Wondering how horse breeding works in Minecraft? You're probably not alone. There's a lot of confusion amongst newer players about how to tame and breed horses, donkeys, and mules in Minecraft, but our beginner-friendly guide to horse breeding will walk you through breeding each species, as well as which species is the best to breed in different situations. You and your friends will be riding between your castles and towers in no time!
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How to breed horses in Minecraft
To breed two horses in Minecraft, you first need to tame them both. To tame a horse, you need to mount them by right-clicking on them with a free hand. It will likely buck you off at first, but just keep mounting them. Each time you mount them, you're increasing the horse's "temper" by 5 points, and once it gets beyond the horse's temper threshold (which is a random number between 0 and 99) then the horse will be tamed.
This means you may need to mount a particularly stubborn horse up to 20 times in a row before it is tamed. You can speed up the process by feeding the horse either sugar, wheat, or apples, to increase the horse's temper by 3 with each feeding.
To breed horses in Minecraft, you need to feed two nearby tamed horses either a Golden Apple or Golden Carrot each. This will activate "love mode" in both horses, much like the process for breeding other Minecraft mobs such as foxes, goats, bees, and axolotls. Shortly after entering "love mode" the horses will mate, producing a foal. This same process works for donkeys as well as horses.
- Forcing two horses to breed will result in a baby horse.
- Forcing two donkeys to breed will result in a baby donkey.
- Forcing a horse to breed with a donkey will result in a baby mule.
- Mules are sterile and cannot breed.
Whatever you decide to breed, the offspring's stats (HP, speed, and jump height) will be averaged from the two parents' stats and a third randomised set of stats. So there's a fairly high chance that two parent horses with high speed will have a child which will also grow up to have very high speed.
Horse colour and markings
If you're breeding two horses, then the colour and markings of the offspring are likely to each be taken from one of the parents, but there's also a low chance of the baby having completely random markings and colouring:
- Chance to have random colour: 11.11%
- Chance to have random markings: 20%
If you'd like to inject more variation in the looks of horses, donkeys, and mules, then your best bet is to find a good Minecraft texture pack that does the job for you.
Horse vs Donkey vs Mule: which is best?
The main difference between the three types of mount in Minecraft is that horses can equip armour for greater protection (specialist horse armour, that is - you unfortunately can't make your horse wear Diamond or Netherite armour plating), while donkeys and mules can equip chests for increased storage.
In terms of the mount's stats (HP, movement speed, and jump height), all three species have the same potential maximum stats. Naturally spawning horses can have random stats while naturally spawning donkeys always have fixed and mediocre stats, which has led many to believe that horses are faster than donkeys and mules, but with enough selective breeding you can have a donkey or mule that is as fast and can jump as high as any horse.
That concludes our Minecraft horse breeding guide. If you're looking for an edge in combat on horseback, be sure to stock up on the best Minecraft enchantments and the most powerful Minecraft potions available. If you're having trouble finding horses, have a look at our best Minecraft seeds list for a good starting point. Or enlist the aid of friends or strangers on a Minecraft server! If you want to know how terrain generation might change, find out everything that you need to know about Minecraft 1.18, which will also bring Dripstone.