Discussion on Arabian Heads

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middle horse. ick
5.00 avg. rating (91% score) - 1 vote

I want to do something a little different today.  A while back I (apparently – I totally forgot. Who knew? Thank Gawd for notes!) made a note (see? Notes.  They’ll keep ya on track!) to look into overly dishy faces on Arabians.  I forgot about it for a while and then when looking through my notes for topic ideas, I found it again.  My thinking is that an Arabian with an excessively dished face could experience problems breathing.  As in, the face is so dished, it negatively impacts the space of the nasal cavity – therefore, during exertion, the Arabian is less able to take in sufficient oxygen.

Photo from http://www.scuderiagroane.com/

In my google travels, it was also suggested that an overly dished face may cause a “teacup” muzzle, possibly resulting in a narrow lower jaw and thus malocclusion.  Malocclusion, of course, being when the teeth don’t line up properly.  Most of the time this can be corrected with proper dental work by a trained professional.

Unfortunately I have yet to find any sort of article to back either of these theories up; however, I do believe it would still make a relevant discussion.  Hopefully we have some Arab people here who will weigh in!

Is selectively breeding for an extremely dished face detrimental to the breed as a whole?, and the horses individually?  What are your experiences and opinions?

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62 comments

  1. Posted by Erin Rodriguez, at Reply

    Considering what we have done to create ‘breeds’ of dogs and horses on the whole, with some of the deformities, as in pugs, miniature horses etc. that results in animals not able to walk or breathe, I would say that it’s only a matter of time before some nimrods breed an arabian with such a severely (ugly) dished face as to impair its optimal health. I am an arabian lover and the dished face is pretty to an extent. But the arab in the center of your featured picture is bordering on severe/ugly.

    • Posted by Minis&Drafts, at Reply

      I have to agree with you. I have two miniature horses and i’ve seen some very screwed up little minis because people are obssessed with breeding the smallest horse possible, and now some mini breeders are beginning to breed for those fugly arab dished heads that are featured here today! My two girls were lucky in that they look like your average horse instead of a mini monstrosity. I dont get how anyone can find those heads pretty, they look like aliens! I have no problem with a slight dish, one of my mares has a slight dish and she looks like your average arabian, her head is formed exactly like the arabian that is half out of camera on the above picture. she is a little beauty. But these dishes are bordering on deformities!

      • Posted by Barrelsaddle, at Reply

        I agree! In mini’s the “Arabian” look promts folks to breed for the bulging forehead that the dwarves have. THAT IS NOT A DISH! It’s a deformaty in the genetics and stupid people are BREEDING FOR IT!!!! UGH! I’ve seen some very pretty Araby dished faces on minis, so there is no reason to breed for the bulge.

  2. Posted by Jennifer R, at Reply

    Personally, I think the excessively dished heads like the one in the center are just ugly anyway. I fail to understand why anyone would breed for that.

    And seriously. How are you going to find a bridle or halter to fit THAT? I actually prefer the one with almost no dish, camera right. But then, I generally prefer Arabian crosses to the purebreds anyway, so I may be a little biased there.

  3. Posted by jlvjthela, at Reply

    I am an arab lover. I have owned a few pure breds and a few crosses. I love their mentality and energy. Ok now thats done…

    I HATE the extreme dishy heads some breeders are coming out with. My mare is a pure bred. However she is more older bred with a less dishy face, legs with good bone (dont get my started on these chicken leg arabs), and a slightly larger rear.

    I guess the real question is look at the heads that are on the endurance arabs. Most of them are less dished than the show arabs. I DO think it would affect the breathing, which is one of the pluses for an arab! For example my friend and I took our mares running on the beach. They were breathing hard when we were done, but it took less than 5 minutes for their breathing to return to normal. They are bred to have TERRIFIC wind, and these type of breeders, I feel, are breeding the wind right out of them.

