Back to World Map > Back to Russian Breeds Home
This breed originates from Bashkiria, a south western province of Russia in
the foothills of the Ural Mountains. The Ufimsk stud - No. 119 near Ufa,
Bashkiria's main city, is the largest purebred Bashkir stud in the province.
The horses are kept in large breeding herds where they forage for their
food, even in Russia's bitterly cold winter. It is capable of living in the
open, withstanding ferocious blizzards and temperatures down to -40° F.
digging deep into the snow, sometimes a metre thick, to find food. Their
long winter coats are not only dense, but the hair layers are fatty,
preventing water from penetrating through to the skin and insulating them
from the cold. It is probably due to this fatty coat that horse allergy
sufferers seem to be unaffected by this breed, as any skin particles remain
bound to the coat, producing less air borne dust.
The Bashkir horse is bred for meat and milk production, and as an all
purpose pack and general workhorse and also as a source of leather. All the
horses are branded with a number for identification including the herds of
The mares are renowned for their milk production and during lactation a
single mare will produce over 330 gallons of milk. Kumis is a fermented
liquor made from the milk, drunk by the local herdsmen and bottled to be
The Bashkir is one of the hardiest breeds in the world, having changed
little over a thousand years, retaining much of the wild horse
characteristics in conformation, as a good herder and as a forager. It works
well in harness and under saddle, the feet being so hard it never needs to
The Bashkir is small and stocky, with a thick mane, tail and coat. It stands
between 13.2 hh to 15.2 hh, The head is relatively large with a straight or
convex profile, the eyes are slightly slanted; the neck is short and fleshy;
the body is deep with a broad chest and straight back; the hinquarters are
strong with a slightly sloping croup and low set tail; the limbs are
comparatively short but strong with substantial bone; the feet are
exceptionally hard. The colours are predominantly, dun, brown and bay though
chestnut, palomino, black and grey are also quite common. Dun horses have a
dorsal stripe along the back, dark ear tips, and tiger stripes around the
legs. Markings known as "wild markings" may also occur on the shoulder.
The breeds steady, calm temperament, make it a loyal worker though it has a
mind of its own and may occasionally be stubborn. It is a comfortable and
responsive riding horse, surefooted, and capable of negotiating all types of
terraine. This was particularly evident during their participation in war,
including the Napoleonic wars and World War I when the Bashkir Cavalry was
always able to get through, no matter what the terrain. During the hardships
of battle the endurance and hardiness of the Bashkir horse was also a huge
Today the Bashkir horse is relatively obscure outside Russia, but there are
elsewhere a few devoted followers of the breed. In Scandinavia they are
growing in popularity as a riding horse and apart from Russia, Sweden has
one of the largest population of them, at approximately 300 horses. In
Norway there are less than 10. In 2004 Mette Berg of Gausdal, Norway
imported, three Bashkir mares and a stallion. Importing these horses from
Russia is expensive and difficult and at present there are no further plans
to import anymore.
In 1998 The Swedish registry for Bashkir horses was established and in 2002
it offered its first Breeding Trophy for mares.
There is no relation between the Bashkir Horse of Russia and the American
Bashkir Curly. They are completely different breeds and with the exception
of their unique coats, bear little resemblance to each other.