Shagya Arab Horse Breed – Profile, Facts, Photos

For horse lovers, the Shagya Arab horse is the crown jewel. It is one of the younger breeds combining speed with strength and a gracious presence that few others achieve. It’s easy to train and communicate with since the Shagya Arabian is a fast learner and willing to learn and please.

History and Origin

The Shagya Arabian dates back from the 19th century in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Its bloodline is the result of Hungarians mixing the Arabian with native horses that were larger. Their goal was to provide the military with a docile, agile, strong, and resilient horse that the cavalry could rely on.

This makes the Shagya Arabian a military horse whose devotion and top physical characteristics make it an appreciated companion even today. It looks similar to an Arabian horse, except it’s taller, bulkier, and more muscular overall. These pluses make sense since the Hungarian army wanted a strong horse to carry a lot of equipment for long distances.

The Shagya Arabian managed to fill that need better than local horses or even the imported Arabian breed. The breed’s name comes from the famous Shagya, a Bedouin stallion born in 1830, thought to be the embodiment of the perfect horse. Shagya displayed perfect gaits, a strong and elegant body with the ideal proportions, and flawless color.

Most importantly, Shagyia was able to pass on all these qualities to its offspring, many of which are still noticeable in the Shagya Arabian.


The Shagya Arab horse combines characteristics from several breeds, primarily the Arabian stallion and the Hungarian horses. The breed mixing helped the Shagya get the best of both worlds, combining the speed and resilience of one breed with the other’s elegance, power, and friendly temperament.

Here are the core physical characteristics that all Shagya horses share:

– Size and Height

The horse is medium-size, although it will outweigh and outsize related breeds like the Arabian horse. The Shagya horse stands at 60 to 65 inches tall and offers a delicate mix of elegance and power. It has a broader chest frame than the Arabian stallion, with packed muscles and long but sturdy legs.

The horse’s muscular body combines perfectly with the smooth legs and the stand-up tail, specific to the Arabian breed. These characteristics make the horse look athletic, strong, and elegant at the same time.

– Weight

The horse will reach around 1000-1100 lbs. depending on its genetic makeup, gender, food, and physical activity. The Shagya horse won’t generally pack a lot of weight since its genetic code is used to scarcity. It’s also a breed built for speed, resilience, and a more active lifestyle, which is what makes the Shagya horse fit for competitions and equine shows.

– Colors

The Shagya horse will generally come in the same colors as its cousin, the Arabian horse. These include bay, gray, white, and chestnut.

– Speed

The average Shagya horse can easily reach 30 mph. Trained horses with an affinity to speed races will exceed that. By comparison, the purebred Arabian can reach 35 with a record of 40 mph.

– Temperament

The Shagya Arabian is friendly, tempered, agile, and willing to learn. It’s an easy-to-train breed capable of developing a meaningful emotional connection with its human companion. The horse’s loyalty and docility are two primary characteristics that made it a preferred breed for the Hungarian cavalry.

These personality traits make it ideal for both horse breeders and trainers and average Joes alike, looking for a trustworthy companion.

– Lifespan

The Shagya Arabian inherits a lot of the Arabian’s purebred characteristics, including the lifespan. Arabian horses have a longer life expectancy than many other breeds, as the average horse lives around 25 to 35 years.

These numbers will also vary depending on the horse’s care, the quality of food, environmental conditions, and overall lifestyle. The horse’s genetic makeup will also play a factor in determining its lifespan.

Diet and Nutrition

The Shagya horse is by no means picky. Its breed is familiarized with scarcity, which means they will thrive on the regular food, like grass, hay, and grains. A balanced diet is key to ensure the horse’s health over time, prevent overfeeding, and provide the animal with the protein intake it needs.

A horse’s diet will influence its physical performance during the day, which is especially important when talking about a horse bred for competition. If you think your horse needs supplementation, I recommend only relying on the top names in the industry.


This is another area where the Shagya doesn’t come with special needs. The standard equine grooming kit should suffice in keeping your horse in peak condition. Cleaning the hoofs regularly to prevent infections and keeping the mane and tail in peak condition is key to boost your horse’s physical presence.

The Shagya Arabian is a proud horse, adopting the classical Arabian stature with the tail high. Keeping your horse clean and groomed will exacerbate this look, providing your horse with a royal presence.


The Shagya Arabian horse now ranks as a sports horse. This means it is a preferred breed for speed competitions, events, obstacle courses, jumping, and endurance riding. The Shagya is among the most pleasant-to-ride horses with a smooth pace and a pleasant rhythm.


The horse’s prices range between $4,500 and $13,000, but the variation is generally even higher than that. You can probably buy a Shagya Arabian for $2,500, for instance, if you’re thorough enough with your search and are not particularly picky. Specimens with a better pedigree, top physical traits, and in peak physical condition will take you to the higher end of the spectrum.

Fortunately, you can find a horse for all price ranges, making the Shagya Arabian one of the more affordable breeds.

Health Problems

Fortunately, the Shagya Arabian doesn’t have any major health issues. It is generally a healthy and robust horse, only dealing with specific equine health issues coming with age.

I still recommend resorting to regular veterinary checkups and vaccination to prevent any unwanted surprises along the way. This will help you keep your horse as healthy and as energetic as possible over the years.


The true number of Shagya Arabian horses available is unknown, but you will have, at a minimum, over 6,000 worldwide. If you want to purchase one, you can most often find them in Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Germany, Hungary, and Austria.


The Shagya Arabian has a rich history, although it’s one of the lesser-known horse breeds. This horse borrows the elegance of the purebred Arabian and combines it with its unique strength and stamina to create a one-of-a-kind animal.

If you wish to learn about the Shagya Arabian and this article isn’t enough, leave a comment below, and I will reply as soon as I can.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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