    Again this is my opinion :)

    • Posted by Lori Minkus, at Reply

      JV- I am also a HUGE fan of the older type of Arabs. The ones with very slightly dished (or not) faces but Big nostrils and a squarish nose. Beefy solid extreeeeeemly good bone, a short well coupled back and a deep trapazoid hip. I went away from arabs becuase what I really liked and what was, to me anyway, almost the ideal Athlete was replaced by Arabs that looked like BAD Saddlebreds. And they bred the brains out.
      I was so sad and disallusioned with what was Winning and being bred I went to Sport horses and then to Warm Bloods. I would love to find an Old School bred Arab . ( I mean in the late 60’s Early 70’s old school )

      • Posted by jlvjthela, at Reply

        Ive had more than one “old” type. I have had people ask if she is a quarter cross due to her substance. Nope..just older bred. She still has a dished face, but it looks refined not ugly. These new arabs with swan necks, ugly dished faces and chicken legs that are 16+ hands drive me nuts. My mare is 14.2 768lbs and has a huge stride on her with rock hard feet. Thankfully shes only 7 so I wont have to replace her anytime soon. Im afraid I wont be able to find one like her.

        • Posted by Lauren, at Reply

          I completely agree with you guys! I love the old-type Arabs with slightly dished faces. They used to be such strong, smart, hardy animals while still looking pretty. I cringe every time I see one of those new-fangled Arabians. The Egyptian ones are the worst. I’m worried about where the breed is going. It seems like people only breed for looks these days.

  4. Posted by Janalina, at Reply

    Apparently (halter) breeders want an Arab to look like a charicature of a horse instead of an actual horse. I hate those overly dishy faces regardless of whether or not the conformation effects breathing ability. I have a gorgeous full Arab with a beautiful head that doesn’t look like someone whacked him in the face with a two by four. Anecdotally, I have never seen an Arab with one of those dishy faces that wasn’t just a little wacko.

  5. Posted by johanna, at Reply

    The one in the middle is just… well, deformed looking.

  6. Posted by SFTS, at Reply

    Look up the Russian bred mare Namusca. Her extreme dish was a condition (called by some a birth defect, though I don’t think that’s accurate) created in her dam’s uterus. Not all breeders are seeking the extreme heads that nearly look deformed. Also seek out Pete McNeil’s breeding program, and the Gay Rose line horses (Dreamazon+++, for example). Phenomenally beautiful heads without the deformed look.

    • Posted by wandering, at Reply

      I’ve read that Namusca’s profile was the result of her foreleg being wrapped over her nose while in utero. Don’t know if it is true, but that seems to be the general consensus online. I’ve also read that she does have breathing issues, though I know they continued to breed her…I personally think she looks simply freakish.

      • Posted by desilover, at Reply

        I knew a mare that had a hoof that grew in strange manner and her owner said it was from her twins leg being pressed there while it was forming in utero. Not sure if it was true but they used her as a broodmare for several years before retiring her because of her bloodlines and I believe many of her foals were quite successful.

      • Posted by Kim, at Reply

        on an arab board I was on ages ago was a gal that had one of Namusca’s get. She NEVER passed that head on and her get are all very athletic horses.

    • Posted by Ann Thomas, at Reply

      I met Dreamazon many, many years ago. He was little (maybe 14 or 14.1 hands), friendly, and absolutely drop-dead gorgeous … and also competed successfully in Western Pleasure. But that was another time (mid 1970s) and another kind of Arabian world.

  7. Posted by Lunatteo, at Reply

    The traditional breeders of Arabians, the Bedouins as well as other middle east tribes, did not desire a dished face. It was the illusion of one created by prominently placed large eyes and wide nostrils. The actual dish of the face or small muzzle would have been seen as a conformational flaw because of exactly what you listed. They needed their horses to be able to take in as much air as possible to be excellent in endurance. A dishy face or tiny muzzle was not conducive to that.

    It’s competition in a non-functional sport, like halter, that causes this. Most Arabs now have some dish to their face, but the ones really valuable to their former breeders do not have it, but have the illusion of it. My one gelding had the slightest dent in his face with rather broad muzzle due to his large nostrils and prominent large eyes. Also Arabians tend to have long lashes too… to woo the ladies- I mean keep the sand out. 😉

    Also same thing goes for ‘tiny ears’ overly tiny ears are not as good at hearing.

