17 Warmblood Horse Breeds With Pictures


In our modern world, there are currently over four hundred breeds of horses, with each one ranging in size, coat color and ability.

Because of this, distinguishing each breed can be a long and complicated process, especially when it comes to identifying each horse by its own unique characteristics.

These days, many horse breeds can be categorized into three separate blood groups, which include cold bloods, warmbloods and hot bloods. 

So if you have ever wanted to know which horse breeds fall into which category, then you’ve come to the right place.

In the following article, we have compiled a list of 17 warmblood horse breeds, to help you identify the different warmblood breeds currently available.

We have also included useful pictures to help you further understand how these breeds will appear if you encounter them. 

So if you want to learn more about the complex world of equine genetics, just take a look at our list and you will find everything you need to know.  

What Is A Warmblood Horse Breed?

The term ‘warmblood’ refers to a group of horse breeds that primarily originate in countries across continental Europe.

As a definition, warmblood is used to distinguish certain breeds from both heavy set draft horses (otherwise known as cold bloods) and light saddle horses, such as Thoroughbreds and Arabians (sometimes referred to as colds bloods).

Although warmbloods are commonly descended from heavier agricultural breeds, the term is not used to exclusively describe horse breeds that are the direct result of a pairing between a hot and cold-blooded horse. 

As a collective, warmbloods can often be identified by a range of distinctive characteristics, such as their middle-weight bodies and small heads.

Warmbloods are also much larger in size than hot bloods and display a more refined character than cold bloods.

For this reason, warmbloods have quickly become a favorite horse breed among equine enthusiasts, with their various accomplishments being recorded throughout history. 

These days, warmblood horses are commonly used by equestrians during Olympic sporting events, with professionals preferring to ride warmbloods due to their athletic ability and gentle temperaments, which are believed to be the result of the horse’s breeding and combined genetics. 

So now that you know what a warmblood horse breed is, let’s take a look at our list of the 17 warmblood horse breeds with pictures…

17 Warmblood Horse Breeds (With Pictures) 

In the following list, we have compiled a selection of warmblood horse breeds from around the world, while also providing detailed information concerning each breed’s creation and temperament. 

Let’s take a look… 

1. Swiss Warmblood

  • Coat Colors: black, bay, buckskin, dun, roan, champagne, perlino, cremello, grullo, brown, palomino, chestnut and grey
  • Average Lifespan: 28-30 years 
  • Size: 15.1 hands to 16.2 hands 
  • Weight: up to 1500 pounds 

Overview

Otherwise known as an Einsiedler, the Swiss Warmblood is a breed of horse that takes its name from the Benedictine Monastery of Einsiedeln, where it is believed that the breed was first created.

Having existed for hundreds of years, the Swiss Warmblood can be found throughout history and carries centuries of experience within its genetics. 

As a horse breed, Swiss Warmbloods are believed to have descended from both Anglo-Saxon horses and Yorkshire Coach horses, with the breed displaying the same characteristics as its ancestors, such as their intelligence, alertness, loyalty, devotion and liveliness. 

These days, Swiss Warmbloods can commonly be found in riding competitions throughout the world, with the horse breed performing particularly well in categories such as dressage, endurance and hunting. 

2. Rhenish Warmblood

  • Coat Color: chestnut (and other block colors) 
  • Average Lifespan: 25-30 years 
  • Size: 15 to 17 hands 
  • Weight: up to 1500 pounds 

Overview

Otherwise known as the German Warmblood or Rhineland Warmblood, the Rhenish Warmblood originally began its existence as a heavy breed used primarily for agricultural work and hard labour, particularly in regions such as Saxony, Rhineland and Westphalia. 

As a breed, Rhenish Warmbloods are considered to be capable riding horses and are known in the equestrian world for their competence, agility, courage and versatility. 

Because of this, the breed is commonly sought after for both recreational and professional riding, with the horse’s temperament being cited as the main reason for its popularity and reputation. 

These days, Rhenish Warmbloods are used in many riding categories, with their well-balanced gait making them the perfect breed for dressage. 

