A horse breed known for its speed and endurance, the Standardbred was developed in the United States during the 19th century and is most often used in harness racing.

They are known for their gentle dispositions and smooth gaits. 

If you’re looking for a new equine partner, a Standardbred may be the perfect choice for you. 

Read on to learn more about these beautiful animals!

Standardbred Breed Info

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

Height (size) 15.0 – 16.0 hands high
Colors Most commonly bay, brown, black, chestnut, but grays are also seen. White markings are not allowed.
Country of Origin United States of America
Common Uses Harness racing, showing, general riding

Standardbred Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The English Thoroughbred Messenger (1780–1808), who was brought to the United States in 1788, is considered the founding sire of this breed.

His offspring of good trotting ability were crossed with other breeds, particularly the Morgan, to create fast trotters and pacers.

Messenger’s great-grandson, Hambletonian 10 (1849 – 1876), was a notable Standardbred stud whose descendants dominate the breed today.

The term “Standardbred” first emerged early in the development of the breed.

At that time, horses were only eligible for registration in the official studbook (Wallace’s American Trotting Register, which was first published in 1871) if they were able to meet certain performance standards, such as trotting a mile in under two and a half minutes.

The formal history of the breed begins with the founding of the National Association of Trotting Horse Breeders in 1871, which was replaced by the American Trotting Register Association, which is now known as the U.S. Trotting Association.

The early trotting races in the US were generally held on saddle horses in open fields.

It wasn’t until the mid-18th century that the horses started competing in harness on official racing tracks.

There are two different gaits that standardbred horses may race in: the trot, in which the legs move in pairs diagonally, and the pace, which is a two-beat lateral gait.

A single-point mutation in the DMRT3 gene is associated with the trotting and pacing movements of the Standardbreds.

Standardbred horses are often used for improving other types of harness racing horses, such as French Trotters and Orlov Trotters.

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

Alternative Names



Good disposition

Physical Characteristics

Standardbreds closely resemble Thoroughbreds in appearance and stamina and endurance, although they are often smaller, with longer and lower bodies, flatter ribs, and heavier bones.

The head is proportioned to the rest of the body, and the profile is often convex.

The forehead is broad, the nostrils large, and the muzzle is small.

The neck is usually slightly arched, and muscular.

The withers are well-defined and extend well beyond the top of the long, strong, sloping shoulder.

The chest is deep.

The back is short, and the croup is long and high.

The legs are strong and very correct, and the stride is long and fluid.

The hooves are large and tough.


Most commonly bay, brown, black, chestnut, but grays are also seen.

White markings are not allowed.

Height (size)

15.0 – 16.0 hands high






900 – 1,000 lbs (400 – 450 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Harness racing, showing, general riding


Standardbreds in racing or training may develop a range of upper airway issues

Popular Traits

Excellent trotting ability



Country of Origin

United States of America


Thoroughbred, Morgan, Narragansett Pacer, Canadian Pacer, Thoroughbred, Norfolk Trotter, Hackney