By PetMD Editorial on Jan. 3, 2010

The Karacabey is an extinct horse that once thrived within the borders of Turkey. It is said to be the “one true horse breed” of the country, and it was known for its well-developed conformation. It was used primarily as a riding horse due to its strength, personality and temperament. The Karacabey succumbed to extinction after the Turkish government stopped breeding it.


Physical Characteristics


The Karacabey stood at around 15.1 to 16.1 hands high (60-64 inches, 152-162 centimeters). Its conformation showed a lot of its Arab origins. It was, however, more impressive than its ancestors.


Karacabey horses came in common colors like bay, roan, chestnut, gray, and black.  Their body was well-built; they had a straight head set on a curved neck. They had noticeable withers, sloping but muscular shoulders, a round but muscular croup, and solid legs with well-developed joints and well-defined bone structure. Karacabey horses also had a strong, straight back and strong hooves.


The Karacabey was a good jumper; a similar horse breed known as the Karacabey-Nonius is known to jump as high as five feet.


Personality and Temperament


The Karacabey, as is obvious from its remarkable feats, was a strong horse. It had patience, obedience and great stamina.




These horses were once bred and reared in stud farms operated and managed by the Turkish government.


History and Background


The Karacabey horse was developed in Karacabey, a town located in Bursa Province and the home of the biggest stud farm in Turkey. The first horses in the breed were developed by inter-breeding Turkish-Arab horses with native Anadolu horses. The breeding of Karacabey horses began after Turkey was established.


The Karacabey was known to be one of the best breeds in the country. A Karacabey horse was once offered as a gift to the Queen of England, and the horse’s offspring became known as a champion polo horse.


In 1980, the breeding of Karacabey horses was stopped, partly due to the influx of imported horses and partly due to the increased usage of motorized transportation in the country. The Karacabey Stud farm was closed and the Turkish government decided to sell some 3,000 Karacabey horses in a public auction. These Karacabey horses were used by their new owners to improve other horse breeds. Consequently, the Karacabey lost its genetic identity. The incessant inter-breeding of Karacabey horses with other Turkish horses ultimately led to the extinction of the pure Karacabey breed.

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