    My boy’s profile:
    http://lunatteo.deviantart.com/art/Anwars-Dustin-2-132925331
    http://lunatteo.deviantart.com/art/Anwars-Dustin-3-132925547

    That said, he has some other flaws for his breed, but he’s always had a gorgeous head.

    • Posted by PonyFiend, at Reply

      http://daughtersofthewind.com/

      Go through this blog and look at the pictures of current, ACTUAL, desert-bred Arabians and the past Arabians…

      You will rarely, if ever, see the “seahorse head” that contemporary western breeders breed for.

      I’ll take the desert-bred, asil, horses over the freaks ANY fricking day.

  8. Posted by Grullo Arab, at Reply

    Wow, the face of the Arab in the middle looks deformed. Not a trait I would look for in a horse, says the woman who bought a wall-eyed Arab at auction. But, though he be wall-eyed in one eye, everything about him is classic Arab. Notice I said Classic.

  9. Posted by Small time hay, at Reply

    The too dishy face remindes me of the sea horse’s head. In an arab IMO a slight to no dish is attractive but the extreme dish makes me wonder what an radiogram of his face would show. If there would be space enough for everything thats supposed to be there or if its so crouded you have to worry about sinus problems, teeth problems, gluteral pouch problems, ect.

  10. Posted by anonymous, at Reply

    I have always wondered if Juvenile Epilepsy Syndrome was caused by the freakish looking extreme dished heads, since a horse’s head as a foal is more dishy than as an adult, and the epilepsy is usually grown out of by 12-18 months. Arabs are my preferred breed, as I did endurance, but soundness and saneness need to come first, not what wins in halter.

  11. Posted by Jennifer, at Reply

    Selective breeding often goes too far. Flat-faced dogs are a great example (pugs, bulldogs, etc.). They have terrible respiratory issues, their teeth are not properly aligned, their tongues can’t fit inside their mouths. Breeding to this extreme is cruel in my opinion. When breeding for appearance impacts the animal’s health, you’ve crossed the line.

    Unfortunately, this appears to be what people want. If the extreme dishy faces didn’t win and weren’t in demand than breeders would stop selecting for it.

    Arabians are my favorite. I love both their temperament and appearance. I like a small dishy head, but the one pictured in the middle is definitely excessive. If this trend continues, I could totally envision breathing problems in the breeds future.

    • Posted by CattleDog, at Reply

      Just a side note to your comment. Although I do not own, nor am I particularly fond of any brachycephalic dog breeds, at least the *point* of many of those breeds was functional. It can certainly be argued that breeders today over-exaggerate the qualities, and there are some dogs that were just bred that way for looks (Pugs – the chinese thought the bulging eyes made a “dragon-like” appearance), there was a purpose at some point.
      Bulldogs were exactly that – “Bull Dogs.” They were bred to grip bulls and not let go. Having the nose placed back and at an angle allowed these types of dogs to breathe while holding a bite.

      Now, I’m not supporting brachycephalic dogs, as I hardly support training dogs to fight bulls, but it is important to note there was a functional point to the short-face in some breeds. The same could not be said for the Arabian face being contorted so that it cannot breathe as well.

      • Posted by Lauren, at Reply

        Yes, Bulldogs were bred with flatter noses for their work with bulls. However, the original bulldog did not display the extremely squished face seen in today’s dogs. If you look at older pictures of bulldogs, or of the breed Olde English Bulldogge, you can see what bulldogs really used to look like. The squished face and the breathing problems are something people have bred for recently. The problem with today’s society is that people breed for looks and not function.

  12. Posted by Cattypex, at Reply

    That poor thi g in the middle looks like it has wry nose!!

    I prefer old school myself. Fadjur, etc. We forget that form ever follows function, and have created craptastic “living works of art” instead of athletes.

  13. Posted by Designer Chick, at Reply

    I love Fadjur!

    • Posted by Deb, at Reply

      me too

  14. Posted by Michaela, at Reply

    If you look at the older photos of Arabians, they don’t have the dished heads. I think small dishes are attractive, but not the like the horse in the middle. Also, the big time endurance horses have dishes so it can’t be that bad. If you go to allbreedpedigree.com, you can see photos of a lot of the horses in their pedigrees, some going way back.

