Is a zebra a horse? The answer is a neigh – well, not quite. The black and white stripes of a zebra are instantly recognisable. But are zebras simply horses in a bold new fashion statement?  Zebras and horses are close relatives, but they’re distinct species with their own unique characteristics. So in short no, zebras are not horses!

Both zebras and horses belong to the family Equidae, which also includes donkeys. They share many physical similarities: hooves, manes, tails, and a plant-based diet. However, there are key differences that set them apart.


90% of a zebras diet is GRASS!

Zebra Stripes vs. Solid Colours

The most obvious difference is their coat. Zebras are famous for their distinctive black and white stripes, which vary between species. Horses, on the other hand, come in a wide range of solid colours, from chestnut and bay to black and grey. The exact function of zebra stripes is still debated, but they likely play a role in confusing predators’ vision and deterring biting flies.

zebra stripes


Just like human fingerprints,

zebra stripes are unique!

Wild Zebras vs. Domesticated Horses

Another key difference lies in their temperament. Horses have been domesticated for thousands of years, bred for specific traits like docility and strength. This allows them to be ridden and used for work. Zebras, however, are wild animals with a reputation for being fierce and independent. While some zebra species have been tamed, they haven’t been successfully domesticated on a large scale.

Is a zebra a horse?

Zebras and Horses: Body, Build and Gait

Zebras tend to have a stockier build compared to horses. Their backs are shorter and less well-suited for carrying riders. Additionally, zebras have a different gait, with a more limited range of movement compared to the graceful walk, trot, canter, and gallop of a horse.

Is a zebra a horse? Zebra

Evolutionary History

Horses and zebras diverged from a common ancestor millions of years ago. Horses evolved in North America before migrating to Eurasia, while zebras remained in Africa. Their separate environments likely contributed to the development of distinct physical features and behaviours.

Can Zebras and Horses Breed?

Interestingly, zebras and horses can sometimes interbreed, producing offspring called zebroids. These hybrids, like zorse (zebra + horse) or hebra (horse + zebra), are typically sterile due to differences in chromosome numbers.

Is a zebra a horse? Our conclusion

No. Zebras and horses may be close relatives, but they are not the same species. Their differences in appearance, temperament, and evolutionary history set them apart. Zebras, with their striking stripes and wild spirit, continue to captivate us, while horses remain valued companions and working partners for humans around the world.


Do you want to help zebras?

Many charitable organisations are set up to help zebras thrive.

With the WWF you can even adopt a zebra!

animal club logo

Extra information

Animal-Club provides animal parties or animal handling workshops. You will be able to see, learn and interact with many wonderful animals with the help of our presenters. Our mobile zoo has many friendly animals such as rabbits, tarantulas, geckos, vinegaroons and more, perfect for an animal party. We can also , come over to your school for an animal school visit or arrange for an animal workshop with us where the children can learn about looking after animals and animal behaviour, and have fun too.