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Home > Horses > 4 Norwegian Horse Breeds: Pictures, History, Facts, and Traits

4 Norwegian Horse Breeds: Pictures, History, Facts, and Traits

Fjord Horse Mare and Foal

Norway is known for its gorgeous landscape and world-famous fjords. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting a Norwegian horse breed, it’s an experience you’ll never forget. Norwegian breeds share many of the same characteristics, but they also have quite a few differences to speak of. If you’re considering purchasing one of these noble breeds, you should know a few things first. In the guide below, we’ll discuss four Norwegian horse breeds, including the history, facts, and pictures of each.

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The 4 Norwegian Horse Breeds

1. Dolehest Horse

Dolehest Horse (Dole Gudbrandsdal)
Image Credit: Uhryn Larysa, Shutterstock

Origin: Norway
Lifespan: 20 to 25 years
Height: 14.1 to 15.3 hands
Weight: 1,190 to 1,390 pounds

The Dolehest is a draft and harness horse. The breed originated in the Gudbrandsal Valley in Norway. The horse is said to have Thoroughbred and Arabian blood. It’s interesting to note that in 1872, this breed was split into two types. The first type was used for driving and agriculture jobs, and the second lighter type was used for racing and riding.

Since the heavier class was used mainly during World War II, its numbers started to dwindle after the war ended. A breeding center for Dolehest horses was developed in 1962, and the population soon soared again. Their coat colors include brown, bay, black, palomino, chestnut, and dun. All Dolehest horses also have white markings.

The Dolehest is easy to train and has a strong work ethic. They have very few health issues and are a hardy breed. They are easy to handle and have laid-back temperaments. Many draft horse breeds are called gentle giants, and the Dolehest is no exception. While the Dolehest is a small draft horse, they’re still the largest native breed in Norway.

2. Fjord Horse

norwegian fjord horse
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

Origin: Norway Mountains
Lifespan: 20 to 25 years
Height: 13.1 to 14.3 hands
Weight: 880 to 1,100 pounds

The Fjord horse hails from the mountains of Norway and is the perfect horse for children. They are small horses, but don’t let their size fool you; they’re incredibly strong as well. The Fjord is the oldest breed in the world. In fact, there were bones discovered during excavations at Viking burial sites that show the horse as being bred selectively for over 2,000 years.

They’ve been used as farm horses for hundreds of years in Norway. While these horses usually come in a bay dun color, you can also find them in yellow dun, white dun, and gray. While the Fjord was used as a working horse, their mild-mannered, friendly ways make them perfect for giving rides to children. The Fjord has even been used as a therapy horse, and they perform well in competitions. Unlike some breeds, the Fjord is relatively easy to train.

3. Norwegian Coldblood Trotter

Origin: Norway, Sweden
Lifespan: 20 to 30 years
Height: Up to 15.1 hands
Weight: 1,000 to 1,200 pounds

The Norwegian Coldblood Trotter is a mix between the Swedish Coldblood Trotter and the Norwegian Coldblood Trotter, which produced a strong horse that has a very even temperament. The elegant and muscular horse was originally bred in Sweden and Norway.

This breed is closely related to the Norsk Kaldblodstraver and the Svensk Kaldblodstraver horse breeds. They are a mix of a heavy-bodied horse with a more nimble, lighter horse. If you’re looking for a horse that does well with people, the Coldblood Trotter is for you. Their temperament is mild, and they have great manners. Since they love to run and are incredibly tolerant of riders, you should have no problem with the horse being ready to ride when you are.

Training this breed is easy, and they do well in agility trials and racing events. While the Coldblood Trotter is a pretty hardy breed, it is possible for them to suffer from a condition called ocular cartilage conversion.

4. Nordlandshest/Lyngshest Horse

Origin: Norway
Lifespan: 20 to 25 years
Height: 12.1 to 14.1 hands
Weight: Up to 606 pounds

The Nordlandshest/Lyngshest Horse hails from Norway and is the smallest Norwegian horse breed on our list. The breed was documented for the first time in 1898. After World War II, they nearly became extinct. At one time, only 15 to 20 mares and one stallion were alive. Luckily, the breed was saved, and they are no longer on the endangered species list today.

The Nordlandshest/Lyngshest comes in several colors, such as black, palomino, chestnut, bay, gray, and even shades of dapple. They are skilled in several sporting activities, such as riding, driving, dressage, jumping, and junior harness racing. They are also used as pack horses and are one of the country’s most versatile breeds.

They’re even-tempered and easy to train, which endears them to horse owners everywhere. Because they are easy to handle and resilient, you can expect them to make not only a great worker but a great companion as well. They’re relatively healthy and have very few health problems to speak of.



If you’re searching for a Norwegian horse, whether for a companion, for the children to ride, or to work, the four on our list are extraordinary breeds. They are healthy, intelligent horses that are mild-tempered and tolerant of children.

If you’re considering giving one of these horses a forever home, remember that quite a bit goes into raising a horse. It’s an expensive undertaking, so make sure you’re up to the task. A Norwegian horse will make an excellent companion and will be loyal and loving for many years to come.

Featured Image Credit: Maria Junge Fotografie, Shutterstock

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