Yonaguni horse


The Yonaguni horse is a unique and rare breed of horse that originated from the Yonaguni Island located in Japan. This breed of horse is known for its exceptional strength and endurance, making it a popular choice for transportation and farming in the past. Despite the breed’s diminutive size, it has established a reputation for being one of the most reliable and dependable breeds of horse, making it a valuable asset to the people of Yonaguni. In this article, we will be discussing the Yonaguni horse’s history, temperament, height, characteristics, lifespan, colors, and health.

Yonaguni horse History

The Yonaguni horse is believed to have been brought to the Yonaguni Island in the 17th century and is thought to have originated from Mongolian horses. Experts speculate that the breed may have undergone crossing with stallions from Southeast Asia and the Philippines, but no confirmed records exist. The horse was used by the island’s people for farming, carrying loads, and transportation. The horse was also used for fishing, as it was capable of swimming alongside boats and pulling them. In the late 20th century, the breed nearly went extinct, but due to preservation efforts, its numbers have steadily increased.

Yonaguni horse Temperament

The Yonaguni horse is known for its calm and gentle temperament. The breed is docile, friendly, and easy-going, and as a result, it is suitable for both novice and experienced horse owners. They are intelligent and can easily adapt to their environment and their handler’s needs. The breed is sometimes called the “cat horse” due to its nimble movements and playful nature.

Yonaguni horse Height

The Yonaguni horse is one of the smallest breeds of horse, standing at an average of 11.2 hands to 12.2 hands high. The term “hand” refers to four inches, and a horse’s height is measured from the ground to the top of its withers, which is the highest point of the shoulder.

Yonaguni horse Characteristics

The Yonaguni horse has a unique physical appearance that sets it apart from other horse breeds. They have a large head, a short neck, and a muscular build. Their legs are relatively short, but they are strong and well-developed. The breed has small, sturdy hooves that allow them to traverse the rocky terrain found on their island home. Their coat is usually dark brown or black with a thick, coarse texture, and they have a thick mane and tail, which helps to protect them from the harsh weather conditions on the island.

Yonaguni horse Lifespan

As with other horse breeds, the Yonaguni horse’s lifespan depends on various factors, such as their diet, exercise, and quality of care. The average lifespan of the breed is 25 to 30 years, but some horses have been known to live up to 35 years.

Yonaguni horse Colors

The Yonaguni horse’s coat can be either black, dark brown, or occasionally bay, with no white markings or patterns. They have a distinctive look due to their long, shaggy mane, and tail, which seems to blend into their coat texture.

Yonaguni horse Health

Like all horse breeds, the Yonaguni horse can be prone to certain health issues. However, as a breed that has lived in a natural environment for so long, they are generally hardy and can adapt to various climates. They have strong hooves that require minimal shoeing and are not predisposed to any significant genetic health issues. Nevertheless, Yonaguni horses require a proper diet and exercise routine, as well as regular veterinary care.


The Yonaguni horse is a fascinating and unique breed with a rich history and an exceptional temperament. It’s unfortunate that the breed nearly went extinct, but thankfully, conservation efforts have helped to preserve its existence. They are highly valued, and a treasured part of Yonaguni Island’s culture. As one of the most reliable, independent, and sturdy horse breeds, the Yonaguni horse deserves more attention and recognition from the horse community for its exceptional characteristics.