Is the Akhal-Teke a good horse breed to purchase?

Is the Akhal-Teke a good horse breed to purchase?

The Akhal-Teke, one of the earliest domesticated horse breeds, was bred for endurance and speed. Some equestrians find the breed too scrawny and narrow, with conformation unlike the more common muscular, deep-chested riding horse breeds. Some see it as a piece of art, with a beautiful look and stride. Whatever your opinion, the Akhal-Teke is among the rarest, most exotic full-size horse breeds around the world.

Breed Overview

Weight:  900 to 1,000 pounds

Height:  14 hands (56 inches) to 16 hands (64 inches)

Body Type:  Fine-boned, flat-muscled physique; long, thin head and neck; hooded or almond-shaped eyes; unique metallic coat

Best For:  Owners and riders with equine experience

Life Expectancy:  20 years

Akhal-Teke History and Origins

The Akhal-Teke is an old breed with thousands of years of history. It possibly descended from some of the same ancestors as the better-known hot-blooded breed, the Arabian.

The breed originated in the Karakum desert of Turkmenistan, where the horses had to tolerate sparse water and food, as well as extremes of heat and cold. The Akhal-Tekes coexisted closely with their nomadic humans, each dependent on the other for existence. The tribesmen bred their horses expressly for athleticism.

After Turkmenistan became a part of the Russian Empire in 1881, the first official breeding farms of Akhal-Tekes were established. The breed was called after the Teke Turkmen tribe, who resided near the Akhal oasis at the time.

The breed struggled during the turmoil that marked the early days of Soviet Russia, and its numbers dwindled. It wasn’t introduced to the US until 1979. Its registration in the United States is the Akhal-Teke Association of America.

Akhal-Teke Size

On average, the Akhal-Teke stands 14 hands (56 inches) to 16 hands (64 inches). It generally weighs between 900 and 1,000 pounds and has a slim build that’s often compared to that of a greyhound.

Akhal-Teke Breeding and Uses

The nomadic tribesmen of Turkmenistan primarily used Akhal-Tekes for transportation. They carefully bred their horses to improve their speed, stamina, and agility, all of which were desirable attributes for raids.

Akhal-Tekes are now utilized in dressage, showjumping, long-distance racing, and pleasure riding. An Akhal-Teke is even considered a status symbol in Russia. The breed’s positive characteristics also echo throughout the horse racing world. More than 200 purebred Akhal-Tekes were shipped to Great Britain during the 17th and 18th centuries for breeding, and their genes have contributed to modern racehorses.

Colors and Markings

Akhal-Tekes have thin skin and very delicate coats. The breed registry accepts all horse colors and markings. Many carry a gene for the cream dilution, which can result in palomino, cremello, and perlino coats. Some horses’ eyes have a light blue color.

Also, the coats of many Akhal-Tekes have a metallic shine to them. This is due to the absence of the opaque middle of the usual horse’s hair shaft. As a result, it reflects light and seems to glow. For most of the horses, especially the cream-colored ones, the sheen is golden. It’s a silvery shimmer for gray horses.

Unique Characteristics of the Akhal-Teke

The Akhal-Teke stands out among horse breeds due to its thin body and glittering gloss. But, the horse is also admired for its graceful, flowing movement. Also, the Akhal-disposition Teke’s is noteworthy. Loyalty is an important characteristic, and many owners describe them as very dedicated “one-person” horses. They are also incredibly bright and perceptive. Many dogs can deduce what their owners want them to do from a single gesture or mild order.

Diet and Nutrition

The Akhal-Teke developed to eat sparsely as a desert horse with little grass available. Nevertheless, protein has traditionally been the secret to its endurance. Today, the horses may receive a similarly balanced diet with quality grass, hay, and some grain.

Common Health and Behavior Problems

The Akhal-Teke has a limited genetic diversity. This makes the breed susceptible to several genetic health issues, including:

  • Cervical vertebral malformation: This condition is also known as wobbler syndrome. With this condition, neurological deficits cause a horse to have a stiff, uncoordinated gait. Medical intervention may assist with symptom management.
  • Cryptorchidism: This is the absence of one or both testes in the scrotum, making neutering more difficult and sometimes causing other health and behavioral problems. The horse continues to generate testosterone, which might cause it to be temperamental.
  • Naked foal syndrome: As a result, foals are born bald. They also have tooth and jaw abnormalities, as well as the tendency to develop other problems with digestion, pain, and more.


Regular equestrian grooming is usually sufficient for the Akhal-Teke. Brush and comb your horse at least once or twice a week to remove dirt, debris, and tangles. Bathe it on a frequent basis, particularly to bring up its metallic shine. Also, inspect and clean its hooves daily to look for injuries and prevent infections.


  • Athletic

  • Loyal

  • Intuitive and intelligent


  • Often a “one-person” horse

  • Can be excitable and hard to handle

  • Prone to genetic health issues

Champion and Celebrity Akhal-Teke Horses

The Akhal-Teke is a national symbol of Turkmenistan and appears on the country’s coat of arms and currency. It may also be seen on stamps and on various monuments.

One of the most famous Akhal-Tekes in recent memory was a stallion named Absent who won the gold medal in individual dressage at the 1960 Olympics. He went on to win two more Olympic medals before the conclusion of his career. Absence sired numerous great dressage and jumping horses.

Is the Akhal-Teke Horse Right for You?

This is a remarkably tough breed, having adapted to the rough conditions of its homeland. It thrives in almost every climate. The Akhal-Teke is constantly on guard, yet it might be a little too lively and restless for certain riders and owners, particularly novices. Many Akhal-Tekes dislike being ridden by strangers and may create a relationship with just one individual. They often need a soft, skilled touch in teaching since harsh punishments might make them defensive.

If you do form a link with one of these horses, you will have a lifelong companion. Many owners say their Akhal-Tekes seem to be able to read their minds, and they only need a small gesture or whisper to direct the horses. Moreover, some Akhal-Tekes have been known to protect their owners like guard dogs, even biting strangers.

How to Adopt or Buy an Akhal-Teke

Purebred Akhal-Tekes are uncommon and may be difficult to locate depending on your area. There are less than 10,000 Akhal-Tekes worldwide, with the bulk living in Turkmenistan and Russia. Yet, they are still available abroad, notably in North America.

These horses cost around $10,000 on average, though that price can rise considerably based on age, health, training, and pedigree. Akhal-Tekes with a pronounced metallic shine to their coats are frequently more expensive. While contemplating one of these horses, try to spend some time with it before making a decision. Inquire with the breeder or rescue organization about the horse’s history, health, and training. And make sure it has a disposition you can handle.

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Related Questions

  • Are Akhal-Teke good horses?

    They are well-known for being very intelligent horses that respond well to delicate training. The Akhal-Teke is a worldwide uncommon breed, with a population of fewer than 7,000 individuals. Akhal-Teke horses excel in a variety of disciplines, including endurance, dressage, and jumping.

  • Are Akhal-Teke horses good for beginners?

    Akhal Teke horses are not good for beginners, they are spirited and very intelligent. The breed is best suited to intermediate and advanced riders.

  • What is the average price of an Akhal-Teke horse?

    There are less than 10,000 Akhal-Tekes worldwide, with the bulk living in Turkmenistan and Russia. But they’re still possible to find elsewhere, including North America. These horses typically cost roughly $10,000, however the price may vary greatly depending on age, health, training, and lineage.

  • What is the number 1 horse breed?

    American quarter horse

    The American quarter horse, America’s most popular horse breed, is popular with both English and Western riders. Because of their balanced temperament, quarter horses are excellent starter horses. Some people, on the other hand, have a lot of energy.

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