PetMD Editorial

. Reviewed by Courtnee Morton, DVM
Updated Aug. 22, 2023

As its name suggests, the Finnhorse originates from Finland, and is mainly used for riding, trot-racing, and light draft duty. A versatile horse, it is also referred to as Finnish Universal in its native country for its wide range of talents.

Physical Characteristics

The strong, muscular Finnhorse ranges from 14.2 to 15.3 hands tall on average. It has strong legs and tough hooves. Although its coat is generally chestnut colored with white markings with flaxen mane and tail, some bay, palomino, black and gray Finnhorses exist.

Personality and Temperament

Though lively, the Finnhorse is very obedient and easy to train. It has both impressive speed and endurance. While it is on the smaller side, it is the quickest cold-blooded trotter, and can pull heavier loads than some draft breeds.

History and Background

The Finnhorse is a descendant of the northern European domestic horse. Although the principle of pure breeding was started by the stud book in the 1890s, it was closed in 1907, and the Suomen Hipps began the current breeding records. The biggest change to the breed occurred in 1924, when it was ordered that there should be two breed branches in Finland: a heavy working horse for draft and forestry, and lighter type suitable for racing and riding.

The number of Finnhorses decreased after 1950. However, a revival in equine sports in the 1970s eventually led to a decision that gave the riding type of the Finnhorse a separate branch of the stud book. Today, roughly 40% of trot-racing horses in Finland are Finnhorses; they have also become popular for a wide range of other disciplines.

Health and Care

Overall, the Finnhorse is a hearty and durable breed. Regular veterinary care, including vaccines, dental care, deworming, and hoof care should be maintained to increase longevity. Individuals used for racing or hard work may be more predisposed to arthritis.

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