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First Posted: July 22, 2009
Feb 16, 2014

Yakut, Yakutian, Verkhoyansk or Middle Kolyma Breed

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Country of Origin: Siberia, Russia

The Yakut are quite amazing animals. The Yakut may be descended from an extinct animal known as the Tundra Horse that originated in North-East Siberia. It is unlikely that the Tundra Horse played a significant role in the development of any other domestic equine breed. The Yukuy have managed to evolve, adapt and survive, through natural selection, in the inhospitable environment of northern and central Siberia, Russia. The Yakut can withstand temperatures as low as -60F. Over time they have evolved into three types: the northern original, a smaller southern type (the Middle Kolyma or Verkhoyansk horse), and the larger southern type. The southern larger type is widespread in the regions of central Yakutia, including Yakutsk, Namtsi, Orjonikidze, Megino-Kanglass and Amga regions, where trotters and heavy draft horses were used for improvement. The Middle Kolyma is the most valuable of the three because of its size and consistency.

Physical Characteristics

Typically the head is coarse, the neck straight and average in length, the withers low, the back wide and long, the croup drooping the chest wide and deep, the legs short and with solid hoofs. The mane and tail are thick and long. The hair on the body is very thick; in winter it is up to 8 cm (3.15 inches) in length. Oklahoma State University - Breeds of Livestock Their color is usually bay, gray-brown, sometimes roan and mousey gray. The native horses have the primitive dorsal stripe down their backs and tiger striping on their legs. A dark pattern is sometimes found on their shoulders, as well. It is in the shape of a grid. They are generally larger and more massive than other breeds of Mongolian origin. They are smaller than most other horses, so they lose less body heat. They have very thick skin and in winter they grow a dense covering of hair. Their hooves are very strong so they can scrape away deep snow while looking for food. They can store reserves of fat during the summer when food is plentiful. The fat acts as both insulation against the cold and as a source of energy to draw on during winter. These hardy horses require no shelter, even though they live in the coldest climate in the Northern Hemisphere. They fend for themselves during the long and bitter Siberian winters eating a wide variety of plants and grasses that hide beneath the snow. The Middle Kolym stallions are 54.7 inches at the withers. The larger southern type includes descendants of the local Suntar, Megezh and Olekminsk varieties. They show traces of trotter and, to a less extent, draught blood. The body measurements are (in cm): stallions 141, 149, 182 and 18.4; mares 136, 150, 176 and 18.4. Considering these measurements the Yakuts have quite a high live weight - 450 kg on average with a range from 430 to 470 kg. The Yakut was developed in Yakutia by unconscious and natural selection in the harsh conditions of northern and central Siberia, Russia.

Other Interesting Facts

  1. Robert Falcon Scott, the Antarctic explorer who perished along with all of his group, used Yakut ponies on his doomed expedition to the south pole in 1910.
  2. The Yakut is a good meat producer; the carcass weight of 6-month-olds is 105 kg, reaching 165 kg by 2.5 years of age and 228 kg in adults. The high milk yield of the Yakut is also worthy of note. At the experimental farm of the Yakut Institute of Agriculture the mares produce 1200-1700 kg of marketable milk in a 6-month lactation.
  3. The leading Yakut breeding facilities are Leninski state farm and Karl Marx collective farm in the Yakut ASSR.

For More Information:

W Yakut
Siberian Yakut Horses to be Studied
The Yakuts - A Legendary Horse People

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