Breed Report: Azteca

The Azteca is a new breed, and Mexico’s national horse.

The Azteca is an altogether new breed.  Its development started in 1972 and it was officially recognized in 1982.  This fulfilled a dream for Mexico: to have its own national horse breed.  The Azteca is said to combine the best equine bloodlines of the Old and the New Worlds, and is suitable for many equestrian uses.

ORIGIN: Mexico

ENVIRONMENT: Desert and semidesert

USES: Riding, sports, and ranch work

HEIGHT: 14.2 to 16 hh (58-64 in)

COLORS: Black, brown, chestnut, dun, gray, bay, palomino and roan


The Azteca was the result of the Mexican gauchos’ need for a horse with agility, speed, and, most importantly, “cow sense” to work their big cattle ranches.  It was a careful crossing of Andalucian, Quarter Horse, and Criollo bloodlines that produced the horse that rapidly earned the title ” the National Horse of Mexico”.  The balance of these three bloodlines is strictly controlled within the breed.  An Azteca may have between three-and five-eighth Andalucian or Quarter Horse blood, but no more than a quarter Criollo blood.


Azteca enthusiasts always aim to produce the best of the Andalucian and Quarter Horse qualities in the breed:  The ideal Azteca should possess the elevated and powerful movement of the Andalucian, in combination with the agility and “cow sense” of the Quarter Horse.  Another characteristic is a kind, cooperative and well trainable temperament.



The Azteca has a broad and slightly concave head, with large expressive eyes.  The neck is gracefully arched, the mane and tail are luxuriant.  The back is short and strong while the hindquarters are big and powerful.

Debby Sly: Encyclopedia of Horses.  Bath, UK 2008, p. 189

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