- Dole Gudbrandsdal -

The Dole Gudbrandsdal  is a draft horse that stands around 14.2-15.2 hands high. It can vary in colors from black, brown, and bay, with luxurious dark brown or black manes and tails.

The National Dolehorse Association was founded in 1967.The foundations of the breed, originated in the Gudbrandsdal Valley in Norway, are ancient and probably descended from Dutch Friesian horses. These horses are somewhat similar to the native British Fells and Dales and it is likely that they all came from the same stock. There are two main types of the Dole horse- the heavier Dole Gudbrandsal and the lighter Dole trotter, although today they are interbred quite commonly. The Dole Gudbrandsdal got most of its current characteristics from a stallion called Brimen. They are usually used for agricultural and pack work. With mechanization advancing, the number of these horses began to decline, but with the establishment of their breeding center,  they started to increase in number again.

Both types of Dole horse have to undergo tests and grading and the heavier Dole is judged on its pulling power and trot.  The lower legs and feet are x-rayed to determine any weaknesses that would prevent the horse from being used for breeding purposes. The lighter horses, the Dole Trotters, have to have performed well on the racetrack to be used for breeding purposes.  The trotting strain of the Doles developed through experimentation through different breed crosses. One of the most successful ones involved an English horse named Odin, who had been described as both a Thoroughbred and a Norfolk Trotter.

Odin produced a lighter type of horse with a better trot stride that maintained the power of the hindquarters. Odin is in all modern Dole pedigrees. Other stallions to influence the trotter were Balder, the grandson of Odin, the Arabian Mazarin, Toftebrun and Dovre, who is registered as being the foundation sire of the Dole Trotter. The Dole Trotter is a little bit larger than the heavier Dole Gudbrandsdal and has a more refined head, but the types are similar in many ways. Typically, the Dole breeds have a crested neck with strong, powerful shoulders and hindquarters, with the inclination of a long back. The heavier Dole has short legs with short, dense cannon bones with moderate feathering. The Dole Trotter is noted for its stamina and endurance.

Return to Horse Breeds page