Curly Horse

Curly Horse originated in the United States, and has a unique curly coat that sets them apart from other breeds.

If you’re looking for a horse that is versatile and easy to care for, a Curly might be the perfect fit for you.

Here are some things you need to know about this breed before making your decision.

Curly Horse Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Curly horse:

Height (size) 14.0 – 16.0 hands high
Colors All colors, including pinto and appaloosa patterns
Country of Origin United States of America (Nevada)
Common Uses Western and English riding disciplines, driving, endurance, gymkhana, trail riding, as a ranch horse

Curly Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

Since at least the early 19th century, and perhaps much earlier, some Native American tribes, such as the Sioux and the Crow, have been documented to have prized curly horses.

In 1898, Peter and John Damele, Nevada ranchers, saw three horses with curly coats among a herd of Mustangs.

The Dameles were able to capture one and successfully break it to ride.

Then, in 1932, a particularly hard winter struck the region, and by the following spring, the only Mustangs left were the curly-coated ones.

The Dameles took note of this, and as a result, they made the decision to increase the number of these horses in their herd.

After another tough winter in 1951/52, the family decided to get serious about breeding Curlies and captured Copper D, a two-year-old chestnut Mustang who would serve as the foundation stallion for their herd.

The Dameles did not place a high value on maintaining a ‘pure’ breed, and thus, in an effort to better their horses, they introduced blood from other breeds.

An Arabian stallion named Nevada Red AHR 18125 and a Morgan stallion by the name Ruby Red King AMHR 26101 sired many foals for the Dameles, and their offspring can be found in the pedigrees of hundreds of modern Curly horses.

The name “Bashkir Curly” was given to the Curly when it first began to get recognition as a breed in the 20th century.

This was due to the widespread belief that the Curly was derived from horses that had been imported to the United States from the Bashkir area of Russia in the 1700s.

A 1990 research, however, established that it is unlikely that the Bashkir Horse, which also has a curly coat, is an ancestor.

Despite this, people have continued to use the name.

The American Bashkir Curly Registry (ABCR) was established in 1971 with only 21 horses.

In May 2005 there were just over 4,000 Bashkir Curlies in the world, primarily in North America.

They are the original Curly Registry, and their stud book is closed; as a result, they only allow new registrations to horses who have two ABCR registered parents.

The International Curly Horse Organization (ICHO) began in 2000.

Bloodlines (when available) are tracked, the ICHO registers horses based on visible curly traits rather than bloodlines.

Curly Sporthorse International (CSI) began in 2003 to promote sport horse type Curly Horses, which are one of the more popular types of Curlies.

Canadian Curly Horse Association (CCHA) formed in 1993.

This group is focused on community events in the Curly world, and spreading knowledge of the Curly horse.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names

“American Curly”

“Bashkir Curly”

“American Bashkir Curly”

“North American Curly”


Intelligent, friendly, very calm, easy to train

Physical Characteristics

Even though they come in all sizes, colors, and body types they all carry a gene for a unique curly coat.

Their winter coat can range from wavy to tight ringlets. In the spring the winter coat sheds out and the summer coat is often straight, or with just a slight wave.

Some even have curled eyelashes.

The mane is very fine and curly, and some individuals also shed out their mane and tail in the spring, regrowing it again the following winter.

The eyes are set wide which is a characteristic of Oriental breeds.

The shoulders and hindquarters are rounded. The legs are straight with flat knees and strong hocks.

The hooves are round and tough. Foals are born with curly coats, and also curls inside their ears and with curly eyelashes.

When crossed with a non-curly-coated horse, there is a 50% chance that the offspring will be born with a curly coat.

Some Curly horses are gaited, and around 10% of them exhibit an intermediate gait that is somewhat similar to the foxtrot of the Missouri Foxtrotter.

Some can also perform a lateral walk and a stepping pace called the Indian Shuffle or Curly Shuffle.

Some purebred Curlies don’t have any curls at all (called “smooth coat” curlies) since the characteristic might be carried heterozygously.

They have a long stride and bold movements.


All colors, including pinto and appaloosa patterns

Height (size)

14.0 – 16.0 hands high






800 – 1,200 lbs (360-545 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Western and English riding disciplines, driving, endurance, gymkhana, trail riding, as a ranch horse


They are hardy and possess great endurance

Popular Traits

The only hypoallergenic horse breed



Country of Origin

United States of America (Nevada)


American Mustang, Morgan, Arabian