    Here is Khemosabi: http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/index.php?h=khemosabi&g=9&query_type=photos&search_bar=photos&inbred=Standard&x2=n&username=&password=&x=0&y=0
    Bask: http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/index.php?search_bar=photos&query_type=photos&h=BASK&g=5&pedloggedin=0
    Bey Shah: http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/index.php?search_bar=photos&query_type=check&h=bey+shah&g=5

    Of course, those are top sires. A lot of the domestic bred Arabians are not as “typey.” I actually just bought an arab colt and he has excellent substance yet is still refined. His dam is an accomplished endurance horse.

  15. Posted by Michaela, at Reply

    This is a very interesting discussion if anyone is interested: http://forums.arabianbreeders.net/topic/42370-what-do-you-consider-exotic-faced/

    • Posted by Michaela, at Reply

      My favorite comment: “When it looks like a seahorse, or a foal that never grew up.”

    • Posted by Minis&Drafts, at Reply

      Some folks on there actually say they LIKE Numasca’s head! OMG!!!!!!!

      • Posted by Michaela, at Reply

        I can’t believe anyone bred her. Her foals apparently don’t have her head, which is good, but people that have met her say she struggles to breathe even at rest. Why would anyone want her to suffer through carrying the weight of a foal?

        • Posted by Minis&Drafts, at Reply

          Money of course! Its the same reason TWH are being sored, arabians keep getting shanked in the show ring to make them seem wild, why people that show drafts keep their feet way to long and why many miniature horse breeders keep breeding for the smallest animal possible! It makes me sick.

  16. Posted by bassgirl, at Reply

    This sort of reminds me of the same discussion over halter Quarter Horses with huge muscles and tiny hooves vs Quarter Horses built to do actual work. Erin Rodriguez (above) said it well that people breed extremes that become deformities. Ugh.

  17. Posted by Kenna, at Reply

    I’ve been around Arabs for a long time, and personally, I hate those extremely dished faces. Thankfully, they are mainly found only on halter horses, which rarely end up as good performance horses.

    I know there is an article about horse heads in Equus, #399, by Dr. Deb Bennet, as well as an entire article about true Arabian heads in #400. Unfortunately, I can’t them anywhere on the internet. I thought they were good articles.

  18. Posted by Horseychick87, at Reply

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while now, but finally decided to comment. I read an article in Arabian Horse World magazine (The summer 2008 special edition) about this sort of thing.It didn’t stick to just the head though ,it took a look at the whole body of the modern Arabian horse versus the older types.The older types in the photos and paintings they showed were small, and stocky with higher set necks many of which appear ewe necked and little to no dish to the faces. They then showed modern halter bred types and the difference was amazing, tiny joints, slender legs, narrow bodies, and high set ‘giraffe’ necks. Not to mention the faces some of them had. Then there is the height issue. Arabians are supposed to be small, people breed for height nowadays without a second thought to what it might or might not do to a breed. I love Arabians, but unless I could find one of the older types I won’t be buying one for myself.

  19. Posted by coffeegod, at Reply

    I own a Clydesdale cross complete with Roman nose therefore am completely unable to find much appealing in a seahorse-headed equine.

    I also feel those long, skinny necks are best left to giraffes.

  20. Posted by Nats, at Reply

    Personally, I think this horse http://www.howrsehelper.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Arabian-Grey.jpg looks a lot nicer than the horses Snarky posted, even though it isn’t real. Arabians were my first favorite horse breed, because of that dishy head, but to that extreme of dishedness, it is creepy to look at.

  21. Posted by Carli, at Reply

    The prominant forhead on an arabian is called the Jibbah. It actually allows them to take in more oxygen than horses with “flat” heads. An arabian’s nostrils actually have more of a flaring ability than other breeds. I have a mare that has a “teacup” muzzle and when she is breathing heavily, her nostrils flare and allow more air flow than my draft headed TB. I am not a fan of the OVERLY exaggerated dished heads in arabs at all.

    Below are some snippets on the Jibbah.

    Q: What part of an Arabian is referred to as the jibbah?
    A: The bulge in the forehead.

