Can Zebras And Horses Mate? Are Zebras A Type Of Horse?

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  • Post last modified:July 23, 2023
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Some love zebras, and some love horses, and then there are still some that love both and are wondering if you can come up with a mix of zebras and horses. You belong to that last part; you have come here with the big question. 

Cross Breeding has become more common since the 20th century, but can zebras and horses mate? Read on to see. 

Can Zebras And Horses Mate?

White horse and Zebra eating grass

Yes, you can develop a zebra and horse mix, but with some human intervention and expertise. In fact, this zebra-horse crossbreed is one of the most common crossbreeds we have today since both animals belong to the same family, Equus. 

Some of them do breed in the wild, but it is only rarely that they will succeed and produce offspring.  

Zebras and horses are often made to breed because of the kind of offspring they get to produce, with the horse’s trainability and athletic nature combined with the zebra’s strength and endurance. 

And that is what this entire article will be about, the kind of offspring you will get when they mate, its characteristics, and some unique and interesting facts about it. 

What is a Zorse?

Can Zebras And Horses Mate? A Zorse with half white and black stripes standing .
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

You get a zorse when a male zebra (zebra stallion) and a female horse (mare) come together to mate. In other words, this is the offspring of the zebra and the horse, and has, over the years, captured the hearts of several animal lovers worldwide. 

Other names like zebrose, zebrule, zebrula, or the zebra mule can also refer to it. 

Appearance-wise, this animal looks more like a zebra, with stripes that can vary in their pattern. Naturewise, they exhibit characteristics of both the horse and the zebra. 

To know more about the nature of the zorse, you can read ‘A Song Of Ice and Fire’ by George RR Martin. Though a fictional work, this one accurately gives the reader an insight into the nature and temperament of horses. 

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What is a Hebra?

A Hebra with brown color and white and black stripes on leg standing and eating grass.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Like the zorse, the zebra is also the offspring of the zebra and the mare. 

The difference between a zebra and a zorse is that the zebra is slightly larger than the zorse. Sometimes it is also referred to as the zony. 

While both descend from the same species and exhibit similar characteristics through appearances and behavior, they share a few differences. Yet, simultaneously, the zorse looks more like a horse than the zebra. 

Are Zebras A Type Of Horse?

No. Zebras are related to horses but are not the same as horses. Yes, there have been attempts over the years to ride the zebra the way we ride horses, but in the end, we cannot put this animal in the same category as horses. 

The zebra is more related to the donkey than the horse. Hard to believe. Then there is the fact that zebras, unlike horses, can sometimes get aggressive, running wild and, in some instances, even attacking humans. 

Though they can be domesticated, this is not as easy as horses because of their intuitive nature and need for self-preservation. 

Horses vs. Zebras: Similarities & Differences

Zebras and horses share some similarities, just as they share some differences. To begin with, let us first have a look at the similarities. 


  • Diet: Now, both are herbivorous and eat only vegetables. Most spend a good number of daylight hours grazing. Leaves, barks, grass, and fruit are the things they will eat, not meat. 
  • Speed: Both the zebra and the horse run fast, covering a speed varying from 30 to 55 mph, depending on the breed. Yet, unlike horses, the zebra is slightly faster as a providence of nature to escape the predators they come across. 
  • Sound: True, zebras bray while horses neigh, but in the end, both also make a variety of similar noises, from snorting and sniffing and whining. And these are some similarities you have between zebras and horses. 


Yet, despite all the similarities, the zebra and the horse share some striking differences, which are listed below. 

  • Size: Let’s begin with the size. That said, zebras are comparatively smaller than horses, standing at just three to five feet, while a horse can grow up to seven feet. Zebras, on the other hand, have longer bodies of nine feet. Here, we can say that horses are shorter by one foot (eight feet) 
  • Coat: Well, you know this, don’t you? While the zebra comes with black and white stripes, horses come in various colors without lines. 
  • Mane: The mane of the horse is what makes it so beautiful, long and flowing down their necks, unlike a zebra’s mane, which is relatively short and known to be short and ragged. 
  • Ears: This, though insignificant, makes for a striking difference when you compare the appearance of the zebra and the horse. The ears of a zebra are more like that of a donkey, long and round, unlike the horse’s shorter and more angular ears. 
  • Personality: Zebras are not domesticated like horses and donkeys but are mostly found to be out in the wild. This is mainly because they are more unpredictable than horses and can sometimes attack people. 

Can A Horse And Zebra Breed Naturally Together?

Yes, and the offspring that you get is the zebroid. However, this is a rather unusual pairing where the two animals need human help. 

Yet, when well monitored, the two can mate and reproduce. The resulting offspring will come with the mother’s color, size, shape, and temperament. 

The father contributes to the stripes and patterns on its body, creating an exciting combination of both when the horse and the zebra breed naturally. 

