Skip to main content - The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids



Here, you find an overview of popular pony breeds, their characteristics and traits.

The Shetland pony is the most popular breed of pony. But the German riding pony, the Connemara, the Haflinger, the Welsh and Dartmoor are also extremely popular with pony fans. The most well-known pony breeds also include the Australian pony, the Hackney pony, the Highland pony and the Lewitzer. Sweet as sugar, but not suitable for riding: the Falabella and the American Miniature Horse.

Shetland pony Photo: Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock

Character and Temperament

Ponies are usually very intelligent and friendly horses. Admittedly, they can also be a bit stubborn and play pranks. But that's exactly what makes her so lovable. Small horses, big heart!


Suitable for Kids and Adults

Ponies are ideal for kids because they are small. But this does not mean that they are weak. Ponies can be rather strong, even stronger than horses (see Shetland pony). Haflinger ponies can even carry a light adult person. Ponies are also excellent coach horses. Mostly, this is their „second job“ when they have become too small for the kids to ride on them.

Shetland pony Photo: Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock

Anatomy and Appearance


Ponies are little horses with a maximum height of 14.5 hands (58.2 inch; 148 cm). All horses over 14.5 hands are large horses.

What Is the Stock Size?

The stock size is the height of a horse, measured from the ground up to the withers. The withers mark the transition between the neck and the back. It is called hands high, because hands are actually used to measure the height of the animal. Of course you can also use a measuring tape.

Body and Coat

Ponies mostly have a significantly thicker mane and a thicker tail than horses. Their legs are shorter, their neck stronger and the head broader. They are very robust, persistent and rather undemanding. Other than warmbloods they require much less concentrated feed. Ponies mostly are very bright and friendly animals. Yet, they can also be stubborn and play tricks on you. But this makes them even more lovable.


The Smallest Pony

There are two miniature pony breeds: The Falabella and the American miniature horse derive from the Shetland pony, which has been crossbred with other breeds. The smallest living pony is an American miniature horse called Thumbelina. According to the Guinness Book of World Records (2006) it measures just about 4.3 hands (17.5 inches or 44.5 cm) at the withers. This is significantly smaller than a Golden Retriever for example. Incredible!

Fun Facts

People who are not familiar with horses often do not know whether they are confronted with a pony or a foal. Both animals are fairly small. And this is where the word “pony” comes from. The old French word „poulenet“ (today „pouliner“) means „foal“.

The Most Important Pony Breeds Are:


See all topics on