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Comtois (horse)

Comtois horse
Comtois horse
Distinguishing features: Heavy "draft horse" build with little feathing, chestnut coloring with flaxen mane and tail
Country of origin: France
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

The Comtois horse is a draft horse that originated in the Jura Mountains on the border between France and Switzerland.



The Comtois is a light draft horse, with a large head, straight neck, stocky and powerful body and deep girth. They have long, straight backs and short, strong legs with a little feathering and muscular hindquarters[1]. The Comtois sometimes shows a tendency towards sickle hocks. These horses are generally chestnut with flaxen manes and tails, but they can also be bay They usually stand between 14.1-15.1 hands high and weigh 1,100 to 1,320 lbs, although mature stallions can reach up to 1,760 lbs.[2]


Comtois horses being used for logging.

The Comtois horse breed is an old breed of horse that is believed to have descended from horses brought by the Burgundians of northern Germany to France during the fourth century.[1]. It is believe that they have been bred at the Franche-Comté and in the Jura Mountains since the sixth century. In the Middle Ages they were used as war horses[2]. They were bred at the Franche-Comté and in the Jura Mountains[1] During the 16th century, the Comtois breed was used to improve the Burgandy Horse.[3]. In the 19th century, other draft horses such as the Norman, Boulonnais, and Percheron were bred into the Comtois, and more recently the Ardennes was used to produce a stronger horse with better legs. Today, they are second only to the Belgian draft horse in number in France[1].


File:Cheval Comtois 5.jpg
Comtois horse in harness

In the sixteenth century, these horses were used as a cavalry and artillery horse, and were present in the armies of Louis XIV and later Napoleon Bonaparte. The Comtois is used today for hauling wood in the pine forests of the Jura in the mountainous regions of the Massif Central, and for working in the vineyards in the Arbois area[1]. They are also bred for the French horsemeat industry.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Comtois". International Museum of the Horse. http://www.imh.org/museum/breeds.php?pageid=8&breed=27&alpha=One. Retrieved December 17, 2007. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bongianni, Maurizio (1988). Simon & Schuster's Guide to Horses and Ponies. Simon & Schuster, Inc.. pp. 89. ISBN 0671660683. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Comtois". Equine Kingdom. http://www.equinekingdom.com/breeds/heavy_horses/comtois.htm. Retrieved December 17, 2007. 


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