    Q: (T/F) The Jibbah is a not a desirable trait in Arabians.
    A: FALSE!!!! A large jibbah is very desirable in Arabians.

    Jibbah: Arabic word for the bulge in the forehead often seen in Arabian horses. At one time it was thought that such a bulge indicated a larger brain, but instead it indicates larger sinuses.

    The Arabian’s head has always been considered a thing of beauty and the Arabian’s face really sets it apart from other horse breeds.
    The majority of Arabian horses display a distinctive concave or “dished” profile. Also, many Arabians have a forehead bulge between their eyes, known as the Jibbah. The Islamic people believed the Arabian horse was a gift from Allah and that the forehead bulge held his blessings. From a physical standpoint, the forehead bulge gives the Arabian extra sinus capacity, a plus for endurance.

    Another characteristic that helps with breathing and endurance is the arched neck with a large, well-set windpipe set on a refined, clean throat latch. This high-arched neck often signified courage to the ancient Bedouins and Islamics. The cheek bones are spread wide apart at the throat, typically between five or six inches. This enables the muzzle to be drawn in without compressing the Arabian horse’s windpipe, and permitting the animal to breathe easily when running. As you can see from some of the characteristics that an Arabian has in its head and neck, this horse is built for long rides and running.

  22. Posted by Frost, at Reply

    I own a roman nosed Clyde cross as well but I grew up with Arabians and used to own a lovely Desperado V daughter with a beautiful head. She also had a beautiful mind and was extremely sweet tempered and very patient and easy to train. I was raised on Arabs (mostly Egyptian, some Polish) and have always viewed them as the most beautiful of horses… but that horse above is deformed and ruins the beauty of the more typical head.

    As someone said, it’s mostly about the wide dark eyes and broad forehead giving a more delicate illusion to the rest of the muzzle and face, but I like a soft dish, just not an extreme one like that.

  23. Posted by MichelleL, at Reply

    I just came across an Arabian Yearbook from 1964. There is not a single solitary horse that looks like that poor mare any where in that book. Every one of those horses look like they could work all day long if they had to.

    Once again humans have screwed things up by “improving” them.

  24. Posted by Reisa Stone, at Reply

    I’m sure you’re right about the breathing problems, just as we see in brachycephalic (snub muzzled) dogs and cats. Pretty ironic, for an Arab to suffer in hot temperatures.

    The one in the middle looks like a cross between a Boxer and an Arab. Some genius will start a bogus “registry” for the Boxabian, sometime soon. Look for the ones that are homozygous for something or another.

  25. Posted by Deb, at Reply

    Two words, ugly and deformed.

  26. Posted by desilover, at Reply

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XvcqYtrzZI&feature=relmfu

    There are some ugly heads in this video but many are evidently considered show worthy. Sad

  27. Posted by Jen, at Reply

    As five of our motley crew are Arabs, I’ll throw in my two cents worth. Not too sure about the breathing and/or Malocclusion issues, but I can definitely comment on a different byproduct of that [much desired by morons] teacup muzzle. Our Bella is what’s usually referred to as “very typey” in that she has a very refined head and a tiny muzzle. Interestingly, she’s slightly funny looking most of the time but when she stands in certain ways or throws her head up high (like a show horse would) she is stunningly pretty. She is also our resident rocket scientist /comedian (and has been known to deliberately make me laugh to stay out of trouble).

    This has been a number of years ago, so I’m a little fuzzy on the specifics but here goes…. I walked outside to feed one evening and found Bella at the hay pile with her body braced, head down, jaws locked, and saliva dripping from her mouth (scared the heck out of me). Terrified she had lockjaw (or something worse), I called the vet out for an emergency visit. He gave her a shot of something (painkiller, I believe – Ace maybe) and examined her. He couldn’t find anything specific wrong, she was able to eat and seemed to be fine so he left. We had several more problems (though not as severe) after that, but the vet never could find anything in particular that was wrong.

    After googling until my eyeballs almost bled, I finally figured it out: Bella had “retained caps”. Because her mouth is so small her permanent teeth, instead of coming up properly, pushed downward instead of coming up. Along the bottom of her jawline was a series of tiny scallops; those were her adult teeth. They were visible, but you had to look very closely and know what you were looking for which is why the vet missed it.

