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North Swedish Horse

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North Swedish Horse
Conservation status
Other names
  • Swedish: Nordsvensk Brukshäst
  • Swedish: Nordsvensk Häst
Country of originSweden
  • 550–750 kg[3]: 491 
  • Male:
    average 700 kg[2]
  • Female:
    average 600 kg[2]
  • 152–158 cm[3]: 491 
  • Male:
    average 157 cm[2]
  • Female:
    average 154 cm[2]
Coloursolid colours, striped dun

The North Swedish Horse or Swedish: Nordsvensk Brukshäst is a Swedish breed of small heavy horse. It is closely related to the similar Dølehest breed of Norway.[4]: 282  It was traditionally used for forestry and agricultural work. Lighter lines are bred for harness racing, and are registered in the stud-book of the Svensk Kallblodstravare (Swedish Coldblood Trotter).[3]: 482 [5]



The origins of the North Swedish Horse are not clear. It appears to derive from selective breeding of local horses, possibly with some influence from Friesian stock in the distant past.[3]: 491  During the nineteenth century there was considerable cross-breeding of Swedish rural horses with imported stock of various types, both light and heavy, to the point that it was feared that the original type might be lost.[6] In Dalarna a local veterinary surgeon named Wilhelm Hallander Hedemora started a movement to recover and preserve the remaining stock. Dølehest stallions were imported from Norway, and in 1900 the breed was officially recognised as the Nordsvenska Hästen.[6] In 1903 a stud farm was established at Wången [sv], in Alsen in Krokom Municipality in Jämtland.[7]: 82  A stud-book was started in 1909, and the first volume published in 1915.[6]

In 1966 the breed was divided into two sub-types – a lighter type suitable for trotting, and a heavier one better suited to forestry work.[7]: 82 

In the twenty-first century, breeding of the North Swedish Horse is strictly controlled, and animals intended for breeding are thoroughly tested, principally for good character, pulling capacity and fertility. The legs and hooves are examined by X-ray.[5]


Stallion and mare

The North Swedish Horse is agile and easy to train. Its conformation is compact and robust, while being relatively light for a draught horse. Regarding its small size it is very strong and durable, and it has an energetic, long-strided trot. The horses are gentle and willing, long-lived and generally healthy.[5]



The North Swedish Horse is one of the few cold-blood breeds used in harness racing.[5] Lighter North Swedish lines bred as trotters are registered in the stud-book of the Svensk Kallblodstravare or Swedish Coldblood Trotter.[3]: 482  A world speed record for coldblood trotters of 1:17.9 per kilometre was set in 2005 by Järvsöfaks, who was partly of Swedish and partly of Dølehest lineage.[7]: 82 [8][9]

Heavier North Swedish Horses are well suited to agricultural and forestry work.[5] They are also used for recreational riding and driving.[10]: 72 


  1. ^ Barbara Rischkowsky, D. Pilling (eds.) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Accessed July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Breed at a sheet: Nordsvensk Brukshäst / Sweden (Horse). Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed July 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J.G. Hall, D. Phillip Sponenberg (2016). Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding (sixth edition). Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 9781780647944.
  4. ^ Elwyn Hartley Edwards (1994). The Encyclopedia of the Horse. London; New York; Stuttgart; Moscow: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0751301159.
  5. ^ a b c d e Lucy Turner (2008). "The unusual suspects". Horse & Rider (39): 124.
  6. ^ a b c Kjell Olsson ([s.d.]). Den nordsvenska hästens ursprung (in Swedish). Västerfärnebo: Föreningen Nordsvenska Hästen. Accessed July 2023.
  7. ^ a b c Elwyn Hartley Edwards (2016). The Horse Encyclopedia. New York, New York: DK Publishing. ISBN 9781465451439.
  8. ^ Järvsöfaks S-94-0413 (in Finnish). Sukuposti.net pedigree database. Archived 19 June 2010.
  9. ^ "Järvsöfaks (SE) at The Blood Bank pedigree database". Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  10. ^ Élise Rousseau, Yann Le Bris, Teresa Lavender Fagan (2017). Horses of the World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691167206.