Breed Profile- Haflinger


The Haflinger is a breed with ancient roots and, due to its geographical isolation, has remined true to type. The breed originated around the village of Haflinger in the Etschlander Mountains of the southern Austrian Tyrol. The breed can be traced back to Arabian bloodlines as well as a variety of coldblooded lines.

The early roots of the Haflinger are not exactly known, but from the late 1860’s, their history has been well documented. The prepotent Arabian Stallion El Bedavie XXII, was introduced to the breed in 1868, and his son, Follie (foaled in 1874) is considered the breed’s founding sire. Today, four of the five main bloodlines can still be traced back to El Bedavi’s offspring. All modern purebred Haflingers must trace their ancestry directly to Follie through seven different stallion lines: A, B, M, N, S, ST, and W.

During the years of World War II, there was a significant shift in breeding practices, as pack horses were needed by the military and a shorter draftier Haflinger fit the bill. Postwar, the height and refinement of the breed has returned, with an emphasis on developing a small horse that is versatile for both riding and driving, with a strong constitution, a solid conformation with substantial bone, and an uncomplicated personality.

The Jenesien Stud Farm located in Austria is the main centre of breeding for the Haflinger breed. The state managed stud carefully monitors the breeding stock. Colts undergo a rigorous examination and only the very best are allowed to stand at stud.

The Haflinger is a tough mountain breed and they are strong, sturdy sure footed and very intelligent. They make excellent mounts for both children and adults alike. They have attractive heads, large kind eyes, and small alert ears. They are typically short in the leg with broad, strong backs and muscled quarters. They should be powerful through the shoulder and deep through the chest. They should not exceed 14 hands and are often slightly smaller. They are nearly always chestnut in color ranging from light to rust and have flaxen mane and tail. The breed has been described as being “ a prince in front and a peasant behind

The modern Haflinger is now found all over the world, active in such varied uses as draft work, packing, light harness and combined driving, western and trail riding, endurance riding, dressage and jumping, vaulting and therapeutic riding programs. Haflingers hold their own in competition with other breeds, often showing surprising athleticism and strength for their size.

Haflingers are being discovered by the horse loving public who want an equine companion that is safe, versatile, dependable and beautiful. The Haflinger horse captures hearts and enriches lives, as it has for centuries.