Westernizing Arabian Horses

Examples of Purity Breeding in Relation to Authenticity and Improvement, 1880–2020


  • Margaret E. Derry University of Guelph




Arabian horse, breeding, purity, pedigree, Poland, England, Russia, United States, WAHO


This article reviews Western approaches to the regulation of Arabian horse breeding as it shifted west and globalized, focusing on the period between 1880 and 2020. The move to “preserve” the Arabian horse within a Western framework is central to this history, but different approaches have been adopted over time. I consider examples from nineteenth century Poland, England, and Russia as contexts for understanding how debates about and approaches to producing “purity” unfolded in the Arabian horse industry in the twentieth-century United States and continue today in the global context of Arabian breeding framed by the Word Arabian Horse Organization (WAHO).


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Margaret E. Derry, University of Guelph

Margaret E. Derry is an Adjunct Professor in History at the University of Guelph; Associated Faculty, Campbell Centre for Animal Welfare, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph; and former Associated Scholar, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto. She has published extensively, including six books and many articles on the historical breeding of farm and companion animals. Her most recent book, Made to Order: The Designing of Animals, was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2022. “Purity: Its Role in Livestock Breeding and Eugenics, 1880–1920,” is forthcoming in Agricultural History (spring 2023).

Walter Farley, The Black Stallion




How to Cite

Derry, Margaret. 2023. “Westernizing Arabian Horses: Examples of Purity Breeding in Relation to Authenticity and Improvement, 1880–2020”. Humanimalia 13 (2):85–119. https://doi.org/10.52537/humanimalia.13792.