The Dole Gudbrandsdal is the contribution of Norway to the world of horse breeds. This is one of the oldest breeds of horses that originated from Gudbrandsdal, a big central valley that connects the North Sea coast with the city of Oslo. The horses resemble the Dales and Fell Ponies in their appearance. This breed is basically a draft breed that can be classified into two subtypes: the Dole Gudbrandsdal and the Dole Trotter. This classification is based on the type of work the horses are used for.
The height of the Dole Gudbrandsdal horses ranges from 14.1 to 15 hands. The weight of these horses can vary between 1,190 lbs to 1,390 lbs. The heads of the horses in this breed have a straight profile and are heavy. They have a square muzzle and their forehead is broad. Their short neck is muscular. The withers are broad and are reasonable well pronounced. Their chest is broad and deep. These horses have muscular shoulders that are very strong and slightly sloping. The back of this horse is long. The slightly sloping croup is muscular and wide. Their short legs have great strength and are very muscular. At times, there may be heavy feathering on the legs. The solid joints of these legs are wide and they have very strong hooves.
As compared to the other draft breed, the horses of this breed are smaller. However, these horses are hardy and have tremendous pulling power. These tough creatures are agile and active and display good stamina. They lighter weight horses of this breed have excellent trotting skills.
14.1 - 15 hands
The predominant coat colors of this breed are bay, black and brown. Palomino, dun, gray and chestnut coat colors are also found, though not very frequently. Some horses of this breed, especially the ones in the trotter category may have white markings on their head and legs.
The Dole Gudbrandsdal horses of the heavier type are used for agricultural work on farms. They are also used to do heavy draft work. At times, they are also used in the forests or timber yards to haul timber. The lighter variety of the breed, called the Dole Trotter is used for racing purposes. This breed also played in important role in the development of the North Swedish horse.
The Dole Gudbrandsdal can be considered to be a descendant of the Friesian horses, thanks to the similar conformation between the two breeds. Also, between 400 to 800 AD, the Friesian traders were a common sight in the region of origination of these horses, Oslo and the North Sea Coast.
Odin, which was either a Thoroughbred or a Norfolk Trotter, and Mazarin, an Arabian horse were the two main stallions that are credited with the development of the Dole Gudbrandsdal. In recent times, this breed has seen the infusion of Thoroughbred blood and blood from other draft breeds in order to improve this breed. From the onset of 1941, this breed was classified into two distinct types with each carrying its own studbook. The light weight Dole Trotters were developed by cross breeding these horses with other trotter breeds. A stallion called Dovre is credited with the development of the Dole Trotters.
In modern times, both types of this breed are interbred since the difference between the two types is marginal.