The Rhenish was developed as a breed in the Rhineland in the latter quarter of the nineteenth century. Local heavy horses from Rhineland, Westphalia and Saxony were used, but the main foundation stock came from Belgium. The Belgian horse was imported in large numbers to establish what was to become Germany's most numerous breed of heavy horses. Some Ardennes blood was also used.
The Rhenish is similar to the Belgian, with a large, muscular body. Its head is plain, and the neck is short and strong. The body is compact, broad and deep, and the hindquarters are very muscular. The limbs are strong and short and have a fair amount of feather. They can be chestnut, with flaxen mane and tail, red roan, or bay roan. They stand between 16 and 17 hands (64 and 68 inches, 163 and 173 cm) high.
These are the horse breeds considered to be wholly or partly of German origin.
Many have complex or obscure histories, so inclusion here does not necessarily imply that a breed is predominantly or exclusively German.