The Bashkir horse is thought to have originated in the Bashkir region of Russia, developing spontaneously over time rather than purposefully bred. Bashkirs are known throughout the world as Bashkirsky, Curlies, or Bashkir Curlies.
This breed is most popular for its curly coat, a vast difference from the smooth, sleek coat found on most other types of horse. Though the exact origin of the Bashkir cannot be determined, records of a curly-haired horse date back to the 1800s. It gained attention due to its appearance but also because of its strong worth ethic.
During a time in history when horses were used for both transportation and farm labour, the Bashkir horse became known for its stamina and strength. The Bashkir was able to travel great distances without tiring, carry heavy loads and produce milk products, all of which made this breed of horse invaluable to its owners.
In terms of its appearance, the Bashkir horse generally lacks the height and slenderness of many other horses, standing at approximately 12-14 hands high(122-144cm). It can reach greater sizes, but it is typically smaller than other breeds. This is due to its short legs, thick neck and stout body. Though it may be small in size, it is still of a considerable weight, with an average of 350 to 500 kg.
The Bashkir is a beautiful horse with a uniquely curly coat that comes in a variety of colours, including bay, black, brown, chestnut, gray and white. Bashkirs are not necessarily solid in colour and often feature a combination of these shades. In addition to the wavy texture, the coat of this breed is soft and thick. At one point in history, its coat was used as material to make clothing and blankets.
Though all Bashkirs possess the gene to produce a curly coat, it is important to note that some Bashkirs are born with a straight, smooth coat. The curly coat that is most commonly seen in this breed is also thought to be hypoallergenic and may therefore be an option for riders and equine enthusiasts who have an allergy to horses.
In addition to its striking appearance, the Bashkir is also beloved for its personality. It is typically an even-tempered, smart breed that is more sociable than many other breeds. Though they are no longer primarily used for physical labour, the Bashkir has retained its strong work ethic.
Its versatility and endurance are renowned, though it is not known for its speed. For this reason, the Bashkir does not perform in horse racing. It is otherwise a great performer in horse competitions, specifically in jumping and dressage. Its temperament makes it a joy to ride, whether it is for work, competition or leisure.
Though the Bashkir horse is well-loved in the equestrian world, the breed itself is relatively rare. This curly-coated horse is most popular in Australia, North America and Europe.