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Horse Breeds
First Posted: Aug 9, 2009
Sep 25, 2010

Neapolitan Horse Now Extinct

Neapolitan Horse

17th century engraving depicting a grey Neapolitan horse.

3-D Flags
Country of Origin: Naples, Italy

Physical Description

The head was straight to convex in structure, but dry-featured. The body was deep and broad but short-backed, with wide round hindquarters and a crested, powerful neck set on high.


Between the 15th to 18th centuries, Naples and the surrounding regions were known for their high-quality Neapolitan horses. The best horses were bred by nobles for transportation and cavalry. At the beginning of this time period, the horses were likely small, coarse and heavy, suitable for carrying heavily-armored warriors. However, as elsewhere, the use of firearms brought on the desire for a more attractive, agile horse. This was achieved through selective breeding, but also through the use of horses from the Near and Middle East. The horses from these arid lands were, if not properly Arabian themselves, at least in type would have been very like Arabians, Barbs, and Akhal-Tekes. Neapolitan horses are often mentioned in the history of European horse breeds. Modern horses most similar to the ancient Neapolitan are the Lipizzaner and Kladruber. Neapolitan breeders, it seems, regularly exchanged stock with those in Andalusia, which would have encouraged the Barb influence. As a result, the Neapolitan horse fit the Baroque horse mold.


The Neopolitan horse was used for riding, transportation and cavalry (war).

For More Information:

International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds

Horse Breeds