3. Cleveland Bay

  • Coat Color: bay with black markings
  • Average Lifespan: 24-25 years 
  • Size: 16 to 16.2 hands 
  • Weight: 1200-1500 pounds 

Overview

Considered one of Britain’s oldest warmblood breeds, the Cleveland Bay takes its name from the distinctive color of its coat, as well as the Cleveland District of Yorkshire where it first originated. 

With a lineage that can be traced back to the 17th century, the Cleveland Bay is a horse breed with a storied history, with its modern descendants carrying genes from Chapmands, Barbs, Thoroughbreds and Arabians. 

During the time of its creation, the horse was primarily used to draw imperial carriages and do agricultural work. However, all this changed when the breed made history as one of the first horses to compete in a professional show-jumping competition. 

These days, the Cleveland Bay is considered to be an endangered breed and has remained a popular horse of choice among the British royal family for centuries. 

4. American Warmblood

  • Coat Color: All block colors
  • Average Lifespan: 25-35 years
  • Size: 15 to 17 hands
  • Weight: 1400-1500 pounds

Overview

The American Warmblood is a breed of warmblood horse that is primarily bred for equine competitions, with the elegant horse often being favored for both its calm temperament and well-behaved nature. 

As a breed, the American Warmblood was purely created to display the desired characteristics of a powerful racehorse, with their obedience and devotion going unmatched by other popular horse breeds. 

Beyond this, the American Warmblood can also trace its origins to the 1900s and is said to carry genes from the European Warmblood, Thoroughbred and Arabian. 

For this reason, American Warmbloods have solidified their position in the world of equine sports, with the breed commonly being used in categories such as dressage, eventing, show-jumping and combined riding. 

5. Danish Warmblood

  • Coat Color: black, bay, dark brown and chestnut
  • Average Lifespan: 25-30 years
  • Size: 15.3 to 17 hands
  • Weight: 800-1100 pounds

Overview

First originating among the grassy hills of Denmark, the Danish Warmblood is a modern horse breed that was first created when Danish mares were bred with elite stallions from various European backgrounds. 

As a breed, the Danish Warmblood has a long history and has been used for a variety of different purposes, from agricultural work and transportation to warfare and recreational entertainment. 

These days, modern Danish Warmbloods are primarily used for equestrian competitions, with their passive temperament and majestic physique making them the ideal horse breed for categories such as riding, show-jumping and dressage. 

6. Gelderland Horse

  • Coat Color: chestnut, bay, black and grey
  • Average Lifespan: 25-30 years
  • Size: 15.2 to 16 hands
  • Weight: 800-1000 pounds

Overview

Sometimes referred to as the Gelderlander, the Gelderland is a breed of heavy warmblood horse that first originated in the province of Gelderland, which is situated in the northern Netherlands. 

As a breed, Gelderland horses are favored by equestrians for their effective high stepping trot, as well as intelligence, adaptability and overall peaceful nature. 

Featuring traits and characteristics inherited from Norma, Norfolk, Andalusian, Holstein and Neopolitan horses, the Gelderlander can trace its long history back to the early 18th century, where it was primarily used for agricultural purposes and transportation. 

These days, Gelderland horses are used in equestrian sports around the world, with the horse’ physical grace and majesty making it suitable for categories such as driving, dressage, riding and show-jumping. 

7. Irish Sport Horse

  • Coat Color: black, white, chestnut, roan, grey, brown, buckskin, champagne and other block colors
  • Average Lifespan: 29-30 years
  • Size: 15 to 17 hands
  • Weight: 1200-1500 pounds

Overview

Otherwise known as the Irish Hunter or Irish Warmblood, the Irish Sport Horse is generally considered to be one of the toughest warmblood breeds in the world and is known universally for its athleticism, courage, jumping skills and soundness. 

Born from the combination of an Irish Draught and a Thoroughbred, the horse breed was originally created for its running and jumping capabilities and is said to have inherited its athletic genes from  Hanoverian, Selle Francais and Trakehner horses. 

Featuring some of the best genetics for equine sports, the Irish Warmblood is known to compete courageously in every category and performs particularly well in terms of equestrian discipline. 

