Dulmen Pony

By PetMD Editorial on Dec. 20, 2009

The Dülmen Pony is quite a rare breed. Most of them can be found in Germany, particularly in Westphalia -- their place of origin. Today the Dülmen Pony is mainly used for riding.


Physical Characteristics


The Dülmen Ponies come in several colors such as Grullo or mouse-grey, brown, black, and chestnut. Some have heavy manes, but these are said to be the ones who have been domesticated. The average height of a Dülmen Pony ranges from 12 to 13 hands (48-52 inches, 122-132 centimeters).


Personality and Temperament


The Dülmen Pony is a hardy and self-reliant horse that has great stamina. It is intelligent and once tamed, good-natured and obedient.


History and Background


The Dülmen Pony, like most horse breeds, got its name from its place of origin. The Merfelder Bruch, which is located in the western part of the town of Dülmen, is the only breeding ground for these wild ponies. This is due to this area’s peculiar combination of heath, moor, and wood. In fact, this is the last pony breed of German origin that lives naturally in the wild and has never gone through selective breeding.


The Dülmen Pony breed is said to have been around for more than 600 years, although the first record of the breed only dates back to 1316. Wild horses at that time were being persecuted, but the Lord of Dülmen obtained rights for them, thus providing refuge for these wild horses. As human settlements grew and spread, however, the reservations for these horses inevitably became smaller and smaller until the Dukes of Croy decided to collect all of the horses and give them refuge elsewhere.


The Dülmen Pony was transported to and given a new home in Merfelder Bruch of the Wildbahn, an area for wild animals. Nearly 900 acres in size, the area contained everything that the ponies needed to survive on their own, including pastures and watering holes. The Dülmen Ponies have never had artificial shelters and have never been given supplemental food; thus, they are completely wild. These ponies now run in herds 300 members strong.


Some zoologists claim, however, that the Dulmen Ponies are actually not "wild" because of the marks of domestication that can be seen in them. For instance, some Dülmen Ponies exhibit colors and have manes that are not natural to the breed.

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