What Is A Sire? What Is A Dam? Horse Pedigree Terms You Need To Know


When you are looking at the pedigree of a horse, whether you are interested in buying it or just happen to be looking, there are two words that may confuse you if you don’t know what they mean. These words are sire and dam. These words are very important to know to be able to tell who the parents of the horse are.

What Does Sire Mean?

Sire, in horses, basically is another word for father, dad, or male parent. If you see the word sire on a certain horse’s pedigree, it means that the following name is the horse’s dad or father.

What Does Dam Mean?

A dam is the mother, mom, or female parent of a horse. You may notice on a pedigree that there is a horse listed as the dam which basically means that that horse mothered the registered horse.

What Does The Word Grand Sire Mean?

Just like people, horses have grandparents too. So just like in people, the word grandfather means father of one of the parents, grand sire means sire of one of the parents. Grand sire is basically the horse word for grandpa!

Many times, horses who have successful or famous grand sires may be advertised as the grandson or granddaughter of said horse. This is because people often desire a piece of that famous horse so having one of the offspring can be appealing.

What Do The Words ‘Sired By’ Mean In Horses?

Now knowing what the word sire means, it might be easy to guess what the phrase ‘sired by’ means. If a horse is said to be sired by (insert stallion name here), that phrase is basically telling you who the horse’s dad or sire is.

What Do The Words ‘Out Of’ Mean In Horses?

Often, if a horse wins a class, the announcer may tell the audience the basic pedigree of the horse. An example might be “Our champion tonight is a horse out of Ruffian and sired by Seabiscuit.” What does it mean by ‘out of’ though?

Out of (insert name here) basically means that the horse was born from or mothered by that specific horse mentioned. In my example above, the horse’s dam was Ruffian and the horse’s sire was Seabiscuit. You can tell this because the dam of the horse will be announced with the phrase “out of” and the stallion will be announced with the phrase “sired by.”

Hailey Johnson

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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