These days, the Irish Sport Horse is used in a variety of different competitions and has been entered into competitive categories such as riding, show-jumping and eventing. 

8. Bavarian Warmblood

  • Coat Color: black, bay and sorrel
  • Average Lifespan: 18-20 years
  • Size: 15.2 to 16.2 hands
  • Weight: 1200-1300 pounds

Overview

Originating in southern Germany, the Bavarian Warmblood is a breed of sport horse that is internationally known for its powerful agility and efficient performance. 

First bred during the early 20th century, this horse breed was originally used to plough the land and carry heavy loads for their owners. However, this all changed when it became obvious that the horse was the perfect riding breed for numerous Olympic events. 

Due to the breed’s size, conformation and temperament, they have remained a popular horse among World Cup equestrian teams and are known to excel in various competitive categories such as dressage, show-jumping, combined riding and other activities. 

9. Westphalian

  • Coat Color: black, bay, grey and chestnut
  • Average Lifespan: 25-30 years
  • Size: 15.2 to 17.2 hands
  • Weight: 1000-1300 pounds 

Overview

Sometimes spelt as Westfalen, the Westphalian is a German breed of warmblood horse that was first introduced in the northwestern region of Westphalia. 

Known for its beautiful appearance and desirable temperament, the horse breed has continued to grow in popularity over the years and is now used for competitive equine sports due to its natural athletic talent. 

Distinguished by their large size, Westphalians were born from the combination of Oldenburg, Hanoverian and Anglo-Saxon genetics and were once commonly used to plough fields and pull wagons. 

These days, the modern Westphalian is bred exclusively for its athletic abilities and temperament, with the breed being particularly popular in categories such as driving and hunting.

Although many equestrians agree that the horse’s true talents lie in the world of dressage and show-jumping. 

10. Swedish Warmblood

  • Coat Color: grey, roan, tobiano, pinto and brown
  • Average Lifespan: 20-25 years
  • Size: 16 to 17 hands
  • Weight: approximately 1025 pounds

Overview

Originating among the snowy mountains of Sweden, this warmblood horse breed won the hearts of the public with its performances in national and international competitions, where it was praised for its performance and servitude. 

Born from the combination of Spanish and Friesian horses, this breed is known for its quiet and friendly nature, with their agility and swiftness making them the perfect horses for racing and ranch-based work. 

These days, the beautiful breed is used in a variety of different equestrian sports, with the horse excelling at riding, racing, jumping, eventing and dressage.

To date, the Swedish Warmblood has been the winner of many Olympic medals and has received numerous awards and honours for its work. 

11. Belgian Warmblood

  • Coat Color: chestnut, black, bay, grey, brown, tobiano and pinto
  • Average Lifespan: 25-30 years
  • Size: 15-17 hands
  • Weight: 1100-1300 pounds

Overview

As you have probably guessed from the name, this breed of warmblood horse first originated in Belgium and was originally introduced through the combination of Hanoverian and Holsteiner genes. 

Distinguished by their tenacious attitudes, devoted loyalty and key intelligence, these well-bred horses are primarily used for equine sporting events and have produced many notable medalists throughout the years. 

For this reason, Belgian Warmbloods are in high demand among professional equestrians, especially for competitive categories such as riding, three-day eventing and show-jumping.

Probably one of the most notable Belgian Warmbloods was a horse called Big Ben, who won over 1.27 million euros over the course of his athletic career. 

12. Trakehner

  • Coat Color: black, chestnut, grey and bay
  • Average Lifespan: 20-25 years
  • Size: 15.3 to 17 hands
  • Weight: 1200-1500 pounds

Overview

The next warmblood horse breed on our list comes from the land of East Prussia, where it was first developed during the 1800s by cross-breeding English Thoroughbred and Arabian genetics. 

Famous for their distinctive ‘floating trot’, Trakehners are considered to be one of the more refined warmblood breeds, with the horse’s elegance and agility making it the prime candidate for various equine sporting events. 

As a breed, Trakehners are fast, powerful and keen to please, which has made them a popular horse for categories such as show-jumping, as well as a whole range of other Olympic activities. 

