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Other Names: Austrian Tiger Horses

Origin: Austria

Color: These horses are marked like Appaloosas with blankets or leopard spotting. Like Appaloosas in the United State, Pinzgauers can be any base color but the most common base colors seem to be bay roan with extensive blankets, black with a blanket and black leopard.

Avg Height: 15.2 to 16 hh

Avg Weight: 1540 to 1870 lbs

Build: These horses are more heavy-set than an American Appaloosa from their draft ancestry and have a little bit of feather on their lower legs.

Temperament: Their kind, gentle dispositions make them fine companions.

Main use: Although they are still prized as work horses on small farms around Austria, these colorful light drafts are also used as riding horses. They are also used as carriage horses and will certainly stand out in any crowd!

Special abilities: Austria's economy horse has been purely bred in strictest selection for more than 400 years and is one of the few cold-blooded kinds that still exists within a closed natural breeding region. Today's Norican horse is of modern type, it is noble, efficient and usable in many ways. Century-long selection in rough environment has made this animal frugal, good-natured and tough.

History: Near the upper reaches of the Ob River, located in the central region of Russia, nomads owned and bred very rare parti-colored horses, which eventually came to Poland, and from there to Spain as a gift from the Poles. As a result of the use of Spanish stock for upgrading, spotted coat patterns began to appear by the 18th century. These coat patterns are still seen today in the Pinzgauer strain, from the Pinzgau district of Austria. These horses became known as Pinzgauer-Norikers and the stud book for this strain was not established until 1903 with a registration of 450 stallions and over 1,000 mares. The Pinzgauer strain was once recognized as a separate breed. Eventually the spotted horses were brought to Austria in the 1600's. Here the unusually marked horses were in great demand and were regarded as the highest of status symbols. In early paintings of the original mares at the Lipizzan Stud in Lipizza show a number of spotted horses. The spotted horse in Austria became later known as the Noriker-Pinzgauer, a large, heavy, powerful draft-like horse. Later in the 17th century the Noriker-Pinzgauer was brought to the Danish Royal Stud of Frederiksborg. There breeders attempted to create a lighter saddle horse with the same dramatic markings by crossing it with the Frederiksborg. The result caused the spotted breed to near extinction by 1770. This rare spotted color was created in the 15th century by the bishops in Austria. They liked to have a more elegant horse than the farmers, so they mixed Spanish Andalusians to the local-bred Norikers. It was forbidden for farmers to do this. Since the bishops didn't breed many of these horses, the Tigers bloodlines were nearly lost. In the past century, solid Norikers have been used for breeding with Pinzgauers because the lines were too close. Unfortunately this has diluted the spotted factor such that even when breeding two Pinzgauers together, the foal is usually solid. It is only luck to get a spotted one! Because of this, Tigers cost ten times more then a solid Noriker!

For groups, clubs, associations, and links about this breed, please click here.

For Breeders, Farms, and Studs of this breed, click here.

If you have a horse of this breed, and you would like to see your pictures posted here, or if you would like to advertise your business that involves this particular breed, you can also email me.

I'm not perfect, and I never claim to be! If you see anything here that you believe I am wrong about, please feel free to email me. I might not agree with you, but at least I will listen!! :0) Can you fill in any of my blanks? Do you know of information or links that you would like to share with draft animal enthusiasts that you don't see here? Am I missing anything? Let me know at