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Knabstrupper Baron.jpg
Other namesKnabstrup
Country of originDenmark
Distinguishing featuresLeopard complex colouring common
Breed standards

The Knabstrupper, also called Knabstrup horse, is a Danish breed of horse with an unusual range of coat coloration.


The breed is usually around 15.2 to 16 h (62 to 64 inches, 157 to 163 cm), but also pony-sized ones (under 14.2 h (58 inches, 147 cm) are found. Coat patterns range from solid to a full leopard-spotted coat, with many variants in between. The spotted coat is caused by a genetic mechanism called the leopard complex. The spotted color patterns common in the Knabstrupper are seen in other breeds, such as the Appaloosa horse, though the two breeds developed independently of one another. The breed generally has either warmblood or Baroque horse conformation.

Some Knabstruppers are born with solid colors, such as bay or chestnut.[1]


A Knabstrupper being ridden sidesaddle.

The Knabstrupper breed was first established in 1812 in Denmark. A chestnut mare with leopard complex blanket markings was bred to a solid-colored stallion, producing a colt with dramatic spotting. The mare and her son were each bred to many other horses, producing many offspring with spotting and establishing the Knabstrupper as a breed.

This breed was once very popular, but later was crossbred with other horses, and whether any purebreds from this breed remain is not certain. They do well in dressage and show jumping, and are used in general riding, as carriage and as circus horses.[2] In 1971, three Appaloosa stallions were imported to Denmark to add new blood to the Knabstrupper breed.[3]

Knabstruppers today are bred in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Netherland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and most recently, the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.[4]


  1. ^ Knabstrup horse breed information. Retrieved 2.8.09 from
  2. ^ Horse-Owners-World. (2007). Knabstrup. Retrieved 2.8.09 from Archived 2010-11-25 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Some History about The Knabstrup Horse". Knabstrupperforeningen for Danmark. 2005. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  4. ^ "Tiara Equine - The Source for Knabstruppers in Canada". Tiara Equine. Retrieved 2020-09-29.

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