Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Persian Arabian (Persian)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Persian Arabian is an ancient breed of the Arabian horse type, and is closely related to the Arabian horse developed in Saudi Arabia (commonly known as "Arabian.") However, it is regarded as a separate breed in the sense that, in order to remain pure, Persian Arabians cannot be crossed with Arabian horses.

Persian Arabians share the same ancestry of the Arabian horse (see the 'Arabian' for more info.) Persian Arabian horses originated in Persia around 2000 BCE, and were domesticated by local tribes. Similar to the Bedouin who bred Arabian horses in Saudi Arabia, Persian breeders who bred Persian Arabians developed numerous strains and sub-strains of the breed, with each strain having a characteristic look and usage. That said, horses of the same strain could still differ in appearance, because the foal was always assigned to the strain of his mother, regardless of their build.

Over the course of the centuries, one province gained the reputation of breeding the purest ("Asil") Persian Arabians: the Khuzestan province in southwest Iran. Horses from Khuzestan were transferred to other provinces as tokens of honor and friendship. They were never sold, as it was considered dishonorable to sell such prestigious horses, whose value cannot be measured in gold. One notable family who bred pure horses was the Bakhtiari family, and in the 20th century, horses from their breeding program were transferred to the Iranian government, who kept breeding and preserving this pure lineage of horses.

The breeding of Persian Arabians in Iran took a blow in the 1950s, when African horse sickness almost completely wiped out the breed in Iran. Some regions were hit more severely than others, and many sub-strains went extinct. Multiple regions were left with only a handful of horses, and imported Arabian horses to cross with their stock, thus reducing their purity. However, in Khuzestan, which lost many horses as well, there were enough horses left to continue breeding Asil Persian Arabians. Therefore, today, only Persian Arabians which were bred in Khuzestan are considered to be Asil.

In 1999, the World Arabian Horse Organization recognized the Persian Arabian bred in Khuzestan province as a pure lineage of Arabian horses. That said, they shouldn't be confused with the 'Arabian' horse breed which was developed in Saudi Arabia, because the 'Arabian' and 'Persian Arabian' breeds were developed separately.

Persian Arabians are slightly taller and leaner on average than Arabians. In addition, their face is also not as extremely dished as the iconic face of the Arabians. Persian Arabians come in the colors of bay, chestnut, grey, or black, though the latter is extremely rare. They usually stand between 14.3hh and 15.1hh.

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