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Horse Breeds
First Posted June 24,2009
Feb 7, 2011

Døle/Gudbrandsdal, Dølahest or Døle


Country of Origin: Norway
3-D Flags

This breed originated in the Gudbrandsdal Valley which connects the Oslo region with the North Sea coast. It is likely that the Friesian played a part in the breeding of the Døle due to the similarity between the two. The Friesians traded heavily with Britain, Norway and the Rhine Delta during the period from 400 to 800 A.D. The Døle horse of today is found in two types. A heavy work horse and a light draft horse, the cold-blooded trotter. The difference between the two types has been greatly reduced in recent years due to interbreeding between the types. This interbreeding is now becoming very common and the breed is becoming very uniform.

The heavy type of Døle are tested for pulling power and trotting when presented for grading. X-rays of the knee and lower leg are taken in lighter trotting type, and animals with defects are disqualified for breeding. Stallions of this must have achieved satisfactory results on the track before being used as a stud. Three year olds may be issued a temporary stallion license if their conformation, breeding and trotting ability are acceptable. Quality of the Døle has improved during the last several years due to the organized selection of breeding stock.

Bay or brown are the predominate colors of the Døle horse but black and chestnut are also fairly common. There are a few grays and duns. Some animals will have white markings on the head and legs, especially among animals of the trotter type.

The Døle horse is one of the smallest cold bloods. This horse has an excellent trot and great pulling power. It is agile and active and shows great stamina.

A Note: The following was sent to me in an e-mail so I would like to post this information. Thank you to Jorrit van Grieken for providing this information, although it has been disputed--see below. The bolding was added by me:

Note: The Norwegian Fjord and the Døle Horse (East Valley Horse) are NOT two different types of the same breed. The Fjord is a really old pony breed from the western part of Norway, probably with origins from the Przewalski horse. The Fjord was also the horse of the vikings. The Døle horse on the other hand is a small but heavy draft horse (not pony) from east of Norway, that more resembles the heavy horses of Britain, whom is also partly founders of this breed. The breed has its origins in the 1700th century. Although these two breeds have occasionally met in the past, a mix between them would not be recognized in either registry. (Both breeds have their own registry). Thus a Fjord can NEVER have any other colour than dun. They are in fact homozygous and will have to be mixed in at least three generations before the offspring will get any other colour than dun. So, conclusion: Fjord= one breed, Døle= one different breed. (By the way, the Døle and the North Sweedish horse, are basically the same breed, and are mixed quite often. The lighter version of both breeds, Norwegian- and Sweedish Cold Blood Trotters share the same registry)

For More Information:

History of the Døle Horses and Coming to America
Døle Horse Breed of Norway
Døle Gudbrandsdal/Equine Kingdom

Permission given by my dear friend, Cowboy Frank, to use his breeds section.
Oklahoma State University list of livestock breeds

Horse Breeds