making it a valuable commodity for wealthy horse owners and breeders. Those willing to buy and train Friesian horses typically have plenty of money to spend on high-quality equines.

9. Oldenburg – Up to $232,600

Oldenburg-Horse

If you’ve seen a period drama where people rode in horse-drawn carriages instead of cars, you’ve likely seen an Oldenburg horse. These European horses, known for their dark brown, golden brown, and jet-black coats and powerful bodies, were once prized for their strength, obedience, and resilience, qualities which made them ideal carriage horses.

Though most people nowadays aren’t lining up to invest in a carriage horse, a market for such horses still exists. Consequently, an Oldenburg horse is likely to cost far more than the average mixed-breed horse.

An Oldenburg horse called Vivat Rex sold for $232,600 in 2018. Still, the average price for an adult Oldenburg stallion is about $150,000!

Why It’s Expensive

This breed is expensive because it’s one of the oldest European horse breeds and one of the best for riding and carriage-pulling. Though the demand for the Oldenburg has decreased over the last century or so, wealthy investors that ride and keep horses still spend incredible amounts of money to breed Oldenburg horses.

8. Trakehner – Up to $314,000

Trakehner-Horse

Many of the costliest horse breeds hail from Germany, and the Trakehner is no exception. This breed was (and still is) one of the most popular choices for riding, in no small part, thanks to its intelligence and athleticism.

Though the average adult Trakehner stallion lists for up to $30,000, some have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The best example is Kattenau, a Trakehner stallion that sold for $314,000 in 2018. So, if the Trakehner breed is similar to the Oldenburg, why is it more valuable?

Why It’s Expensive

The Trakehner breed’s qualities (both physical and personality) make it one of the best choices for dressage competitions.

Wealthy patrons often attend these competitions, and only the most affluent horse owners can afford to prepare their horses for international dressage competitions. So the Trakehner tends to appeal to buyers willing to spend top-dollar on a prize-winning animal.

7. American Standardbred – Up to $1.1 million

American-Standardbred

When you think about American horse breeds, you might imagine scenes of Old West cowboys and wagon trains. If you do, the horses you’re picturing might look very similar to the American Standardbred, a breed that originated during the 1700s.

These horses are the descendants of English Thoroughbreds and native American horses, making them excellent for riding, racing, and working. The average American Standardbred is comparatively affordable, with many stallions costing as little as $8,000.

But this breed can also fetch high prices. In 2020, a young American Standardbred called Maverick sold for $1.1 million!

Why It’s Expensive

The American Standardbred is one of the more common breeds, especially in North America. But some American Standardbred horses can sell for amazing prices.

The costliest American Standardbred horses are valuable due to their athletic abilities and training. These horses make for excellent competition animals, and because competition wins can garner high cash prizes, they’re a worthwhile investment for those hoping to breed and train competition horses.

6. American Quarter Horse – Up to $2.1 million

American-Quarter-Horses

Though this breed’s name might conjure images of ponies and tiny horses, the American Quarter Horse it’s not a miniature horse by any means. Instead, this lightning-fast horse’s breed name stems from its ability to outrun other horses.

Are you looking to add an American Quarter Horse to your stables? If so, expect to spend up to $100,000!

Of course, if you’re in the market for a horse that’s already won several competitions, you’ll likely spend much more. For example, Moonin The Eagle, an American Quarter Horse with a long history of event wins, sold for $2.1 million in 2018. Sadly, this horse passed away in 2021.

Why It’s Expensive

As you might imagine, this ability makes the American Quarter Horse a natural racing horse. And because international horseracing competitions tend to provide prizes totaling $1 million or more, this breed is particularly valuable to racehorse breeders.

5. Hanoverian – Up to $3.26 million

Hanoverian-Horse

The Hanoverian horse originates from the Hannover region of Germany and is one of the most well-established European breeds. This breed has competed in Olympic and riding competitions, making it a top show horse.

Competition-ready Hanoverian horses can cost as little as $15,000. But some, like SPH Dante, are worth millions.

Why It’s Expensive

Racehorses are some of the most popular competition horses in North America, but riding competition horses can be just as valuable.

While these events aren’t as commonplace in the United States as in Europe, they’re a holdover of Victorian wealth and affluence. Riders looking to show off their skills and high-value horses often spend a pretty penny on Hanoverian stallions.

4. Arabian – Up to $11 million

Arabian-Horse

Though camels are the preferred mode of transport and racing animal throughout the Middle East, the Arabian horse has also enjoyed some success.

This breed’s origins are mysterious, but it may be one of the oldest domesticated horse breeds in the world. This characteristic alone makes the Arabian horse a valuable animal.

While you might be able to snap up an Arabian stallion for only $10,000, some of these horses sell for millions.

One such horse, called Padron, helped make Arabian horses popular throughout Europe and North America. This stallion had a value of $11 million in the 1980s.

Why It’s Expensive

Any horse that can withstand desert heat and unstable, sandy terrains is bound to be a champion competition horse, especially if raced in such conditions. These horses are particularly prized by those who participate in Middle Eastern horseracing competitions, as they can endure conditions that standard European horses cannot.

3. Dutch Warmblood – Up to $13 million

Dutch-Warmblood

The average Dutch Warmblood horse sells for about $20,000, but some (like the infamous $13 million Totilas) sell for millions.

This breed originates from the Netherlands, and it’s one of the most recent breeds. Though you can trace its origins to the 1940s, the Dutch Warmblood didn’t become a true breed until the 1960s.

