Karabair is a majestic and now rare horse breed.

Derived from ancient stock, the Karabair has been around for centuries, used first by the nomadic people of Central Asia and then by the Russian Cossacks.

Though they are not often seen today, those who have had the privilege of owning a Karabair swear by their equine friends’ intelligence, good-naturedness, and courage.

If you are lucky enough to come across a Karabair horse – or even better, own one – there is much you need to know in order to take care of this wonderful animal.

So, here is everything you need to know about Karabairs!

Karabair Horse Breed Info

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

Height (size) 14.2 – 15.0 hands high
Colors Black, bay, chestnut, gray
Country of Origin Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
Common Uses Riding, driving, in the game of Kokpar, meat and milk production

Karabair Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The Karabair horse, also known as the Karabairskaya, is one of the oldest breeds that originated in Central Asia.

The territory that is now Uzbekistan and northern Tajikistan is where they were first developed.

The Karabair are said to have descended from a cross between an Arabian and a Mongol horse, with further influence coming from the desert horse breeds of neighboring countries like the Turkomene, as well as additional infusions of Arab blood.

Chinese records show that this region has been producing high-quality military horses since before the 1st century.

In fact, these horses were so sought-after that it has been documented that other nations have employed a variety of tactics, both peaceful and violent, in efforts to acquire these horses.

In particular, the Arabs were successful in seizing some of those horses between 900 and 1000 AD.

They then bred them to their local horses resulting in creation of new breeds like the Dawan and the Parthian.

There are still a large number of nomads living in Uzbekistan today; these people are the ones who, throughout the course of history, have been the primary breeders of Karabair.

Karabair horses still play an important role in everyday life of the people of Uzbekistan, since they are used for a variety of activities including riding, driving, and the game on horseback called Kokpar.

Kokpar/Buzkashi is a rough game where the goal is to get hold of a dead goat carcass.

There aren’t many rules and many people get hurt, and the Karabair, known for its bravery and speed, is almost exclusively used to play.

Today, we recognize three distinct types: basic, heavy and saddle.

However, because of a lack of demand for the heavy type in recent years, its numbers have decreased significantly, and the other two types have more or less merged into one.

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

Alternative Names



Lively temperament

Physical Characteristics

The head is small with a straight profile.

The neck is set high, of good length, and muscular.

The chest is broad and shallow.

The back is short.

The shoulder and hindquarters are sloped.

The legs are fine, but strong, and the hooves are very hard.

Mane and tail are sparse.

They often seem more developed in the front than the back.

They are comparable to Arabians in terms of their intrinsic toughness and endurance, as well as their speed and agility, however, their bodies are less elegant.


Black, bay, chestnut, gray

Height (size)

14.2 – 15.0 hands high







Blood Type


Common Uses

Riding, driving, in the game of Kokpar, meat and milk production


Because of inadequate nutrition, the knee joints may be undeveloped, and the back legs may be cow-hocked

Popular Traits

They are used in the game of Kokpar



Country of Origin

Uzbekistan, Tajikistan


Mongolian horse, Arabian, Turkoman