Arabian horse, breed of light horse developed in Mesopotamia and N Africa, and probably the first true domesticated breed. Prized since earliest times for its superior beauty, spirit, speed, grace of movement, stamina, and intelligence, the Arabian has served as parental stock for such light-weight horses as the American saddlebred horse, quarter horse, Standardbred horse, and the Thoroughbred. Intercrossings of these and other light and draft horse breeds with Arabians is still common. The Arabian's most characteristic color is bay with white markings; grays, chestnuts, and browns are also common. It averages 14 to 15 hands (56–60 in./140–150 cm) high and weighs about 1,000 lb (450 kg).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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