What’s the Difference Between a Paint Horse and a Pinto?

Last Updated on February 19, 2022 by Allison Price

The difference between a Paint horse and a pinto horse is that Paint is a breed that is based on bloodlines. Pinto is a pattern of coat colors that can be found on horses of different breeds. The long answer is more complex.Pintos and paints have one thing in common: they both have a flashy coat with patches of white and a solid colour such as bay or black. There are many other differences.

One, a Paint Horse refers to a breed that, according the American Paint Horse Association, “has strict bloodline criteria and a distinct stock-horse type.” Paint Horses cannot have the bloodlines Quarter Horses or Paint Horses in their pedigrees. To be eligible for registration with APHA their sire or dam must have been registered with the APHA (American Quarter Horse Association) or the Jockey Club (“the breed registry for Thoroughbreds”)Get our weekly Enewsletter about horses

What kind of horse is a Pinto?

The term “pinto”, on the other hand, refers to a horse’s colorful coat and is not a name for a specific breed. Pinto horses are those that have one of the many coat patterns. The American Saddlebred and Gypsy Horse are all common pinto horses. Pintos are only found in breeds like the Spotted Saddle Horse or Spotted Draft Horse.

Pinto coat patterns are a traditional characteristic of Paint Horses. Horses from APHA-registered stocks that don’t have pinto coloring may still be registered with APHA as “Solid Paint Bred” horses. These horses were formerly called “Breeding Stock Paints”.

Two main registries exist for pinto horses: The Pinto Horse Association of America (Naples Pinto Horse Registry) and each categorizes pintos based on their breeding and/or conformation. Pinto horses are also accepted by the International Pattern Sporthorse Registry and Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association. Pinto horses are registered by the Pintabian Horse Registry with a majority Arabian breeding.

What’s the Difference Between a Paint Horse and a Pinto?

What are a Tobiano and Overo Paint Horses?

Pintos and Paints can be described by the coat they wear. The most popular patterns are the overo and tobiano. Toveros are horses that exhibit characteristics of both these patterns. There are many other patterns, but that’s a whole different article!

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!