The Dutch Warmblood is known for traits like intelligence and obedience. These qualities make it an excellent workhorse or recreation horse, and many Dutch Warmblood horses are used for horseriding and carriage-pulling.

Why It’s Expensive

This breed exhibits some of the most in-demand traits and physical qualities that horse breeders look for.

Though the Dutch Warmblood might be a little too large to compete in (and win) racing competitions, its intelligence, laidback nature, and strength make it a fantastic choice for ranchers looking to offer horseriding experiences or lessons.

2. Selle Français – Up to $15 million

Selle-Français

As the name of this breed suggests, the Selle Français is a type of horse breed that originated in France. It’s the most prized French horse breed, which is partially why Selle Français horses typically sell for $50,000.

But a select few have outsold this average. In 2013, a Selle Français stallion called Palloubet D’Halong sold for $15 million.

Why It’s Expensive

True Selle Français horses are only found in France, and their centuries-long lineage makes them some of the most valuable horses. This breed is also notable for its strength and jumping ability, two qualities that make the Selle Français an ideal choice for those hoping to own and breed competition horses.

Of course, buyers outside of France (and Europe) must pay incredible horses to own one of these horses, as transporting a live animal (especially a horse) is an expensive process.

1. Thoroughbred – Up to $72 Million

Thoroughbred-Horse

The most expensive horse breed in the world is the Thoroughbred. Originally bred only in England, this breed is now found in nearly every country, especially those with notable horse racing and dressage competitions.

While the average adult Thoroughbred horse can sell for $200,000, some of these horses sell for much more.

Fusaichi Pegasus, a Thoroughbred stallion, is a fantastic example. This horse won the 2000 Kentucky Derby and sold for $72 million the same year, its ownership split between two buyers.

Why It’s Expensive

Thoroughbred horses can earn their owners millions of dollars via racing or breeding. These horses are some of the most in-demand of any breed and tend to win more racing competitions than any other breed.

Because of this high demand and history of competition wins, buyers are sometimes willing to pay millions for a single Thoroughbred horse.

Why Are Some Horse Breeds So Expensive?

Horses are generally expensive animals, requiring plenty of space and care to remain healthy and fit. For this reason, owning horses is a much greater financial burden than owning cats or dogs.

That said, some horse breeds are far pricier than others.

If you don’t care about your horse’s lineage and genetics, you might only spend a few thousand dollars on a horse. But if you want to own a Thoroughbred capable of winning competitions, you can expect to spend a small fortune!

Some of the most significant factors impacting a horse breed’s value include:

  • Lineage
  • Type and age
  • Purpose
  • Rarity

Lineage

An animal’s lineage can significantly impact its value. This is true of horses just as much as smaller creatures, like the most expensive goldfish!

A purebred horse with an impressive lineage can sell for thousands (or sometimes millions) of dollars, while a mixed-breed horse might cost as little as $500.

That’s because a horse with a distinct background is less likely to suffer from health problems, and it might also grow to be faster and stronger than mixed-lineage horses.

Type and Age

The age and sex of a horse also affect its value. The priciest horses tend to be young adult stallions (males capable of breeding), while the most affordable are foals (juvenile horses) and mares (female horses).

This difference in value stems from the fact that horse breeders can use stallions to produce dozens of future generations of potentially price-winning horses. Thanks to sperm collection and preservation, a single stallion can “father” hundreds if not thousands of horses, all of which will enjoy the benefits of a stellar lineage.

Purpose

Like the most expensive cattle, horses are used for various purposes.

For example, some horses compete in races. Some compete in dressage competitions. Others are used for entertainment, like pulling old-fashioned buggies for carriage rides.

Nearly every modern horse breed is bred to serve one of these purposes, but not all are equally valuable. Generally, horses bred to compete in racing events are the priciest, while standard workhorses are the most affordable.

Rarity

Rare horse breeds can occasionally outsell more common ones, especially when purchased by breeders hoping to maintain and expand the breed. The Shire horse and Akhal-Teke breed are fantastic examples.

There are only about 3,000 Shire horses and less than 7,000 Akhal-Teke horses, making them far less common than other breeds like the Thoroughbred (which boasts a registered population of about 500,000 horses).

Because these horses are uncommon, breeders looking to sell to wealthy horse owners with a passion for rare breeds can charge fantastic prices.

But rare horse breeds aren’t the only type of animal that can sell for top-dollar prices due to their rarity. Several of the most expensive chickens also sell for big bucks due to their rarity!

What’s the Most Expensive Horse Ever Sold?

Though purebred horses can easily cost upwards of $10,000, others can cost millions. But what’s the most expensive horse ever sold?

That honor belongs to Fusaichi Pegasus. This Thoroughbred stallion sold for $72 million in 2000. Though this horse is now retired, no other horse (stallion, mare, or foal) has sold for such a jaw-dropping amount.

Like many other high-value horses, Fusaichi Pegasus was bred and used for racing competitions.

What’s the Most Expensive Horse Breed?

The most expensive horse breed is the Thoroughbred. These horses can cost $300,000 per horse, but a select few sell for millions. The priciest horse in the world, Fusaichi Pegasus, is a Thoroughbred.

The primary reason why this horse breed is so expensive is that it’s typically considered the best racehorse. Unlike working horses, racehorses can sell for incredible prices due to their speed, temperament, and ability to win heft monetary prizes.

Check out these related articles for more information about the world’s most expensive animals!

Eric Lyons

Eric is a subject-matter expert on the world's most expensive luxuries and collectibles. He has explored thousands of luxuries and collectibles over the past few years and now brings them to readers around the world.

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