The Furry Critter Network

Shagya Arabian Breed Description

Back to Equine Breed Menu


Breed Organization

North American Shagya Arabian Society NASS

Native Country

Other Names

Adult Height
15 - 16h

Adult Weight

General Description

NASS carries out its role by maintaining the Shagya Arabian Registry of North America (SHARONA). The Shagya Registry of North America (SHARONA) is the NASS registry for purebred Shagyas. SHARONA is affiliated with the International Shagya Society (ISG) and is recognized by the ISG as the American registry for both purebred and partbred Shagyas.

Horses appearing in any studbook accepted by the ISG are eligible for registration. Also, those horses which conform to the definition of Shagya as defined by the NASS Breeding Committee Breed Standard are eligible if approved by the Breeding Committee.

Grey is the most common color, although there are also bay, chestnut and black Shagyas. Limbs are well-formed and dry. The registry of the breed is the oldest next to the registry of the English Hunt Club.


The breed takes its name from the dapple-grey stallion Shagya, born in 1810. The Bani Saher tribe of Bedouins, who lived in what is now Syria, bred Shagya and sold him to agents of the Habsburg monarchy. In 1836, he became the breeding stallion at Babolna. Shagya was prepotent and appears in almost all Shagya pedigrees.

One of the purposes of the Shagya breed has always been as improvers of other breeds. Shagya stallions appear in the bloodlines of many warmblood breeds. The Shagya mare "Jordi" is the dam of the great warmblood stallion "Ramzes." "Ramzes" descendant "Rembrandt" won the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal for dressage.

Shagyas not only served as cavalry horses, they were also prized as parade horses by European royalty. The Imperial Guard of the Habsburgs was always mounted on Shagyas. Every royal officer regarded it as a privilege to be able to ride a Shagya. The toughness, courage, endurance and rideability of these horses was legendary among European horsemen. The motto of the Hungarian breeders was "Nothing but the best is good enough."

Shagya breeding in America officially began in 1986. The American foundation stallion was Hungarian Bravo, whose parents *Pilot (born at the Janow-Podlaski Stud in Poland in 1939) and *52 Gazall II (born at the Balbona State Stud in Hungary in 1937) were brought to America in 1947 under the direction of General Patton as prizes of war. Bravo began his purebred Shagya breeding career when he was 24 years old. He produced 3 sons and 11 daughters which are being used in Shagya breeding today. One of his sons is in Venezuela where he is helping to found Shagya breeding in South America.

The Horse was developed in the Austro-Hungarian Empire over 200 years ago. The breed originated from the need for a horse with the endurance, intelligence and character of an Arabian but with larger size and carrying capacity required by the Imperial Hussars. Over time, Shagyas were utilized both as carriage and light riding horses. The Shagya breed was originally developed at the Imperial Stud at Babolna, Hungary. Failed experiments with Spanish and Thoroughbred blood eventually led the breeders at Babolna to a cross of native Hungarian mares with stallions of pure Desert Arabian blood. Shagya bloodlines were also developed at the stud farms at Radautz (Hungary), Topolcianky (Czechoslovakia), Mangalia (Rumania), and Kabijuk (Bulgaria).


The Shagya Arabian exhibits traits similar to the asil or purebred Arabian horse.


This breed is recognized as a riding horse, and is also driven in harness. It was a hardy cavalry horse and is now popular in sport horse disciplines such as dressage, eventing and endurance riding.


Excellent endurance.

Back to Equine Breed Menu

Featured Rescues

"Don't Shop ... Please Adopt"

laptop pro


The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.

The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

laptop pro


If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)

laptop pro

Rescue Me

Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network

Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.