If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Learn more.

How to breed and tame horses in Minecraft: horse, donkey, and mule breeding

Learn how to tame and breed horses, donkeys, and mules

If you're wondering how to breed horses in Minecraft, you're not alone. There's a lot of confusion amongst newer players about how to tame and breed horses, but our beginner-friendly guide to horse breeding will walk you through breeding horses, donkeys, and mules, and which is the best species to breed in different situations.

On this page:

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, and they 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 high chance that two parent horses with high speed will have a child which will also grow up to have very high speed.

Things to build in Minecraft | Best Minecraft Seeds | Best Minecraft Shaders | Best Minecraft Bedrock Seeds | Best Minecraft Mods | Best Minecraft Servers | Minecraft Commands & Cheats | Minecraft house ideas | How to find a Minecraft Village | How to tame a fox in Minecraft | How to make Minecraft Fireworks

A Minecraft screenshot of many horses of different colours and markings in close proximity on a bed of gravel.

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%

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, 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. While you're here, be sure to check out our guide on how to find Diamonds in Minecraft in both 1.16 and 1.17!

About the Author

Ollie Toms avatar

Ollie Toms

Guides Editor

Ollie is known round these parts for having the deepest voice in existence. Some say he used to be quite good at Rocket League. His favourite pastime is burying his face in the warm fur of his two cats.

Support Rock Paper Shotgun

Subscribe and get access to supporter-only articles, an ad-free reading experience, free gifts, and game discounts. Your support helps us create more great writing about PC games.

See more information

More Guides

Latest Articles

Rock Paper Shotgun logo

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Rock Paper Shotgun Merch