By PetMD Editorial on Dec. 15, 2009

The Heilongkiang horse was developed through an intricate crossbreeding system, the result of which was a sturdy horse that could can adapt to various working environments.


Physical Characteristics


The Heilongkiang breed is known for its good stature. Both its withers and croup are well-proportioned. The hooves, fetlock joints, and hocks of the Heilongkiang are also sturdy, making it resistant to exhaustion. More than half of the population of the Heilongkiang horse breed comprises the riding-draft type. The other half is made up of the draft-riding type. The two main coat colors of this breed are bay and chestnut.




Because of its stable and sturdy physique, the Heilongkiang breed is generally characterized by endurance and strength. It has a strong resistance against common diseases, as it can adapt easily to changing temperatures. Due to its great endurance and strong constitution, it is able to survive and continue working even in conditions of extreme cold and poor forage. Minimal care is therefore required by the Heilongkiang.


History and Background


The Heilongkiang breed originated from the Song-liao plain, a province in Heilongkiang, China.


Traditionally, Song-liao is an agricultural region. Song-liao’s pleasant topography has made its soil rich and very fertile. Song-liao’s dependency on agriculture prompted the need for horses suited to the demands of the land. To answer this need, cross-breeding schemes were developed. Records show that horse breeds such as the Ardennes, the Soviet Heavy Draft, the Vlamidir Heavy Draft, the Orlov Trotter, the Soviet Thoroughbred, the Don, and the Kabarda were used to improve the local stock. The result of the initial crossbreeding efforts were then interbred and crossbred again and again, following a cycle of intricate cross-breeding that ultimately led to the Heilongkiang horse breed.


According to local records, the horse breeds that have the greatest influence on the Heilongkiang are the Ardennes, the Soviet Highkravnaya and the Orlov. Around 1975, after a series of cross-breedings, the Heilongkiang horse breed was finally recognized and established as a distinct breed.

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