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Earliest improved breed of horse, valued for its speed, stamina, beauty, intelligence, and gentleness. Its long history has been obscured by legend, but it was developed in Arabia by the 7th century AD. It has contributed its qualities to most modern breeds of light horses. It is compact and relatively small, with a small head, protruding eyes, wide nostrils, marked withers, and a short back. Its average height is about 15 hands (60 in. [152 cm]), its average weight 800–1,000 lbs (360–450 kg). Though many colours are possible, gray is the most common.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Arabian horse, visit Britannica.com.