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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Przewalski's Horse (Przewalski)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Przewalski's Horse (also known as the 'Mongolian Wild Horse' and 'Takhi') is an endangered Asian horse breed, which was named after Nikolaj Przewalski, a Russian explorer who formally recorded the existence of this breed in 1881. It is not a modern horse breed, but rather a completely different horse species which is scientifically called "Equus ferus przewalskii".

Until 2018 it was believed that the Przewalski's Horse was never domesticated, and therefore was the last true wild horse still in existence. However, this was disproved by a 2018 genetic study, which found that the Przewalski's Horse is actually a descendant of ancient domesticated horses called 'Botai horses', and is therefore categorized as a feral horse, rather than a wild one. The Botai horses belonged to the Botai tribes, and lived around 3,500 BC in the area of modern day Kazakhstan. Some of these Botai horses escaped from captivity back to the wild, and over the course of thousands of years they developed into the Przewalski's Horse.

Thousands of years ago, Przewalski's Horses used to roam wild in Europe and Asia. However, as human settlements took over Europe and most of Asia, the Przewalski's Horses had to retreat to the steppes of Mongolia and China. In 1969, it was officially declared that Przewalski's Horses went extinct in the wild. The Przewalski's Horses that roam the Mongolian steppes today are the descendants of Przewalski's Horses that were kept and bred in zoos before being reintroduced to the wild as part of conservation projects.

Since their discovery, Przewalski's Horses were thought to be the ancestors of all modern domesticated horses. This assumption was refuted by a 2011 study which found that, while Przewalski's Horses are closely related to the modern domesticated horses, they are not their ancestors, and comprise a different species.

All Przewalski's Horses have a uniform and unique appearance: their head is relatively large and bulky, their muzzle is flat, their ears are large, their neck is thick, their back is flat, and their legs are short. In addition, they lack a forelock, and their mane is short and erect. Przewalski's Horses always have a mealy, beige to reddish-brown dun coat, and their mane and tail are either brown or black. They stand between 12hh and 14hh.


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