The Schleswig Heavy Draft takes its
name from the Schleswig Holstein region of Northern Germany, where
it originated. It is a relatively young breed, and the Society of
Schleswig Horse Breeding Clubs was not formed until 1891. The breed
developed from Jutland horses, and then further developed through
crosses between Danish horses, Yorkshire Coach Horses and the English
Thoroughbred. The breed can be traced back to one Jutland stallion,
one called Munkedal, and his descendants, Hovding and Prins of Jylland.
However, selective breeding to improve the stock was not started
until the 1860s, when the Suffolk Punch stallion Oppenheim LXII
was used, and there are traces of his influence in the modern Schleswig.
After the Second World War, infusions of Boulonnais and Breton were
Although the Schleswig is a young breed,
its ancestors were commonly used to carry knights in their
heavy armor. Later on, Cleveland Bay and Thoroughbred blood was
added to make them more suitable as artillery horses. During the
end of the 19th century, the Schleswig was in popular demand for
pulling trams and buses and proved to be a very versatile breed,
also excelling at working the land. As with many of the draft breeds,
the Schleswig has dramatically reduced in numbers and it is believed
that there are only about 10 pure bred stallions left. This is a
great shame; they are a useful type of horse with a particularly
good temperament, being docile, and yet also active and wiling,
They are a medium-sized draft horse, and in some instances a second
type has developed of a medium weight horse also suitable for riding.
In appearance, they have a cobby type
build and are one of the lighter draft horses. They have an attractive
head, which has become more refined over the years, and has an honest,
coblike outlook. The neck is short and muscular, typical of the
draft animal, and is set to very powerful and muscular shoulders.
They are broad and deep through the chest, have a rather long body
which can have a flattish rib cage, and rounded quarters. They have
short legs with good strong joints and quite heavy feathering. They
invariably have rather soft, flat feet. Predominantly chestnut in
color, they stand between 15.2 and 16 hands high.
Return to Horse Breeds page