13. Selle Francais

  • Coat Color: roan, chestnut, grey and bay
  • Average Lifespan: 25-30 years
  • Size: 15.1 to 17.3 hands
  • Weight: 1100-1300 pounds

Overview

Pronounced Sell-fron-SAY, the Selle Francais is a well-known breed of warmblood sport horse, which first originated in the turmoil of 19th century France.

Distinguished by its long and storied history, the horse carries centuries of experience in its genetics and is said to have been created from a mixture of different breeds. 

Originally birthed from the combination of native French mares and Norfolk stallions, the Selle Francais gene pool has only continued to grow since its conception, with modern breeds now featuring a diverse range of genes. 

Known for their energetic and passionate natures, Selle Francais are particularly popular for their athletic prowess, with the breed being born with a strong physique and well-balanced gait. 

These days, this French sport horse is considered one of the best breeds for jumping events and combined driving, with the Selle Francais breed accumulating many Olympic medals and awards during its long history. 

14. Dutch Warmblood

  • Coat Color: black, grey, bay and chestnut
  • Average Lifespan: 18-20 years
  • Size: 15-17 hands
  • Weight: 1400-1450 pounds

Overview

These famous warmblood horses were first developed in the Netherlands, where they were created through the combination of native Dutch breeds such as the Gelderlander and the Groningen.

Distinguished by their strength and stamina, the Dutch Warmblood was then further improved through the addition of Thoroughbred genes. 

Since then, the Dutch Warmblood has made a name for itself in the world of competitive equine sports, with the horse breed excelling in categories such as jumping, driving and dressage. 

Beyond its dominance and strength, the breed has also been praised by equestrians for its docile nature and is said to be one of the most reliable horse breeds in existence. 

15. Oldenburg

  • Coat Color: brown, grey, chestnuts, bay and black
  • Average Lifespan: 25-30 years
  • Size: 16 to 17.2 hands
  • Weight: 1500-1700 pounds

Overview

Otherwise known as an Oldenburger, this warmblood horse breed was first created as a multi-purpose workhorse and originated in the German countryside.

Known for its large stature and attractive appearance, the Oldenburg has since become a popular sport horse and can be easily identified by its high-set tail. 

During the olden days, Oldenburgs were primarily used for labour and harnesses. However, the Oldenburg has since solidified its place among other notable horse breeds due to its natural athleticism and kind nature. 

These days, the breed can commonly be found in various shows and competitions, where it performs particularly well in riding and dressage. Favoured for their lively dispositions, Oldunburgs are also distinguished by their readiness to work and are cherished by their various riders. 

16. Holsteiner

  • Coat Color: dark bay, black and brown
  • Average Lifespan: 25-30 years
  • Size: 16 to 17 hands
  • Weight: 1020-1025 pounds

Overview 

Holsteiner horses first originated in the Schleswig-Holstein region of northern Germany, which is the territory that the breed takes its name from.

Believed to be the oldest warmblood breed in the world, the Holsteiner can trace its lineage back to the early 13th century, where it was first developed through the combination of various genes. 

Since then, Holsteiner horses have made their owners proud in various tournaments and international competitions. Distinguished by their mild temperament and athletic talent, Holsteiners are known to excel in numerous equine sports, such as dressage, show-jumping and hunting. 

Because of this, the horse breed is favored by many professional equestrians and are often praised for their intelligence, work ethic and rideability. 

17. Hanoverian

  • Coat Color: Chestnut, black and grey
  • Average Lifespan: 20-35 years
  • Size: 15 to 18 hands
  • Weight: 750-1100 pounds 

Overview

First developed in the former German kingdom of Hanover, in the state of Lower Saxony, the Hanover warmblood is widely considered to be one of the finest warmbloods in the world and can often be identified by its stunning bone structure and endless stamina. 

These days, Hanovers are used in a variety of different equestrian sports, with their docile natures and correct conformation making them the ideal breed for categories such as dressage, show-jumping, hunting and eventing. 

Known for their jumping excellence, Hanoverians can often be found competing in the Olympics games and have even been the recipient of several prestigious medals, with a notable Hanoverian winning the gold for its jump in 1992. 

Recent Posts