American Paint Horse

American Paint Horse - Mare and Foal

© American Paint Horse Association



The American Paint Horse is a breed that combines both the conformational characteristics of a Western stock horse with a pinto spotting pattern of white and dark coat colors.

The evolution of the American Paint Horse can be traced back to the new world expedition of Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortes. According to the Spanish historian Diaz del Castillo, who traveled with the expedition, one of the horses was described as a "pinto" with "white stockings on his forefeet." The other was described as a "dark roan horse" with "white patches." These were the first known recorded descriptions of the forebears of American Paint Horses in the New World

Descendants of these colorful horses soon spread across the Western plains, and attracted the attention of the American Indian and cowboy. While over the years the conformation and athletic ability of those rugged mounts of the Old West have been improved by breeders, the unique and unusual coat patterns and coloring remain the same.


Breed Standards

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© American Paint Horse Association


Average Size: 14.2 to 16 hands
Body Type: Western Stock Horse
Colors: Combination of white with common horse colors
Coat Patterns: Tobiano, overo and tovero
Country of origin: United States of America
Estimated Population Worldwide: Over 1 million


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© American Paint Horse Association


American Paint Horses have a distinctive stock-horse body type including a broad chest and well-muscled hindquarters. Yet Paints display a remarkable degree of refinement and beauty, especially about the head and neck.

Known for their distinctive color, Paint Horses come in a variety of patterns. Their coat is always a combination of white with an array of basic colors common to horses. Their markings often look like splashings of paint over the horse's body but actually fall into three color classifications-tobiano, overo and tovero-requirements in order to be considered a Paint Horse.


The Breed Today

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© American Paint Horse Association


The modern American Paint Horse is a naturally intelligent breed that is amiable and easily trained. The stock-type conformation, intelligence, and willing attitude make the American Paint Horse an excellent horse for pleasure riding, ranch work, showing, rodeo, trail riding, racing, or simply as a friendly mount for the entire family.

To be eligible for registry with the American Paint Horse Association (APHA), a Paint's sire and dam must be registered with the APHA, the American Quarter Horse Association, or the Jockey Club, and at least one of the parents must be a registered American Paint Horse. There are two categories of registration, Regular Registry, for horses with a minimum amount of white hair over unpigmented skin, and Solid Paint-bred, for those without the required amount of white color.

Since the American Paint Horse Association was founded in 1962, it has registered over one million American Paint Horses at a rate of around 30,000 horses per year. The Association currently serves approximately 65,000 active members in 59 nations and territories. APHA works not only to record Paint Horse pedigrees, but also to preserve and promote the history, breeding, training, racing, showing, sales and enjoyment of American Paint Horses.

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© American Paint Horse Association


Additional Information

For additional information contact:

    American Paint Horse Association
    PO Box 961023
    Fort Worth, TX 76161-0023
    (817) 834-APHA (2742)