    We found a wonderful Equine Orthodontist (and boy, after his visit I was a staunch supporter!) who came out and took care of Bella. I called our vet and explained what the problem turned out to be; he had never heard of Retained Caps before (not many Arabs here in the Redneck Riviera don’tcha know 😉 One thing I will say about our girl; she has amazing control over that tiny teacup of a muzzle and uses it like an appendage (it falls somewhere between totally bizarre and supercool).

    You are welcome to borrow my silly “teacup photo” if you want to add it to the post; Bella’s nose is in my smallest mixing bowl. There are several other photos of her on there too:
    http://epicfarms.blogspot.com/2011/07/mighty-muzzle.html
    …or…
    If you need a good laugh, go look at Bella’s “mad face” near the bottom of this post:
    http://epicfarms.blogspot.com/2011/12/sick-as-dog-well-make-that-frog.html and no, her jaw is not undershot she is – quite literally – pouting (she was mad at Taya).

    I will never understand people’s need to take an inherent trait (like the dish) and turn it from an asset into a liability; particularly when it’s for a stupid 99c ribbon.
    *bangs head on desk*
    Nope, never.

    • Posted by snarkyrider, at Reply

      Totally “stealing” those pics!! 😀 Thanks!! Bella is too cute!

      • Posted by Jen, at Reply

        Bella is (as they say in the South) “A mess”, and has definitely left a huge hoofprint on my heart. One of epic proportions. *grin*
        Thanks right back atcha Snarky for the PR – do I need to add a disclaimer that I did NOT breed her? Like soring, I knew nothing about Arabian pinheaded breeding practices until after the fact. Another (other, other, other) lesson learned the hard way…

    • Posted by Monica Morais, at Reply

      OMG!!! I think I’m in love!

  28. Posted by Spots, at Reply

    I’ve had Arabians for nearly 50 years. I love a good head on an Arabian – wide forehead, big eyes, small tippy ears, big thin nostrils, small muzzle, and most certainly a dished face. That said, I don’t want to own an extreme freak, as the center horse, but I love the one on the left. The dish is okay on the center horse, but the overly short and turned up muzzle is what makes it ugly. I can not understand what anyone sees in a “average” straight head on a horse. Many look like a shoe box set on the end of a neck and people think that is pretty. Guess pretty is in the eye of the beholder. For me, I have little use for a horse without a dished face and that undeniable look of the Arabian. Since nearly all top endurance horses are Arabians, it would stand to reason that they have no trouble breathing. Many top show Shetland, Welsh, and minis have the same look of a “good” Arabian head. Of course, the extreme freaks are rarely desirable or winning in the show ring – although I have seen more than my share of extreme post legged, over muscled, crippled up moving QHs being named grand champion that I don’t think the show ring is the be all and end all of horse breeding success any more.

    • Posted by Lunatteo, at Reply

      Many top endurance horses also lack the typical Arabian ‘look’ too.

  29. Posted by gran, at Reply

    It seems that people can’t just accept what makes a definitive of it’s breed & attempt to accentuate the very thing that they love most,in the Arabian the dished face has become in some cases hideous. It’s not so long ago when in the UK our Welsh mountain ponies were deliberately bred to make their heads more like an Arab. This ended up with many ponies being being too light boned & described as ” frog eyed ” as their eyes had become so protuberant as to seriously appear to put their eyeball in danger of scratches from the scrub & mountain plants. This does seem to be getting less now but it did make them look odd & nowadays they certainly don’t look as if they could carry a grown man all day which is what the breed was originally for & they would carry up to 12 stone.

  30. Posted by Monica Morais, at Reply

    YIKES!! That pic gives me creeps! *shudders*

  31. Posted by PonyFiend, at Reply

    I just realized what a lot of those seahorse-headed Arabs look like….

    They have the same exact features as a Jersey cow.

  32. Posted by Quill, at Reply

    I personally think dished faces, no matter how minor or extreme, are fugly. They ruin otherwise lovely horses. I like Roman noses the best or straight profiles, depending on the breed. I also hate Palomino coloring. I saw an image of an Arab cross stallion that had all of the exact physical qualities of a purebred Arab, but was palomino. Everyone was drooling over him but I’m sitting there like “Holy cow, geld that thing.”

