What Makes An Arabian Horse Special? Several Unique Characteristics

Arabian horses are commonly named in lists that discuss top horse breeds in the world. Not only are they extremely popular, but they’re expensive as well.

For those who are new to horses and their breeds, it might be confusing that Arabian horses are one of the most expensive breeds to obtain. An Arabian horse has multiple unique and powerful characteristics, making it one of the most sought-after breeds in the world.

This article will go over things like the history of Arabian horses, their characteristics compared to other breeds, and what specifically makes them stand out in the vast sea of horse breeds.

The History

Arabian horses have influenced worlds, cultures, and even their very own species throughout time. Despite having such an influence throughout centuries, the exact origin of the breed is still up in the air.

Its unique silhouette has been spotted in Egyptian art that is over 3,500 years old, but it is believed that the specific breed wasn’t intentionally created until 2500 BC.

The accepted origin story is that nomads known as Bedouins selectively bred horses to create a breed that was able to handle the harsh climate of the desert. The resulting horses were the ancestors of today’s Arabian horses.

The nomads lived and traveled in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula. They used camels as a form of reliable transportation and appreciated all that a camel had to offer. However, the camels were slow in both speed and agility.

At the time, fast and unexpected attacks were a staple in Bedouin warfare, so a camel was not the ideal animal to ride into battle. In response, the nomads began to breed horses in an attempt to create a breed that was capable of surviving the desert.

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Over time, the horses began to develop unique traits that were highly useful in the desert. Increased lung capacity, the ability to survive both hot and cold temperatures, and the ability to survive on minimal amounts of food were some of the unique traits that began to become synonymous with the breed.

It was a harsh life in the desert. The boiling days and freezing nights were a nightmare. Add in a lack of food and water and that creates a recipe for death. Nomads did the best they could with caring for the horses, creating intense bonds that would influence the breed’s personality for years to come.

In the desert, only the strongest would survive, so only the strongest horses with the best traits were alive to be bred. That explains why Arabian horses today still possess some of the same traits and can pass them down to their offspring.

The horses were treated like family, which is why Arabian horses in today’s day and age have such a love for humans and crave deep bonds with their owners.

Arabian horses soon developed into ideal war horses that could carry heavy loads for long distances. They were ridden into battle all across the Middle East as their riders fought to expand nations.

Due to its beauty and physical prowess, the Arabian horse was later regarded as one of the most valuable gifts. It became common for the horses to be obtained in two ways. Either it was received as a gift, or it was a great treasure taken in a war.

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How do Arabian Horses Compare to Other Breeds?

Physical Differences

Autonomically speaking, the Arabian horse breed is built a little different from most. Having originated from the desert, Arabian horses have thin skin and strong hooves. The thin skin would help keep the horse cool under the desert sun while the strong hooves made it easier to travel over rocks and sand.

Arabian horses possess slow-twitch fibers in their muscles, meaning that their body can use energy more efficiently and sustain speed over large distances. They also possess a larger lung capacity than most. These traits were ideal for nomads and have continued to please those throughout history.

Compared to most horses, the Arabian horse is smaller and more compact than most. Common facial features include protruding eyes and wide nostrils. A long neck and a short back are also characteristic of the Arabian horse.

The breed is revered for its endurance and athleticism and is commonly used for equestrian competitions. They tend to carry their tail higher than other breeds and have a gait that can be described as soft and floaty. Though Arabian horses tend to be slower than other horse breeds, they make up for it with their amount of stamina and grace.

Personality Differences

They are mostly known for their beauty and stamina, but Arabian horses also have unique personality traits. With a need to please, the horses are commonly curious, kind, and intelligent. Even though they might be stubborn from time to time, it’s easy to develop a strong bond with them.

Once a strong bond is obtained, Arabian horses can be endlessly loyal to their handlers and will become intuitive to their needs and expectations.

Due to their high intelligence, it is very easy to train an Arabian horse. Though they are commonly kind, Arabian horses can sometimes have a hot-headed temper. They make for great riding horses as they are hard to startle and have tons of stamina. These traits make the Arabian horse ideal for equestrian competitions such as endurance racing.

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What is unique about Arabian horses?

Arabian horses have many traits, but what sets them apart from other breeds is the sheer am0unt of stamina that they possess. This breed was created and perfected to endure the harsh conditions in a desert environment.

Due to how harsh the climate was, only the strongest horses were left to be bred, allowing later generations to keep the same traits. Their thin skin, large lung capacity, and strong hooves helped them survive back then. Now, those traits allow these Arabian horses to have unmatched stamina and endurance.

They aren’t known for speed, but they are known for just how far they can go without stopping. It made them a valuable warhorse in the past and makes them a solid competitor in modern equestrian events. 


In conclusion, several traits make Arabian horses stand out above all others. The breed is one of the oldest ones known and has influenced nations throughout history. Their compact body, thin skin, strong legs, and increased lung capacity made them ideal warhorses for nomads and others in the Middle East.

Arabian horses today are celebrated for their beauty and personality traits. Highly intelligent and possessing an affinity for humans, Arabian horses are easy to train and can form intense bonds with their owners.

Though they aren’t as fast as other breeds, Arabian horses have unmatched endurance that makes them perfect for endurance races. When one possesses an Arabian horse, they possess a piece of history that has been passed down for generations. Those are just some of the traits that make an Arabian horse unique.