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Moose Vs. Horse

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Most people know that moose and horses are not the same animals, although moose may be referred to as being “the size of a horse”. This may have some truth to it, although it depends on the horse breed it is being compared to.

Moose and horses have similar characteristics when it comes to size, speed, and strength. They differ when it comes to things like rideability, color, coat type, and their hooves. Horses and moose may be far more different or alike than most people realize.

The fact is, moose and horses are two different animals, there is no denying that. They do have a lot of things in common, however, so it is worth comparing them to find out their true differences and similarities.


In the weight department, both moose and horses fall into the same category, with slight variations.

Moose weigh between 440 and 1550 pounds when they reach adulthood; there have even been reports of some moose weighing over 2,000 pounds. Their antlers alone can weigh up to 79 pounds, or at least that is the record.

Horses can vary in weight according to their breed, however, most weigh between 800 and 2,200 pounds. Large breed draft horses are the ones that tend to weigh the most, averaging 1,500 to 2,200 pounds themselves.


When it comes to height, horses and moose rank pretty close to one another, although antlers give moose an advantage.

Moose can stand anywhere between 4.6 and 6.9 feet at their shoulder. This means that along with their large antlers, moose can appear very tall, often taller than a horse.  

The tallest moose on record stood an impressive 7.6 feet tall at its shoulder.

Horses can vary in height depending on the breed, but overall they range between 4.5 and 6 feet tall at their shoulder. This is in line with moose, with moose taking the lead by a hair, or, actually, by a set of antlers!

Draft horses tend to be the tallest horses, which explains the fact that the tallest horse on record stood 7.2 feet. It was a Shire breed horse called Mammoth that lived in the United Kingdom in the middle of the 1800s.

two beautiful horses in a green field


Moose and horses can both run exceptionally fast.

If you are unfamiliar with moose in person, you may not be aware that they can run a lot faster than many people would guess. An adult moose can run up to 35 miles per hour, which seems unrealistic, but it is very true.

Horses can run at very high speeds as well, for an animal at least. Horses, depending on their breed, can run up to 50 miles per hours, although on average they run between 25 and 30 miles per hour.


Moose and horses differ greatly when it comes to their rideability.

Moose cannot be ridden, no matter how badly you think or wish they could be. Moose are completely wild and they are very dangerous, so no one has ever been able to train one to be ridden.

There are rare occurrences where a human has been able to ride a moose but it is extremely rare and would never happen with a truly wild moose.

Most horses can be ridden if they are trained properly, although there are always those outliers that refuse to be ridden. Horses were domesticated around 2000 BC and have a long history of being ridden by humans.


In the strength department, moose and horses rank pretty closely, however, male moose have one specific advantage.

Moose are very strong animals, however, their true strength has never been tested since they are wild animals. They have extremely strong legs that can kick, injure, and even kill predators.

Moose also can charge predators and other animals causing significant damage.

Horses are exceptionally strong, probably even more so than most people are aware. Horses can safely carry up to 20% of their body weight on their back, meaning a 1,200 pound horse can easily carry 240 pounds.

Horses can also pull a shocking amount of weight in wagons, materials, plows, and more. Some horses can pull up to six times their own body weight if the distance is short and the item is on wheels.

A horse’s kicks are very powerful as well, often injuring other horses, animals, and humans.

big moose portrait


When it comes to color, horses and moose are very different when it comes to variation.

Moose almost always have varying shades of brown and brownish-black hairs in their coat. They are not a solid color, but they have a coat mixed with light to dark-brown hair.

Unlike moose, horses come in a variety of colors including white, shades of reddish-brown, light tan, cream, dark brown, black, blue, and even silver. They also come in several patterns such as solid, speckled, paint, roan, and more.

Coat Type

Horses and moose do not have the same coats of fur or hair.

Moose have coats of fur that have two separate layers including a long top coat and a soft, thicker undercoat. Their top layer of hair is often referred to as the guard hairs (which are actually hollow) which when wet, support floating in water.

Horses have coats of hair that consist of one main layer that grows thicker during cold months and thins out when it gets warmer. While humans shed some hair daily, horses only shed during specific times of the year.


When it comes to species and animal family categories, horses and moose belong to two completely separate groups within the animal kingdom.

Moose belong to the same animal family as deer, the Cervidae, and their specific species is referred to as the Alces alces. They are the largest animal in the deer family and perhaps the most recognizable.

Horses belong to the Equidae animal family and their species is referred to as the Equus caballus. Their animal family includes donkeys, zebras, and ponies.


horse and moose hooves

Moose and horses have noticeably different hooves, specifically when it comes to the number of toes on each of them.

Moose have even-toed hooves with 4 separate toes on each hoof. They are two main toes in the front of each hoof, and 2 smaller ones towards the back of each hoof.

Horses have single-toed hooves, meaning there is just one complete hoof on each foot. Horse hooves grow constantly and the domesticated ones have to be maintained regularly, unlike wild horses whose hooves are naturally worn down by wilderness terrain.

Life Span

The life span of horses and moose are relatively comparable, although the fact that most horses are domesticated does play a role in their differences.

Moose, on average, live somewhere between 15 and 20 years. Their somewhat short lifespan for such a large animal has a lot to do with their wild, nomadic lifestyle.

Between human hunters, cars, and other human-intervention, moose can die easily in the wild. Predators can also be a factor in their deaths since they are regularly preyed upon by grizzly bears, black bears, and wolves.

Domesticated horses can live much longer than moose and typically their lifespan ranges between 25 and 30 years. Some horses live well into their thirties, but those are usually domesticated horses.

Wild horses have a much shorter lifespan, more akin to that of the moose. This is also due to natural elements as well as predators like wolves and bears.

Why Do Male Moose Have Antlers While Male Horses Do Not?

Male moose naturally have antlers because they are part of the deer family and they need them for their survival. Moose use their antlers to attract mates and fight off other males in search of a mate.

They will also use their antlers to fight off predators. Horses do not have antlers because it is not a part of their genetic history and no horses in the equine family have ever had antlers. 

moose sideview

Would a Moose or Horse Win In a Fight?

A male moose with intact antlers would probably win in a fight with a horse, but the field would be more even for a female moose and a horse. A moose with antlers would definitely have a huge offensive and defensive advantage over a horse.

Although it would be extremely rare for a fight between a horse and a moose, if their age and size were even and antlers were not a factor, both animals would have a fair chance.

Are Moose Dangerous To Be Around Horses?

Moose are not usually dangerous to be around horses, but it is preferrable to keep any domesticated horses distanced from moose.

That does not mean that horse owners should scare away moose, but they should stay on alert whenever moose get near their horses.

A moose can cause severe injury to a horse if they decide to attack.  

Final Thoughts

Moose and horses are clearly not the same animals by any means, however, they undeniably have a lot in common with one another.

Moose cannot be ridden and they belong to a completely different animal family, yet they are similar in size, speed, and strength.


Learning exactly how moose and horses compare to one another was an eye-opening experience. Here are the sources used to write this article.