  33. Posted by Firemare, at Reply

    I own an arab with a delicate but not overly dishy face. She is “show” bred with a fancy pedigree that landed her a brood mare job she hated before she came to me. She’s much happier as my pleasure horse doing trails and low level dressage work. With her mind dish she doesn’t seem to be impaired. She easily rides for hours and her vitals drop to resting quickly after rides even when she’s out of shape. I have a breeder friend with a very extreme stallion who I would NEVER breed to even if I wanted to breed my mare because I don’t know how that thing breathes.

    I also work as an equine photographer and I can ALMOST guarantee that photo up top is photoshoped with view to conformation. Unfortunately it is very common in photographer that specialize in photographing arabians. It doesn’t take a ton of messing to make them look much more extreme. If I’m wrong I apologize to the photographer, but it looks like it to me.

  34. Posted by kimzi, at Reply

    WOO hooo hang on someone is getting confused here – the dish is the cheek – the forehead bulge is called a jibbah!! Yes if an animal still has an enormous jibbah when mature i would say it was a deformity. Most foals have a pronounced one which gradually flattens as the animal grows and matures. I guess we are lucky here in the UK as it is still ridiculed to have this level of extremity. The head as with the body should be balanced. I also dislike the crazy flat toplines some which head upwards at the tail head, i like my horses to look like horses and yes they have won at national level without hugeley exaggerated features.

  35. Posted by Viva, at Reply

    I haven’t visited the site in a while; never posted but now I see a chance to jump in on discussions.
    My mother and I are Egyptian Arabian breeders and what I can offer you is that yes, it will limit the horse’s breathing abilities. Many breeders now simply don’t get it and look for an extremely “type-y” head or a “dolphin head”. I’m sure you all know Arabians were bred to be war horses; if they can’t breathe properly because of an overly dished face, the Bedouins simply would’ve culled them from the herd. They would not survive in that heat. Like many breeds, the (Egyptian) Arabian has been altered to a state so far beyond what they should be sometimes you can’t even tell what breed they are or, in like this topic of discussion, they are bred to only exemplify one feature of the breed without any consideration for health.

  36. Posted by Arabians For The Win, at Reply

    Just found this one! I don’t think you will find any sort of article to back either theory up – I believe they are just theories created by those who do not like the Arabian characteristics.

    I love the beautiful Arabian head – short, wedge shaped, wide set huge eyes, big nostrils, and yes a concave profile (straight is ok too).

    Me personally, I don’t find roman noses, small eyes, long ears etc attractive but I’m not going to call your horse fugly. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I quite like the horse in the picture but keep in mind the ‘dish’ is enhanced by the angle – you can see a lot of the dish impression is created from the wide forehead. Looking at the horse completely side on I don’t think it would appear as extreme.

    In short – Arabians are renowned as the improver of all breeds and a famous as the top endurance horses in the world. In addition to have dished faces. The concave profile does not impinge on breathing.

    Selectively breeding for ANY attribute at the expense of others is never a good thing in ANY breed. A lot of astute Arabian breeders aim for the complete package – beauty + athletic ability. (A lot of bad breeders don’t…but these guys set a bad example and exist in any breed)

    As for Arabians, I’ve seen a lot of horses with extreme Arabian type and never one with teeth problems or a lack of athletic ability on account of a pretty face.

  37. Posted by ginnya, at Reply

    The horse in the picture has an extremely short muzzle, which is very un-typy of arabians, I doubt many people will be breeding araibans like that.

  38. Posted by Zenyatta, at Reply

    I used to like the extreme heads but not anymore. The longer I look at them the more deformed they look. I guess with age comes maturity.

  39. Posted by Merrnryn, at Reply

    The middle horse here is not a ‘typical’ overly dished Arabian, she has a birth defect, and it is not genetic at all but a mishap in the womb. Her foals, pictured with her, are normal, not overly dishy, and beautiful horses. The middle horse in question cannot and should not be used in this argument as it is a birth defect.