The Dutch Warmblood is a modern warmblood sport horse, and one of the most popular horse breeds in the United States!

In the early 20th century there was with a shift from using horses primarily for agriculture to using horses used for pleasure riding and sport. This was the beginnings of the Dutch Warmblood. The Dutch Warmblood It is a large, athletic breed developed by crossing heavy Dutch breeds with Thoroughbreds.

The Dutch Warmblood was selectively bred for soundness, good conformity and gaits, along with an excellent character and top performace ability. The term ‘warmblood’ reflects its combination. Two of Holland’s indigenous breeds, the Genderlander and the heavy Groningen, infused a strong front end and strong hindquarters. These slow, heavy ‘cold-blooded’ horses were combined with the light and athletic ‘hot-blooded’ Thoroughbred, resulting in this strong powerful warmblood with speed and stamina.

The breeding of Dutch Warmbloods is strictly regulated by the Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands. To be registered they must display excellence in conformation, character, and temperament. They dominate in the world of show jumping and are also becoming popular for dressage and eventing. Though the Dutch Warmbloods are extremely athletic, they are also known for having calm and gentle personalities. They make wonderful companion horses and great riding horse for riders of all levels.

Scientific Classification


Horse Breeds

The Dutch Warmblood is a light horse breed. These light horses are also referred to as a warmblood horse. Light horse breeds generally weigh under 1,500 pounds. They are typically used as riding horses for leisure and trail riding. Being agile and swift, many are also used on the racetrack, in the show ring, and for work on the ranch.
Light horses are grouped in a couple of different ways, one being the continent or country where they originated from. They are also grouped according to training, classified as either a stock type, hunter type, saddle type, or ‘other’. A body type is generally attributed to each class, with the ‘other’ classification being a bit of an odd ball. It includes those that are color breeds or those that may fit a body type of one of the training classes, but not be used for that type of training. In some cases the ‘other’ types can also include those that may fit into more than one of the type groups.
The horse class the Dutch Warmblood primarily fits into is the ‘hunter’ type class, used for show jumping, dressage, and eventing. Due to its strength and heritage it is quite versatile however, with some other types being; the Show driving Type (also known as Tuigpaardtypeare) which is a high stepping show horse, and the Basic Type (also known as Basistype) which is closer to early versions of the Gelderlander and used for farming as well as driving and riding.

Black dutch warm blood stallion horse
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

Horse Backgrounds

The Dutch Warmblood was developed in the early 20th Century, as a result of the shift of horses being used for primarily agricultural work to being used as riding and sport horses. Breeders first combined Holland’s two indigenous breeds, the Genderlander, a carriage horse with a strong front end, and the heavy Groningen, with strong hindquarters. The resulting horses had power in both the front and the hind end, and then Thoroughbred blood was added to lighten the breed, supplying speed and stamina. The term ‘warmblood’ reflects this combination of slow, heavy ‘cold-blooded’ horses with the light and athletic Thoroughbred.
The breeding of Dutch Warmbloods is strictly regulated by the Koninklijk Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland (Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands) to ensure only horses of excellent conformation, character, and temperament are used in breeding. All breeding horses are evaluated for these qualities and stallions must undergo a strict selection process including tests in jumping, cross country, and occasionally harness work.


Dutch Warmbloods must be above 15.2 hands high to be registered. They usually stand between 16 and 17 hands high. Most Dutch Warmbloods are bay and brown, although all solid colors are found.
They have a Thoroughbred-type head on a fairly long, strong neck. They have a short, strong back, strong shoulders and hindquarters, and fairly long legs with short cannon bones. The withers is either level or higher than the loins, which helps them round through their top line in dressage and balance themselves onto their haunches when jumping.

Horse Care and Feeding

Dutch Warmbloods are generally large horses and will need substantially more roughage and grain than other horses.

dutch warmblood with braided hair
Image Credit: Zuzule, Shutterstock

Horse Training and Activities

Dutch Warmbloods are becoming extremely popular for show jumping, dressage, and eventing. They are dominating the world of show jumping, producing more successful international show jumping horses than any other breed and they were ranked #1 in show jumping by the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses in 2007. They are also extremely successful in international dressage competition, and were ranked #2 by the WBFSP in 2007.
They are extremely athletic, but also are known for their calm and gentle personalities, making them great riding horses for riders of all levels.

Common Health Problems

Dutch Warmbloods are sound and long-lived due to the strict requirements places on registered breeding stock. Horses are disqualified from breeding if they have a lack of symmetry in stifles, hocks, hooves, or movement.


Dutch Warmbloods are readily available throughout Europe, North and South America, and Australia, but they do tend to be expensive, especially those with a fair amount of training.



Featured Image Credit: Zuzule, Shutterstock