Breed Profile: The Haflinger

Last Updated on March 4, 2022 by Allison Price

We take a closer look…

The beautiful Haflinger is a beloved breed known for their friendly nature, chestnut coats, versatility and durability.

The breed was born in the foothills the Alps in 19th century. It has brought joy to equestrians all over the world for 150 years. Let’s learn more…


Modern Haflinger’s story is simple. Each member of the breed can trace his pedigree back to the 1870s as well as the original Folie, a golden stallion.

The famed horse was born in 1874 at the South Tyrol state stud farm in Hafling. Since then, we have enjoyed their chestnut coat, short stature, light mane, and tail.

In the years that followed, the breed has seen some changes. This light mountain pony evolved into a draft-type breed because of their use in World Wars II, even with very young horses.


After World War II, a closed studbook was established. They have been established all over the globe in the years that followed. Today, all Haflingers trace their lineage through one or more of the seven stallion lines to Folie.

Many believe that their origins can be traced back to the sixth-century, when Eastern Goth troops might have abandoned their Arabian horses and Barb horses in the Tyrolean Valleys of Austria and Northern Italy as they fled from the Byzantine Empire.

Some others link the Haflinger with a stallion from the Kingdom of Burgundy that was presented to Louis IV’s son to celebrate his nuptials with the Princess of Tyrol, 1342.

Another possibility is that they may be descended from the Etsch Valley’s diminutive mountain ponies in the Middle Ages.


Haflingers are always chestnut and can be found in a variety of colors, from a rich liver or golden hue to a light yellow. The tail and mane are either white or flaxen.

The breed’s ideal height is between 13.2 to 15.0 hands. It has a refined head, light poll, and a refined head.

Their large, forward-facing eyes are well-lit and their nostrils have good flexion at each poll. The neck is medium in length, shorter towards the head, and not too bulky.

Although haflingers can have very small white markings on their faces, white leg markings are acceptable and common in breeders. They are characterized by a deep chest and strong backs of medium length. The hindquarters are slightly sloping and have good muscle, but are not divided.

They have clearly defined joints, strong knee joints and hocks. Legs should be straight and well proportioned. Hooves must also be small and hard.They are
A highly appreciated


Haflingers make great family horses and are easy to handle. This breed is known for its gentle and kind nature. The breed is calm and does not become overly excited or spook easily. The Haflinger is a horse that can be ridden by riders of all levels and ages due to its calm nature.

They are curious and friendly and they are intelligent, which has both its pros and cons. It is intelligent and can learn new skills quickly. However, it may sometimes outwit its owner.

Sometimes they can be stubborn and wilful. According to Haflingers judges temperament is as important as conformation. Breeding horses with difficult temperaments are discouraged just like those with conformation problems.


There are two types of Haflingers. One is shorter and heavier and used for draft work. The other is taller and lighter and used for pleasure riding and light driving.

This breed is strong and healthy and can live and work longer than most others. Their horses mature slowly and are often not started before they turn four years of age in Austria. You can still find haflingers working into their 40s and 30s!

Haflingers can be susceptible to Equine Degenerative Myeloencephalopathy (GDM), which can cause ataxia or even death.

Haflingers, while healthy horses, require less food than heavier breeds to keep them happy.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!