Friesian Horse Vs. Arabian Horse: Comparative Analysis


Friesian Horse Vs. Arabian Horse: Comparative Analysis

Horses are versatile mammals to ride on, pet, and be used as livestock. There are more than 200 different equine breeds in our world, of which Friesians and Arabians are two of the most loved and popular.

Friesians are warm-blooded horse breeds mostly known for beautiful manes, majestic looks, and shiny black coats. Arabians, on the other hand, are hot-blooded horses and are majorly used in sports. 

Although these horse breeds are famous for their respective characteristics, let’s compare their basic features based on different parameters. 

Friesian Horse Vs. Arabian Horse Comparison

Comparing ParametersFrisiansArabians
Weight1200- 1400 pounds800-1000 pounds
OriginThe NetherlandsMiddle East
Height15 to 17 hands14.1 to 15.1 hands
AppearanceTall, black glossy coat, toned body, thick mane and tail, feathers on lower legsLong arching neck, chiseled head, dished face, short back, wide nostrils, marked withers
Speed25 to 30 mph40 mph
Temperament Calm demeanorSocialable, intelligent and sensitive
Lifespan16 Years (Pure-blood Average)25- 35 Years (Average)
UsageCarrying buggies, dressage, circus shows, entertainment industryRiding, racing
Friesian Horses Vs. Arabian Horses

Friesian Vs. Arabian Size

Image Credit: Friesian Horse with beautiful mane from Hippopx

One of the significant areas that differentiate Friesians and Arabians from each other is their size. So you can differentiate both these horses, based on their sizes, just by looking at them.

At 15 to 17 hands, Friesians stand taller with a majestic look, long neck, and glossy coats. On the other hand, the Arabians are more petite and delicate breeds, standing at 14.1 to 15.1 hands. In addition, they have a more compact body structure, chiseled head, dished face, short back, and wide nostrils.

Along with being taller, Friesians also weigh more than the Arabian horse. Friesians weigh around 1200- 1400 pounds, while the Arabians are small-statured, weighing 800-1000 pounds. 

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Friesian Vs. Arabian Load carrying capacity

Horses are meant to carry goods and people. As per the rule, these animals can carry loads weighing about 20% of their body weight. However, it depends on their physical condition, terrain, etc. 

Opposite of their small stature, the Arabian horses dominate in endurance riding. This is because they have super stamina and can carry 160-200 pounds of load. On the other hand, Friesians have a large body structure and can safely endure 240- 250 pounds, with a saddle weighing 20 pounds. 

Although the Friesian horses have more load carrying capacity, the Arabian horses beat them in terms of physical endurance. Therefore, the Arabians may not be amongst the fastest horse breeds but remain at the top with high weight tolerance levels for long-distance.

Friesian Vs. Arabian Speed

When we think of horses with speed, we think of hot-blooded breeds or thoroughbreds. Both Friesians and Arabians run at a reasonable speed. But which breed is faster? Let’s find out.

Hot-blooded horses belong to the fast-running horse category. So, if we compare the speed of Friesian horses (warm-blooded) with the Arabian horses (hot-blooded), we will find that the former’s speed is 25 to 30 mph, while the latter runs at 40 mph. 

Apart from their high speed, the Arabian horses can endure heavy loads for long hours. This makes them perfect for endurance racing like horse marathons. What’s more, these horses are primarily used for marathons that cover 50- 100 miles. 

Friesian Vs. Arabian Usages

If seen wholesomely, general horse usages include riding, racing, carrying loads, etc. But if we give specific attention, we will see that not every horse is meant for every kind of use. 

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Friesian horses have long and beautiful manes, glossy coats, and majestic stature, making them very common to be seen as dressage horses. Other usages include trail riding, carriage pulling, etc. On the other hand, Arabian horses are known for their speed and are mainly used in racing, polo, etc. 

Other than the above specific usages, both these breeds can be used for riding purposes. These horses are suitable for both experienced riders as well as beginners. That being said, the usage of these horses largely depends on different factors, including their health conditions, size, the terrain they work on, etc. 

Friesian Vs. Arabian Temperament 

Although horses are commonly seen as friendly animals, no two horses have a similar temperament. So, let us find out how Friesians and Arabians differ in their dispositions.

Friesian horses have a calm demeanor. It is often said that Friesians are like labradors- they are friendly and receptive to being handled by humans. Arabian horses are also known for their social behavior but can be sensitive, and they do not put up with poor treatment. 

Arabian horses can also display stubbornness. But this should not discourage you from keeping up with them since they can be an excellent companion if you handle them with care. Furthermore, they display a perfect temperament for competitions without being flighty. 

Friesian or Arabian Appearance 

Image Credit: Arabian Horse by 500px (CC BY-SA 3.0)

It is needless to say that the appearance of a horse helps us differentiate it from another. The same thing can be stated for these two breeds, as they differ hugely from one another. 

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You can spot Friesian horses by their long and flowy mane, feathered lower legs, long neck, and shiny coats. They look majestic. Arabian horses, on the other hand, have a more compact built. They feature flaring nostrils, prominent withers, a short back, wide eyes, and chiseled eyes

As far as coat colors are concerned, Friesians can have black, bay, and chestnut coats. On the other hand, Arabian horses are primarily found in bay, grey, brown, dark, and roan. 

That being said, Friesian horses need high maintenance to maintain the lux look we all expect from them. Therefore, you need to invest some serious time to groom their mane, coat, tail, and feathers. 

Friesian Vs. Arabian Lifespan

It can be pretty challenging to answer the question of how long horses live. However, it is usually taken that most domestic equines’ life spans between 20- 30 years.

The average life expectancy of both (domesticated) Friesians and Arabians is between 25- 30 years. However, purebred Friesians tend to have a shorter life span of 15- 16 years.

That being said, the life expectancy rate of both these breeds can vary according to their health condition, type: wild or domestic, workload, etc. Here, it is essential to note that wild horses have a shorter lifespan of around 15 years (average) owing to their demanding lifestyle. 

Friesian Vs. Arabian: Which is a better horse? 

After comparing some of the basic features of Friesians and Arabians, it is now to explore which horse breed is better. 

The answer to the above question largely depends on the horse owners’ purposes. For example, if you are looking for a horse with high endurance, then Arabians are perfect. But if you want a beautiful horse for dressage, trail riding, pulling carriages, etc., then a Friesian would be a better choice


The above comparative study, therefore, helped us to analyze the different characteristics of Friesians and Arabians. And in the verdict, we can say that both these breeds have some unique features that can be of great use. Therefore, you can choose any of these breeds depending on your needs and purposes. 

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