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Azteca (horse)

Azteca horse
Country of origin: Mexico
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

The Azteca is a modern horse breed developed in Mexico, combining three different bloodlines including the Iberian horse blood, specifically Andalusian and Lusitano breeds, the American Quarter Horse and Criollo (horse) bloodlines (International Registry). Specific combinations of these three breeds make up the Azteca breed from Azteca A to Azteca F based on the crossbreeding table. The Azteca is now considered the official horse of Mexico.



Aztecas may not be any smaller than 14.3 hands high, but any solid coat color is permitted. Ideally, the horse is a balance of both breeds, being not too tall and lean, nor too short and stocky.

The elegant and aristocratic head has a straight or slightly convex profile, with small, well-pricked ears, and expressive eyes. The neck is well muscled and slightly arched. Withers are medium to sharp, and the horse has a straight, fairly short back, and a broad, round croup. The mane and tail are flowing and the tail is set low. The girth is deep and full, with a minimum circumference of 6 ft. and the shoulder is long and sloping. The Azteca has well-muscled cannon bones with good joints; however, the cannons are long and thin. The bone density should favor the Spanish ancestry rather than the Quarter Horse.

The horses have naturally collected movement with medium high action and excellent tracking. They are spirited and proud.

The horses are gentle and willing, and are especially trainable and eager to work. They are alert, proud, and courageous. At three years of age, both males and females should be 15-16 hh. Females must never be smaller than 14.3 hh when full-grown, males must be taller than 15 hh. The breed generally does not exceed 15.2 hh.

Breed history

This modern breed was developed in Mexico in 1972, as it was thought that Mexico, the country where Charreria was born, needed its own horse breed. The new breed was born mainly through the efforts of Mexican organizations such as: La Secretaría de Agricultura y Recursos Hidráulicos, la Asociación Mexicana de Criadores de Caballos de Raza Azteca, el Centro de Reproducción Caballar Domecq, and Casa Pedro Domecq. The breed is rapidly growing in popularity, enough to challenge the Mexican Criollo.

The International Azteca Horse Association was formed in 1992 to oversee the breed. Affiliated associations in the United States and Canada soon followed. Currently, 1000 Azteca are registered with the IAHA

Registration requirements

Strict breeding codes ensure the success of the breed. The crossbreeding has been scientifically researched to combine only the best of each breed.

The horses are inspected twice in their lives: at seven months to obtain a birth certificate, and again at three years of age, to get their registration certificate as breeding stock. The registry attaches the letters A, B, C, D, E, and F to their horses as identification as to their proportions of each breed. The letters are only used for breeding purposes to help the breeders choose horses to produce offspring that are no more than 3/4 Andalusian or Quarter Horse. The "A" level is the most desirable.

Azteca A Registration:

  • Azteca A crossed with another Azteca A
  • Azteca C crossed with an Andalusian (foal with 5/8 Spanish, 3/8 Quarter Horse)
  • Quarter Horse and Azteca C cross (foal 3/8 Spanish, 1/2 Quarter Horse, 1/8 Criollo)
  • Quarter Horse and Azteca B cross (foal 3/8 Spanish, 5/8 Quarter Horse)
  • Azteca B and Azteca F cross (foal 5/8 Spanish, 1/8 Quarter Horse, 1/4 Criollo)
  • Azteca C and Azteca F cross (foal 3/8 Spanish, 3/8 Quarter Horse, 1/4 Criollo)
  • Azteca D and Azteca F cross (foal 1/2 Spanish, 1/4 Quarter Horse, 1/4 Criollo)
  • Azteca B and Azteca C cross (foal 1/2 Spanish, 1/2 Quarter Horse)
  • Azteca B and Azteca D cross (foal 5/8 Spanish, 3/8 Quarter Horse)
  • Azteca C and Azteca D cross (foal 3/8 Spanish, 5/8 Quarter Horse)
  • Azteca C and Azteca E cross (foal 5/8 Spanish, 3/8 Quarter Horse)
  • Azteca D and Azteca E cross (foal 1/2 Spanish, 3/8 Quarter Horse, 1/8 Criollo)

Azteca B Registration:

  • Andalusian and Azteca D cross (foal 3/4 Andalusian, 1/4 Quarter Horse)

Azteca C Registration:

  • Quarter Horse and Azteca D cross (foal 1/4 Andalusian, 3/4 Quarter Horse)

Azteca D Registration:

  • Andalusian stallion and Quarter Horse mare cross (foal 1/2 Andalusian, 1/2 Quarter Horse)

Azteca E Registration:

  • Andalusian stallion and Azteca F mare cross (foal 3/4 Spanish, 1/4 Criollo)

Azteca F Registration:

  • Andalusian and Criollo cross (foal 1/4 Spanish, 1/4 Criollo)


The horses are very good at all sports which require agility, power, spirit, strength, and speed. This includes charreria, classical riding, dressage, bull fighting, cutting, reining, team penning, polo, pleasure riding, and driving.


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