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Horse Breeds
First Posted: Aug 4, 2010
May 16, 2013

North Swedish Horse/Small Draft

North Swedish Horse/Stallion and Mare

Country of Origin: Sweden

The North Swedish Horse is a small heavy horse originating in Sweden. According to different sources, it is considered a light draft horse or a "universal type horse." The breed also has lighter lines, bred for harness racing. The North Swedish Horse is active and tough, and resembles closely its near relative, the Dølahest. It is still used extensively by the Army and for forestry work.

History and Breeding

The North Swedish Horse has ancient origins closely connected with those of its neighbour, the Norwegian Dølahest. The breed has been cross-bred to a great extent, and it was only after a breed society was established at the end of the 19th century when a more uniform type was created. Dølahest stallions from Norway were used, and at the beginning of the 20th century stringent performance tests for breeding stock were introduced.

Nowadays, the breeding it strictly controlled, and the animals intended for breeding are thoroughly tested. The primary qualities desired in a breeding horse are good character, pulling capacity and fertility. The legs and hooves are examined by X-ray.


The North Swedish horse is agile and easy to train. Its conformation is compact and robust, while being relatively light for a draft horse. Regarding its small size it is very strong and durable, and its has an energetic, long-strided trot. A typical character is gentle and willing. The breed comes in any solid color. The breed is known for its longevity and great health.

The North Swedish Horse is economical to feed and very active. It is a rather dumpy horse, with a big head and long ears. The neck is short and thick. The shoulders are sloping, the body is deep and the back long. The quarters are rounded, with a sloping croup. The legs are short, with substantial bone. The mane and tail are abundant. The horse is any solid color and is 15.1 to 15.3 hands (61 to 63 inches, 155 to 160 cm) high.


The North Swedish Horse is one of the few cold-blood breeds used in harness racing. The current world record of coldblood trotters, 1:17.9 (per kilometre) is currently held by Järvsöfaks, who is of part Swedish, part Norwegian lineage. North Swedish Horses are well suited for agricultural and forestry work. In Sweden they are popular for recreational equestrian activities.

Horse Breeds