By PetMD Editorial on Dec. 6, 2009

The Lipizzan, also known as the Lipizzaner or Lipitsa, originated in Austria. A rare horse breed, it is used today mainly as a riding horse.

Physical Characteristics


The Lipizzan has a compact yet well-formed body. Its head is long and straight, marked by a pronounced jaw, expressive eyes, and large ears; its neck, meanwhile, is long, muscular, and arched.

A proud horse breed, its elegance is demonstrated by its muscular legs, smooth gait, and high knee action, which also accounts for the comfortable riding the Lipizzan. On average, a Lipizzan is 15 to 16.1 hands (60-64 inches, 152-163 centimeters) tall. The back of the Lipizzan is long and sometimes hollow. Its croup, however, is short, broad, and slightly sloped.

The most common coat color for the Lipizzan is white, though it generally is born gray, only becoming white once it has matured.

Personality and Temperament


The Lipizzan is said to be a bit stubborn. One, therefore, needs great patience and expertise when training this type of horse. Instill good behavior by rewarding it treats for good behavior, but don't be afraid to sternly admonish a Lipizzan it misbehaves (though corporal punishment is not advised).


History and Background

Often associated with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, the Lipizzan is the precious jewel among equestrian riders. The breed takes its name from the village of Lipizza, near the northeast border of Italy. Now a part of Yugoslavia, Lipizza belonged to Italy before World War II; even earlier, when the breed was being developed, Lipizza was considered an Austrian territory. For this reason, it is generally acknowledged that the Lipizzan is an Austrian horse breed.

Stud books for the Lipizzan have only been kept since 1701, though some remain incomplete. Unfortunately, the Lipizzan has become a rare breed, making it even more popular among riders.

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