Dutch Draft


PetMD Editorial

Published Dec. 20, 2009

Sometimes called the Nederlandsche Trekpaard, the Dutch Draft originates from Holland. Often used for heavy draft work, it is the heaviest of all Dutch horse breeds. Due to modern industrialization, however, few Dutch Draft horses exist today.


Physical Characteristics


The Dutch Draft is a massive, solidly built horse. It was bred primarily for draft work, so the governing society for the breed, The Royal Society, purposely choose well-developed stock for the breeding program.

Ideally, the Dutch draft should measure 16 hands tall (64 inches, 162.5 centimeters) and have well-defined withers, hind quarters, and loins. Its legs should be muscular, while its hooves must be strong and firm. The most common coat colors for the Dutch Draft are bay and gray, although black is sometimes seen.


Personality and Temperament


The Dutch Draft’s most exceptional quality is not its strength or its size, but its disposition. It is a quiet horse that is is docile, obedient, and undemanding. Despite the fact the Dutch Draft can act quickly when the situation demands, its movements are unhurried and precise.

History and Background


The Royal Society for the preservation of the Dutch Draft Horse was formed on December 22, 1914. This society manages the stud book for the Dutch Draft as well as the Haflinger horse (another horse breed from Holland).


The Dutch Draft horse was developed by breeding Zeeland with Belgian horses as well as some Belgian Ardennes. Many of the horses settled in the provinces of North Brabant and Zeeland, where they are popular for carrying heavy loads of marine clay and helping farmers in their daily duties. However, as the use of cars and machines increased, the demand for heavy horses, such as the Dutch Draft, decreased. Most of the Dutch Draft horses that exist today are used for farm work.

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