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Horse Breeds
First Posted July 17, 2009
Sep 26, 2010

Schleswiger Heavy Draft

3-D Flags
Country of Origin: Germany


Northern Germany is the origin of the Schleseiger Draft Horse along with the Jutland Heavy Draft Horse. The Schleswinger Heavy Draft Horse is not close to extinction. It has been put on the list of endangered domestic animal breeds and is under protection. Although not a certainty, the Schleswiger Heavy Draft's ancestors not only worked in agriculture tilling and pulling, but the Schleswigers probably descended from the large war horses of the middle ages. Historically this was the age of feudalism so war horses gradually were used for agriculture, as well.

Physical Description

The Schleswiger Heavy Draft Horse stands approximately 154 (5 feet 1 inch or 61 inches) - 162 cm(5 feet 4 inches or 65 inches) or 15.2 to 16 hands. The stallions are on average, bigger than the mares. The legs are strong and dry, lightly feathered. The round hooves are of good quality. The back should be short and well muscled, however, many have backs that are longer than most draft horses. They have deep chests. The head is short and straight with a broad forehead. The neck should be well proportioned. The Schleswiger is usually chestnut colored, although black, grey and bay occur. The Schleswiger is an excellent mover with an astounding walk and trot. The Schleswiger has a good placid character and is very willing to learn. They are versatile, agile and of great endurance, and are easy to keep. Feeding problems are virtually unknown to this breed.


In 1888 the earlier breeders association of Schleswig Holstein decided to separate the breeding of warm-blooded and heavy horses. In 1891 the Schleswiger Horse Breeders Society was founded. The brandmark with the letters "V.S.P" in an oval are still used today to brand the horses on the left back leg.

Through the introduction of different breeds, Oldenburger, Holstein and Suffolk Punch the desired results in breeding could not be fulfilled. In 1862 Jutland stallions were imported. Since 1930 virtually all Schleswiger are related to the "Oppenheim" (Shire or Suffolk Punch) son "Munkedal." (Munkedal, a son of the stallion Oppenheimer)

The height of popularity was reached in 1949. In the Studbook there were approximately 25,000 mares and 450 stallions registered. Due to the progress in agriculture and the usage of machinery the Schleswiger, as well as all German heavy horse breeds, suffered. In 1976 the breed reached an all time low - only 35 mares and 5 stallions remained. In the same year the old society was dissolved and the breed was incorporated in the Stud Book Schleswig Holstein/Hamburg. In 1991 the society of Schleswiger Heavy Draft Horse Breeders was founded with the aim to nurture and preserve the breed. Today the society has about 200 members. There are now over 200 mares and 30 stallions registered in the stud book.


The Schleswiger is used for farming and other agricultural endeavors. Hauling loads such as timber, pulling omnibuses, in the brewery business, in nurseries, and for military purposes. They are also used for pleasure. They are found mostly in Schleswig Holstein, the most northern state of Germany, as well as in Lower Saxony.

For More Information:

Oklahoma State University - Breeds of Livestock

Horse Breeds