By PetMD Editorial. Reviewed by Courtnee Morton, DVM on Mar. 30, 2023

The Azerbaijan horse, also known as the Azerbaidzhanskaya, is well-equipped for riding, especially on steep mountain slopes. Considered an ancient breed, it is now quite rare.

Physical Characteristics

The Azerbaijan is shaped a bit like a wedge, but well-proportioned, nonetheless. It has a short but muscular back, strong legs, firm hooves, and thin, short ears. However, its most noticeable characteristic is its wide, well-developed chest. Its expressive eyes are a bit large for its head, which it proudly carries high. In fact, apart from its size—standing at only 12.1–14 hands high (48–56 inches, 120–142 centimeters)—the Azerbaijan looks the part of a war horse.

The Azerbaijan is a swift and agile horse, which enables it to handle mountainous terrain at a fast pace. Riders also love its wide, straight back, its sense of balance, and its natural, easy gait—all which makes the breed less prone to accidents, vital for mountain riders.

The mane of an Azerbaijan is not long and flowing like that of other horses, but rather sparse and short. Its hair, meanwhile, is thin, fine, and gray or bay in color. However, you will see an Azerbaijan in sorrel, buckskin, or black on occasion. The breed's rarest color is palomino.

History and Background

This breed originated from Azerbaijan, a region that was part of the former Soviet Union. Its origins are suspected to be ancient (though there are little records) and its genetics are thought to be influenced by the Karabakh, Arabian, and Persian horse breeds.

The economic and political conditions of ancient Caucasus led residents to develop a saddle-pack horse capable of traveling long distances at a fast pace, of which the Azerbaijan was found to be the most ideal for their needs. It was also greatly admired throughout the region because of its power, balance, and speed, especially during times of war.

Health and Care

The Azerbaijan horse typically has a long life. Familiar as it is with tough living conditions, its stock is hardy and the breed rarely experiences health problems. Females and males of this breed are all very fertile, although the number of Azerbaijan horses remains low due to inter-breed crossing.

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