Difference Between Zebra and Horse

Zebra vs Horse

Both horse and zebra differ in several ways, but interestingly they are of the same family and the genus. The distribution is one common difference as zebras are exclusive to Africa but horses do not range in only one place of the Earth. Apart from the distribution and some common differences, this article discusses other important biological differences between horse and zebra.


There are two extant subspecies of wild horse, Equus ferus, and E. f. caballus is the domesticated and most common. The other subspecies is E. f. przewalskii (Przewalski’s Horse or Mongolian Horse), the only true wild horse surviving today. Stallion is the referred name for an adult male, while it is mare for an adult female. According to the earliest archaeological evidence, it was once a wild animal and became domesticated 4,000 years ago. That evidence depicts the long relationship between man and horse. Horses are easy to train for riding, driving and working purposes. Mainly, horse breeds are of three based on the temperaments; hot bloods for speed and endurance, cold bloods for slow and heavy working, and warm bloods (a cross of other two breeds). The size and weight of a horse differ with the breed and the feed, but usually an adult is little more than 1.5 metres tall and weighs 400 – 550 kilograms. One interesting feature of horses is that the tail hairs originate from the base of the tail and the presence of a prominent mane. The muzzle of a horse is not necessarily black, but can be pink and brown as well. After a stallion mates with a mare, the pregnancy lasts for 335 – 340 days. The usual lifespan of a healthy horse is between 25 and 30 years, but the recorded longest-lived horse was 62 years old in captivity.


Because of the famed stripes of a zebra, they would never be confused from another animal. However, their stripes are responsible for confusing the predators through illusion and camouflage. This fascinating species is a hard to train animal, and as a result, domestication has not taken place. There are three extant species of zebra, Mountain zebra (Equus zebra), Plains zebra (Equus quagga), and Grevyi’s zebra (Equus grevyi). However, the size has not changed drastically within species, and the average height and weight lie around 1.3 metres and 350 kilograms respectively. These African savannah animals are unique among themselves as the striping pattern changes among individuals. Their tail hairs originate from the distal end of the tail and the mane is not prominent. The muzzle is always black in colour. However, upon a successful mating between a stallion and a mare the pregnancy takes place and lasts for about 360 – 390 days. A healthy animal lives up to 25 – 30 years in the wild with abundant predators, whereas they live up to late thirties with veterinary care and attended staff in captivity.

Difference Between Zebra and Horse

Although they both belong to the same family and genes, the differences are interesting.

- The external appearance is drastically different in terms of colouration and striping.

- Horse is larger, has prominent mane, and tail hairs originate from the base of the tail.

- Zebra is smaller to a horse, mane is less prominent, and tail hairs originate at the distal half of the tail.

- Additionally, the colour of muzzle is always black in zebras, while it is can be either pink, or brown, or black in horses.

- Horses can run faster than Zebras.

- Moreover, horses are easy to train and well domesticated, whereas zebras are hard to train and less domesticated.