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The Schwarzwalder Fuchs draft horse (translation = Black Forest Chestnut), was developed in the Black Forest region of Germany, and traces to a stallion born in 1875.
Before the Schwarzwalder Fuchs emerged as a breed, draft horses were bred in Germany’s Black Forest region for many centuries. In the early days of forming the breed, pretty much all colors were represented, but eventually breeders settled for the dark chestnut color with flaxen mane and tail, which became the trade mark for this breed. The breed traces back mostly to a stallion that was born in 1875. By 1896, the breeders had united in the Black Forest Breeders Association, and they proudly exhibited their horses as early as at the German Agrar Exposition (DLG) in 1906, back then under the name Black Forest Horses.
Stallions from a number of draft horse breeds were influential in the formative years of the Schwarzwalder Fuchs up until after World War II. After the war, the numbers went down, but there was an increase again in the 1970s. For improved genetic variability, outcrosses with Austrian Noriker stallions were tried, and later outcrosses with Freiberger stallions, a light Swiss draft breed.
Motorization has brought all the draft breeds more or less to the brink of extinction, and the chestnuts from the Black Forest are no exception. However, they found and sometimes still find a job as logging horses. Logging with horses is so much easier on the environment, and that is why light draft horses like the Schwarzwalder Fuchs are still somewhat in demand. The Black Forest region had many small farmers, and has many steep hillsides, and a small but strong draft horse was often handier than a machine.
The Schwarzwalder Fuchs is a light, medium-sized draft breed that looks a lot like a Haflinger, but is somewhat bigger, about 15 hands, and the stallions often grow a bit taller than that. The breed does not have the clumsiness often found in other draft horse breeds, it even shows some refinement. It is compact, has little feathers on the legs, tough feet, a broad hip and a good-natured disposition. The Schwarzwalder Fuchs has an almost white mane and tail, which contrasts attractively with its dark, reddish-brown body color.
The Black Forest has always been a tourist attraction, and with the booming tourist industry, its flashy horses have found a new way of making a living, pulling tourists in coaches and sleighs through their beautiful home country.