How Many Teeth Do Horses Have?

If you are wondering how many teeth a horse has, then we advise you to stay away from the nearest horse’s mouth you can find, instead, we have put together a guide to horses teeth,

the different types of teeth that horses have, and at what age these different types of teeth come through on horses.

 how many teeth do horses have

If you have a horse then it is very important to know the ins and outs of your horse’s mouth, including floating a horse’s mouth and what exactly wolf teeth are. This article will have all the answers, but first how many teeth does a horse have?

An adult male horse will usually have around 40 teeth whereas the mare could have anywhere between 36-40 teeth. This is because the mares are less likely to have canine teeth. Horses also have two sets of teeth.

Much like humans, baby horses will have temporary baby teeth that are replaced with their adult teeth when they get older, adult teeth will usually include incisors, canines, molars, and premolars.

However, the number of teeth a horse has will really depend on its age. 

When Do Horses Grow Teeth?

In order to really answer the question of how many teeth a horse has you first need to know the ages in which your horse will grow its teeth. Below we’ll explore the different ages that horses grow or lose teeth to get to the bottom of how many teeth your horse has. 

Birth To Foal

When a foal is born it doesn’t have any incisors, it will take around 6-8 days for its central deciduous incisors to come through, then after 6 to 8 weeks we will see that the foal has gained its second pair of deciduous incisors, and a third pair will erupt after 6 to 8 months. 

At 8 months, a foal should have all of its baby teeth in place, these teeth are also called milk teeth. At this time, the foal will have 24 deciduous teeth. Permanent teeth will not come along to replace these teeth until the horse is around 2 and a half years old.

2 ½ Years Old

This is the age when the central deciduous incisors are replaced by permanent adult incisors.

These teeth are the first of the milk teeth to be replaced as the incisors are the teeth that are used to clip grass and thus the teeth that are most used by the horse.

There will be a total of 12 incisors in the horse’s teeth, six on the top jaw and six on the bottom jaw.

4 ½ Years Old

At four and a half years old, the last of the deciduous incisors will be gone from the horse’s mouth and start to be replaced with the permanent incisors. These will be fully replaced by the time the horse turns 5. 

It is around this age that we start to see the canine teeth of the horse present in the males. In the mares, smaller canine teeth will come through and usually accumulate a lot of tartar.

This can be dangerous to the mare’s dental health and these teeth will have to be removed. Canines are very prone to tartar in horses and will have to be observed constantly and ground when necessary.

At this age, you will also see that your horse has 12 molars and 12 premolars at the back of their mouths. These along with the 12 incisors will bring the horse to the 36-40 teeth depending on the canines. 

5 Years

At this age or around this age cups will appear on the teeth, however, the age at which this happens all depends on your horse and every horse is individual, so this shouldn’t be used as a way of calculating a horse’s age.

Cups are rings of enamel on the tooth, usually close to the tongue and on the edge of the incisor. The cups can have deep open pockets in horses around 5 years old and are often filled with food debris.

If a cup is degraded with food further, it will gain a dark-colored enamel ring that is known as the mark.

Between 6 And 8

When a horse is aged 6 to 8 years these cups on the primary incisors will start to disappear, around the same time a horse will develop similar cups on the second pair of its incisors. These cups could stay on the horse’s teeth until they are between 9 and 15 years of age.

 how many teeth do horses have

15 Plus Years

The majority of horses that are 15 and over will start to lose their dental enamel. This could change the way that your horse’s teeth look as they get sharper.

The sharpness of the teeth could also be painful for the horse and could warrant extraction. The incisors of the horse could also become wobbly and loose, which may also lead to them being taken out.

When your horse hits 15 years or older then it is important to pay attention to your horse’s teeth. Because of the loss of enamel and teeth starting to get loose, your horse’s teeth may start to get uncomfortable and they may need drastic action.

Wolf Teeth

Wolf teeth are a common occurrence in horses and act the same as wisdom teeth do in humans. Wolf teeth are small premolar teeth that are found in around 70% of all horses.

Wolf teeth normally occur when your horse is around 6 to 18 months old and if the wolf teeth are large or placed awkwardly they could be uncomfortable or even painful to the horse and will have to be removed. 

Floating Teeth

Floating teeth is a dental procedure that is used exclusively for horses. It involves using a file to smoothen sharp teeth that could be causing the horse some discomfort or pain,

especially when the horse is eating. It is important to get your horse’s teeth floated once a year or every two years.

Some signs that your horse may need its teeth floated include showing signs of discomfort/pain, throwing back its head or other unusual head movements, and dropping food out of its mouth.

To Sum Up

Depending on the number of canines and the horse’s wolf teeth, adult horses can have anywhere between 36 to 44 teeth at a time. In mare’s, this number will be around 36-40 after the canines are removed and in male horses, this will be around 40-44.

Which is way more teeth than humans have. It is important to check your horse’s teeth regularly and always call a veterinarian if you think that there may be some issues.

Catherine McDowl
Latest posts by Catherine McDowl (see all)