Bashkir Curly – The Labradoodles of Horses

When asked to describe a horse’s coat, most people use adjectives like smooth and silky, but in reality not all horses have straight, sleek coats. Some of them are as curly as Mangalica pigs or labradoodles.

Curly Horses, also known as Bashkir Curlies, American Bashkir Curlies, and North American Curly Horses, are a special breed that comes in all sizes, colors and body types, and carries a gene for a unique curly coat of hair that becomes especially impressive in winter. That’s the thing with Curlies, they mainly show off their special coats in the wintertime. During the summer, their coat either shows a slight wave in it, or it sheds completely, so you only get to witness the coat of a Bashkir Curly in the cold season.

The origin of the Bashkir Curly is one of the greatest mysteries of the horse world. They are named after the Russian Bashkir breed, Russian scientists have unanimously agreed that there is no historical evidence of any curly haired horse from the Bashkir. Some experts have suggested that it may be related to the Lokai, a horse breed from Tajikistan, as the two breeds share some characteristics, and one theory claims that the breed is of Iberian origin. The truth is no one knows for sure where the Bashkir Curly originally came from.


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While the history of the original Bashkir Curly is shrouded in mystery, the origins of the American Bashkir Curly are much clearer. Many of the Curlies in the United States can be traced back to the Damele range, in the remote high country of Central Nevada, near Austin, where they were first bred by Peter Damele and his father in 1898.


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According to the Oklahoma State University website. Peter and his father were out riding in the mountains one day when they saw three horses with tight curly ringlets over their entire bodies. They found the animals intriguing, so they took them back to their ranch. Since 1898, there have always been curly-coated horses on the Damele range.


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The gene that gives Bashkir Curlies their curly coats can be expressed in a variety of ways, from discrete signs like curly hair inside ears, and at fetlocks, to clear signs like a curl all over their body, or a dreadlocked mane. Wikipedia also mentions Extreme cases in which the horses very tight, extreme curls.


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The Bashkir Curly is believed to be the only hypoallergenic horse breed in the world, with most people allergic to horses being able to remain in the presence of Curlies without suffering any allergic reactions. Preliminary research shows that the same protein that is missing from the Curlies’ hair may be the same one triggering allergic reactions in people.


Interestingly, Bashkir Curlies come in all common horse colors, from Palomino, to Appaloosa and Pinto. They are of medium size and are known for having a tough constitution and great stamina.