The 8 Fastest Horses in the World | Who Leads the Race?

July 09, 2020

The 8 Fastest Horses in the World | Who Leads the Race?

Aside from their strength and beauty, there is a trait that sticks out in some horses: speed. With over 300 horse breeds, it can be hard to choose the best one for competitions. Depending on the sport and breed, a horse may be appropriate for various types of competition. Each of the horse breeds mentioned below is the fastest horse breed in its sport. So what's the fastest horse in the world? As you'll learn below, it all depends on the activity and breeding.

Akhal Teke


The Akhal-Teke horse breed is especially unique thanks to its distinctive metallic coat. This color comes from the lack of opaque centers in their hair shafts, which refract light and cause a glow. Cream-colored horses may appear golden, while silver horses have more of a silvery glow.

The Akhal-Teke breed is the fastest horse breed and exhibits extraordinary ability in long-distance competitions. Their endurance allows them to keep going through any race. Dressage and show jumping events are also activities where these horses excel at.

American Miniature Horse

American Miniature Horse

This refined version of a Miniature horse can outrun any breed of the same size. By the time these horses are a year old, they are about 90% of their full-grown adult size. Despite this, they can beat the fastest horse breeds, even Thoroughbreds or Quarter Horses.

This breed is not typically for competitions. Most people breed American Miniature horses, so they can pull heavy loads and work for long hours.

Andalusian Horses


Andalusians, also known as Pure Spanish horses, perform with an extraordinary range of motion. They can make complicated maneuvers, unlike any other horse because of this unique strength. 

However, their movement is not their only benefit. This breed has terrific athleticism, stamina, and speed. These qualities give them significant advantages in sports like dressage, long-distance races, and show jumping.

Some of the other defining characteristics of Andalusians are their long neck, straight profile, and colossal chest.

Appaloosa Horse


The Appaloosa breed is more than just looks and a flashy coat - it is the fastest horse breed for running.

This breed originated from the Nez Perce tribe in North America, where they typically were useful for hunting.

This breed has every characteristic you would need in the perfect racehorse: endurance, strength, speed, and more. Another unique trait of an Appaloosa is its size. They are somewhat compact, which makes them an excellent choice for children. Appaloosas perform well as long-distance trail horses, but they also compete in various English and Western sports.

However, Appaloosas were not always in high supply. Before the Great Depression, the breed nearly became extinct. During wartime, colonials caught and slaughtered these horses in attempts to make the Nez Perce tribe give up their land. The breed's revival came about thanks to the people who took a particular interest in this exceptional breed, and it still lives to this day.



When competing in harness racing, the Standardbred horse can beat every other breed. These horses originated from New England, bred from a mixture of different pacing and trotting breeds. Its lineage comes from the Morgan, Canadian Pacer, Thoroughbred, and others that are now extinct.

A Standardbred horse has a build very similar to the Thoroughbred. Its hindquarters and buff shoulders give the horse a lot of power and speed. One of the best traits about this breed is their friendliness, making them one of the best horses for beginner riders.

Standardbreds are also good all-around competitors. They can compete in sports like barrel racing, show jumping, and more. These astounding feats are possible because of the breed's willingness to learn.

Arabian Horse


The fastest horse breed that can go the distance in record time is the Arabian. They are one of the oldest known horse breeds, known for superior endurance levels than any other horse. They can conserve energy uniquely well, which makes long-distance running easier for them. This breed used to survive in desert conditions, which may be why they have an insanely high level of endurance.

Arabians are well-tempered, friendly, and extremely intelligent. Some people believe their friendliness is due to sharing living conditions with their human owners. When first bred, they had to share food, water, and tents due to scarcity.

The trustworthiness of Arabians has made it useful in breeding many other horse breeds. In fact, almost every other horse breed has Arabian somewhere in their pedigrees.

While the Arabian breed may be smaller than other horses, they still have superb stamina and agility. They are appropriate for even war generals.

American Quarter Horse

American Quarter Horse

The American Quarter Horse breed has many unique characteristics: adaptability, amazing sprinting capabilities, and versatility. For horse owners looking for lots of power in short distances, this is the fastest horse breed for the job.

This breed can run speeds of up to 55 miles per hour over a quarter-mile distance. Even breeds like the Thoroughbred cannot compare to the sprinting speed of the American Quarter Horse.

The incredible sprinting speed and versatility of the American Quarter Horse are due to the blood of English horses from Virginia. These English horses bred with horses with Spanish origins produced the American Quarter Horse.

American Quarter Horses typically have a compact but muscular body. They can adapt to all sorts of different people and situations. Ranch work and Western events are most suitable for these kinds of horses. However, Quarter Horses also can perform in basic showjumping and other competitions like dressage.



With a top speed of 70.76 kilometers per hour, Thoroughbreds is the fastest horse breed in the world. This breed holds the Guinness World Record for this achievement. At the time of writing, no other horse has been able to overtake this record. Centuries of selective breeding have perfected Thoroughbreds to dominate the industry of horse racing.

Thoroughbreds are "hot-blooded." In the equestrian world, this means they are full of energy, extremely competitive, and have a fiery personality. Thanks to their tall but slim body, they are exceptionally agile, quick, and powerful. Those abilities, coupled with their beauty, make them especially fun and exciting to watch.

The Thoroughbred horse came into being when the English combined the bloodlines of the absolute fastest Arabian, Barb, and Turkoman horses. Every single Thoroughbred can trace its origins back to these three leading horses: the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Barb. These three horses founded the breed.

At just about every speed event, the Thoroughbred breed excels. All of their other characteristics make them up to be one of the most powerful breeds in the world. They are best suited for events like barrel racing, show jumping, or three-day event performances.

Different Horses for Different Sports

There are hundreds of horse breeds to compare around the world. These eight top horses were the only ones fast enough to make the list. Different breeds do well with various types of events, which is why owners should carefully choose their horse based on the kind competition in which they want to participate.

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