Discover the Magnificence of German Horse Breeds: Quick Facts and Overviews of 6 Popular Breeds

Germany has been producing beautiful and strong horse breeds for centuries. The 6 most popular and the most magnificent German Horse breeds are Hanoverian, Bavarian Warmblood, Holsteiner German Horse, Oldenburg Horse, Trakehner German Horse and Württemberg Horse Breed.

Table of Contents (Horspedia)

Hanoverian German Horse Breed (Traces and Origins)

The foremost German Warmblood, the Hanoverian traces back to the seventeenth century when Spanish, oriental and Neapolitan stallions were imported into Germany and crossed with local mares.

Members of the House of Hanover promoted the breed and in 1735 George II of England opened the Celle Stud, at which 14 black Holstein stallions were installed.

Hanoverian German Horse Breed

For a time Thoroughbred blood was used to produce horses of better quality.

However, since the mid-1940s, the aim has been to produce good competition horses. This is how Trakehner (horse breed blood and additional Thoroughbred blood have been used to upgrade the breed.

Today, strictly selective breeding produces Hanoverians (Hanoverian horse breed) of exceptional strength with notably correct movement.

The Hanoverian horse is a big, strong, upstanding horse, of good conformation. Active and bold, it is in great demand both for showjumping and dressage.

The Westphalian is another (regional) name for the Hanoverian.

Hanoverian Horse Breed (Size Colours Characteristics and Uses)

  • size: 16-17 h.h. (160-170 cm)
  • main colours: all solid colours
  • characteristics: correct movement & superb strength
  • uses: riding

Bavarian Warmblood German Horse Breed (The OLDEST German Horse Breed)

Although not the best known of the German Warmbloods, the Bavarian Warmblood Horse is probably the oldest German horse breed.

Bavarian Warmblood Horse breed can trace its origins back to before the time of the Crusades.

Bavarian Warmblood German Horse Breed

Until recently the breed was known as the Rottaler because it originated in the Rott Valley of Bavaria, a region noted for horse-raising.

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In another vein, the Bavarian warmblood horse as a warhorse was considered the equal of the Friesian horse.

Various types of British blood – including Cleveland Bay and Thoroughbred – were introduced during the eighteenth century, and Norman and Oldenburg horse breeds have also influenced the Bavarian warmblood horse breed.

Today it is a heavyweight riding horse with a steady, reliable temperament.

Bavarian Horse Breed (Quicks Facts – Size Colour Character and Uses)

  • size: 16 h.h. (160 cm – 170 cm)
  • main colours: chestnut
  • characteristics: calmness
  • uses: riding

Holsteiner German Horse Breed (Modern Holsteiner Breed Origin)

The Holsteiner is a heavier stamp of a riding horse than the Hanoverian. The modern Holsteiner horse breed is based on horses that lived in the marshes surrounding the river Elbe in the fourteenth century.

The introduction of Spanish and eastern blood made Holsteiner lighter in build.

Holsteiner German Horse Breed

Later on, in the nineteenth century, Yorkshire Coach Horses and English Thoroughbreds were imported into Germany to upgrade the breed and produce stock suitable for the light harness and saddle work.

Additional Thoroughbred blood has been introduced to the Holstein Horse breed since World War II. This has resulted in making the modern Holsteiner a good all-rounder, being particularly noted as a showjumper.

Holstein horse is powerfully built, with strong quarters, a good depth of girth and short legs with plenty of bone. Holstein German horse breed is a good-tempered, intelligent and willing horse.

Holstein German Horse Breed (Quick Facts)

  • size: 16-17 hh (160-170 cm)
  • main colours: black, brown & bay
  • characteristic: bold jumping style
  • uses: riding

Oldenburg Horse Breed from Germany (The HEAVIEST German Horse)

This is the heaviest of the German Warmbloods and may be traced back to the seventeenth-century Oldenburg when the latter was based on the Friesian.

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The Oldenburg horse breed was originally developed as a good, strong carriage horse.

Oldenburg German Horse Breed

Over the years Spanish, Neapolitan and Barb blood were introduced to the Oldenburg horse breed, followed at a later stage by Thoroughbred, Cleveland Bay, Norman and Hanoverian blood.

When the need for carriage horses dwindled during the twentieth century, additional Thoroughbred and Norman blood was introduced into the Oldenburg horse breed. This has resulted in the production of an all-purpose saddle horse.

The Oldenburg is a short-legged horse with plenty of bone, a strong back and a good depth of girth. The breed is ideally suited for dressage and driving and has a kind yet bold nature.

The Oldenburg Horse (Quick Facts Size Colour Character and Uses)

  • size: 162-17.2 h.h. (165-175 cm)
  • main colours: solid colours
  • characteristics: early age of maturing
  • uses: riding & driving

Top-class Saddle Horse – Trakehner German Horse Breed

King Friedrich Wilhelm the First founded the Trakehnen Stud in 1732, and it was here that the East Prussian Horse – known today as the Trakehner – was developed.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Arab and Thoroughbred blood was introduced and by the early twentieth century over 80 per cent of the stud’s mares were by Thoroughbred stallions.

Trakehner German Horse Breed

The East Prussian horse made an excellent cavalry remount and was renowned for its great endurance.

At the end of World War. II, when the Germans retreated from Poland, some 1,200 of the 25,000 horses registered in the Trakehner Stud Book reached West Germany after a three-month trek from East Prussia (now part of Poland, where the Trakehner breed’s influence is still to be found in the Wielkopolski).

Today, selective breeding has ensured that the Trakehner is a top-class saddle horse, with extremely good conformation; members of the breed are particularly renowned for their excellence in dressage and showjumping.

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Trakehner Horse (Quick Facts and Specifications)

  • size: 16-172 hh (160 – 175 cm)
  • main colours: all solid colours
  • characteristics: excellent conformation
  • uses: riding

Württemberg Horse Breed from Germany (Strongly Built with Strong Legs)

The Württemberg horse breed traces back to the end of the sixteenth century and was developed by putting local mares to Arab stallions from the German state-owned stud farms at Marbach.

In order to produce the type of horse needed for working the small mountain farms of the Württemberg area, East Prussian and Norman blood was later introduced, followed by infusions of Oldenburg and Nonius.

Württemberg Horse Breed from Germany

A studbook was not opened until 1895 when the required type had eventually been achieved largely through the influence of the Anglo-Norman stallion named Faust.

In recent years, still, more East Prussian blood has been introduced to the Württemberg horse breed and the present-day Württemberg is strong, ‘cobby’ type, suitable for work both in harness and under saddle.

Württemberg horse breed is a strongly built horse and is noted both for its sound legs and feet and for the fact that it is highly economical to feed.

Württemberg Horse Breed Quick Facts

  • size: 16 hh (160 cm
  • main colours: black brown, chestnut & bay
  • characteristics: excellent action
  • uses: riding & harness work