Friesian Horse Profile: An Elegant and Powerful Breed

Published April 7, 2021
Black Friesian Horse

The Friesian horse, or the Frizian, is honest, noble, and willing. This equine is considered warm-blooded, and its region of origin is the Netherlands. Friesians are still rare in the U.S., but their numbers are growing due to a demand for fairytale-like horses.

Friesian Horse Breed Overview

Midway through the last century, the Friesian horse was used as a harness horse in different farming environments. These days, Friesians are used mainly for recreation, breeding, and sports. This type of horse is often seen in the dressage ring and driving sports.

Origin and History

The Friesian horse is the only equine breed native to the Netherlands, where the Friesian goes back as far as the thirteenth century. These beautiful horses are known for their majestic mane and feathering of the lower legs, the jet black color, and the powerful elevated gaits.

  • The Friesian is one of Europe's oldest breeds and gets his name from the Friesland Province.
  • Only three purebred stallions were left at the turn of the twentieth century.
  • While World War II almost destroyed some horse breeds, this war actually brought back the Friesian from the brink of extinction.

Height and Weight

The size of a horse is measured in hands or "hh." Friesian's striking appearance leaves an impression.

  • Height at the withers: The Friesian is between 15 and 17 hands.
  • Weight: The average weight for this breed is about 1,450 pounds.
Black Friesian horse

Friesian Horse Coat Colors

Black is the only available color for the Friesian horse. This horse is known for his stately black hair and magnificent head. The only white coloring allowed is a small star marking.

Friesian Horse Temperament

The Friesian horse is known as being gentle, honest, high-mettled, and clever. He descended from the western European horse that attained high perfection in the Knight's horse, the destrier.

Rare Genetic Condition

Distichiasis is a rare genetic condition in Friesians in which unorganized and additional eyelashes grow from the eyelid margin. Always ask your equine vet about an eye exam during a wellness appointment.

Friesian Horse Fun Facts

There are many common uses for the Friesian horse, and he is known as the best carriage horse in the world.

  • Ridden work under saddle
  • Harness horse
  • Driving

The Friesian Horse in the Circus

When the Circus Strassburger began, in 1939, training Friesian horses in the academy style of riding for performances were popular, and many other circuses followed suit.

Friesian Horse In Paintings

Many paintings and pictures of Friesian horses date back some centuries, showing Princes of the House of Orange-Nassau with horses similar to the Friesian horse.

Almost Extinct

The Friesians almost became extinct worldwide at the turn of the twentieth century. Many of these horses were crossed to other breeds to create a faster horse for trotting races.

Wild black friesian stallion

Large Animal Vet Consult

This horse breed is for any animal lover. If this horse is on the shortlist of breeds you plan to bring over to your pasture, work with a large animal vet to determine the horse looks healthy.


The typical lifespan of a Friesian is 16 years. Horses live for a long time, so this is a big commitment. Work with your equine vet to ensure your horse is in good health.

Friesian Clubs and Resources

There are organizations in the U.S. and The Netherlands that are wonderful resources with reputable breeders for horse lovers.

The Friesian Is Honest, Noble, and Willing

Friesian horses excel in dressage, and the breed is also used for riding and driving. This horse's striking appearance leaves an impression on all horse lovers. This equine may be uncommon in North America, but this horse's numbers are increasing due to a demand for romantic and fairy-tale-like horses.

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Friesian Horse Profile: An Elegant and Powerful Breed