Ultimately, zorses are sociable as both the horse and the zebra love to move in herds and are social. 

However, training them is going to take time, and breeders need to be patient as they bring about as many of their positive characteristics, weeding out the negative ones. 

What Factors Prevent Successful Zebra-Horse Hybridization?

See, to be hybridized; the creature needs to be managed successfully. Now. This can be quite a challenge with many limiting factors that the zebra comes with. Chromosomal fusion and fission occur in the process and sometimes come in the way of productivity. 

The zebra can have either 32 or 46 chromosomes. It depends on the variety and species. A domestic horse, on the other hand, has about 64 chromosomes. 

Sometimes, the female can have way fewer chromosomes than the males, which can pose a challenge for the two animals trying to mate. 

In addition, there can sometimes be a difference between the size and shape of the chromosomes, posing further challenges in the hybridization process. 

Are Zorses Sterile?

Yes, just like a lot of hybrids that you have in the animal kingdom, the zorse is sterile. They have normal breeding behaviors. However, they cannot come up with offspring of their own. 

This is true not just in the case of the zorse but most animals that are offsprings of parent animals that share different sets of chromosomes, like ligers, zonkeys, etc. 

Here, the chromosomes did not pair upright in the process of meiosis. This is the sad truth about hybridized animals. They will remain infertile throughout their lives, which is why it wouldn’t always be an excellent idea to interbreed them, even though you can. 

Can You Ride A Zorse?

Yes, zorses are nice to have in barns and zoos, but here is the more exciting part. They can be ridden too. This breed was first experimented with to come up with some smaller versions of the horse to be easy to ride. (zebras have more stamina than the horse)

However, these animals cannot be fully domesticated (probably because of the half-zebra in them) and can indeed be much more challenging to train than a horse. 

In other words, horses are not for first-time owners, so leave them at the zoo if you are new. 

These are ideal to use as trekking animals because the muscular build that they come with makes it easy for them (easier than for a donkey) to transport goods. Unlike donkeys, they can cover long distances without getting tired or sick. 

In addition to that, they are also more resistant to diseases than horses, which makes them all the more useful. However, despite this, the practical applications of the zorse 

are not many. 

How Much Does A Zorse Cost?

A zorse will cost anything from $500 to $30,000. Now, that was a wide range. Well, it depends on where the zorse comes from and the amount of work already done on him before being handed over to you. 

So, expect to be paying more for a zorse that is well-trained, worked with, and is most likely to only extend a few problems to you. 

However, if you are more tight-fisted, expect a zorse that will come with some trouble and work for you. 

Are Zebras Closer To Horses Or Donkeys?

Zebras are, in fact, closer to wild asses and not horses. They share a lot more similarities with the donkey than with horses. 

Appearance-wise, you have conical ears, a robust neck, and a narrow skull, all of which make it look more like a donkey than a horse. And then, there is the loud braying sound that they make, which is nowhere near the horse’s neighing. 

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How Many Chromosomes Does A Zebra Have?

It depends. Some zebras come with 32 chromosomes, and some with 44. The former is more in the case of mountain zebras, which are known for their smaller size and narrow stripes. 

Plain zebras, on the other hand, which are relatively more common, are the ones that come with 44 chromosomes. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Can Zebras And Horses Mate?

And so, before you go, let us end by having a sweeping look at the zebra and the horse and a few other animals to see if they can mate. 

Q1. Can you breed a zebra and a donkey?

Ans: No, a zebra and a donkey generally do not reproduce, but while they do, you get the zonkey, which is relatively rare, and, because they are so rare, are found only in zoos. 

Q2. Can a horse mate a donkey?

Ans: Yes, a horse can mate a donkey, and when that happens, you get a mule. They have smooth coats and large bodies that come from the horse. The thick heads, short manes, long ears, and sturdy hooves come from the donkey. 

Q3. Can zebras and giraffes mate?

Ans: A giraffe can never crossbreed, not with a zebra or any other animal, and so, no, the zebra and the giraffe can never mate. At least, there has been no evidence to date. 

Q4. Can zebras and horses mate in the wild?

Ans: It is challenging for a zebra, and a horse to mate in the wild, for successful mating between the two is only possible with human help and assistance. 

Q5. Are zorses real?

Ans: Zorses are accurate and are the offspring of the zebra and the horse. They still exist today, and some of them are even used for riding though most are kept in zoos. 

Final Thoughts

And with that, you came to know all about the offspring between the zebra and the horse, two beautiful animals that come together to create another uniquely beautiful animal, which, though found in the world, is relatively rare. 

Can zebras and horses mate? Yes, they can, but with some help, because for anything to happen, this mating must be done correctly. 

Today, we have about a hundred horses worldwide, which may be enough. Now that we know what these creatures can go through, let’s not breed any more zorses.