Horse Heads, It’s In The Breed

Are there certain whorls that are more common in certain breeds?
Perhaps. In one study just over 50 percent of Thoroughbreds were found to have high whorls. It’s a majority but leaves plenty of room in there for other whorls.
The thing that is more common in breeds is head shape.
We can tell just as much about a horse’s temperament by looking at head shape as we can by looking at whorls. So it isn’t surprising that the breed standard in head shape tells us a lot about what we can expect from the general temperament of horses in that breed.
Of course not all horses are going to have a head that perfectly fits the breed standard. The standard only gives a base line, all horses are individuals and there will be great variation in personalities and head shapes. There will also be a ‘normal’ expected type that we see most often in a breed.
Quarter horses typically have a straight profile, rectangular muzzle, the head is wide between the eyes with large jowls. The over all head shape is almost triangular as the wide forehead narrows down to a small muzzle. That shows a steady, dependable horse. Intelligent and able to work and learn easily because the large jowls allow them to take in plenty of air.
Morgans tend to be very rectangular in their head shape, the profile very straight. Morgan ears are shapely, alert, and prick towards the center. The combinations gives them extreme steadiness combined with lots of energy and sensitivity. It seems like an unlikely combination. Until you think about how they were bred back when horse needed to work all day long, and be cared for and handled by even the smallest family members. The combination of energy to go all day and the dependability to allow them to keep the family safe made for a treasured animal that was used to build farms, carried men to war, safely drove the family to town, and took care of the children.
Arabians have been bred in recent times to have anything from a slight to extreme dish in their profile. The dish shows sensitivity, how much depends on how much of a dish they have. The huge eyes show intelligence, and sometimes reactiveness or worry. The shapely pricked ears show sensitivity and energy.
Norwegian Fjords have extremely steady dependable head shapes, and often very interesting, unusual whorls to add interest to those steady heads. Saddlebreds have tough determined heads, with energetic, sensitive ears. Standardbreds have a reputation for not having pretty heads. What they do have is a head that shows a hard working horse, one who can stand up to hard work and is very business like. They have a job to do and will get to it without drama and theatrics. A very tough, dependable head, there is great beauty in that. There are as many different head types as there are breeds of horse.
All breeds that are bred for a temperament type ended up with a head shape that accompanied it. Other times it worked the other way around. A breed was carefully selected for a certain head shape. They then ended up with a temperament type, whether they meant to or not. Those head shapes, and therefore temperament ended up set as a breed standard. Whether or not those breeds have a certain whorl that is more likely to occur I don’t know. Yet. Head shape we do know for sure though.