Horse Facts: The American Paint Horse

The American Paint Horse

Let’s talk about American Paint Horses- one of the most popular breeds to own! While some people consider the Paint a "color breed," the American Paint Horse Association considers them a true breed, as paints have a strict bloodline requirement and distinctive breed characteristics.


The Paint Horse has specific characteristics beyond coat color, of course. The breed has been crossbred frequently with American Quarter Horses, so many are heavily muscled horse types. They're typically very muscular, with broad chests, strong hindquarters, and low centers of gravity that give them great balance. They are usually between 14.2 and 15.2 HH, but those with Thoroughbred heritage can be taller. The average weight ranges from 950 to 1,200 pounds, a bit heavier than most breeds.

Many people like the Paint's distinctive coat patterns, which can occur in any combination of white plus another color, such as bay, black, palomino, or chestnut. The patterns and colors vary greatly, and no two are precisely the same. Some Paint Horses are a solid or almost-solid color. All Paint horses display several distinct, named color patterns which include tobianos (dark and white pattern), overo (solid color on the back/darker legs), sabno (mainly a solid color), and tovero (mainly white on the body/dark head & chest). All coat patterns may be interspersed with white hairs (known as roaning). Any regular coat color may combine with white; sometimes, two coat colors plus white occur in the same horse

Beyond their unusual beauty, Paints are prized for their calm, friendly, easy going temperament. These are relaxed, highly social horses, with natural intelligence that makes them easy and rewarding to train.


Paint Horses are known to be strong, fast, and agile. Because of this, they are ridden and driven in almost every English and Western discipline. You’ll find Paint Horses barrel racing, jumping in the stadium and in cross-country events, working cattle, trail riding, combined driving, and much more. This is a very versatile breed, with representatives in almost every sport involving horses. Many individual horses excel at a variety of sports as well; for example, you might find Paint Horses who are successful in both English and Western show rings, or some who excel both on the trail and on the ranch.

Overall, this versatile breed is ideal for anyone who enjoys horses, and is a great “starter” horse for those who are just getting into the lifestyle. Their combination of temperament, beauty, and athletic ability earn them a top spot among horse breeds.

Megan Overfelt