German Warmblood may refer generally to any of the various warmblood horses of Germany, or more specifically to a warmblood registered with the nation-wide German Horse Breeding Society (ZfDP). Beneath the umbrella term German warmblood are several regional variations on a singular standard; individual German warmblood types are not necessarily considered "breeds", because they have an open stud book and freely exchange genetic material between each other, with other warmblood types, with Anglo-Arabians, and with breeds like the Thoroughbred, Arabian, and Trakehner. (The Trakehner, while a warmblood horse from Germany, has a closed stud book and thus, like the Thoroughbred and Arabian, is considered a "true" breed.)
Regions and types
Each of the States of Germany has its own local warmblood breeding society, or sometimes more than one. Lower Saxony is the domain of the Oldenburg and Hanoverian, the latter being closely linked to the State Stud of Celle. Formerly, the East Frisian was also bred in that part of Lower Saxony, however most of the breeding stock was absorbed into the Hanoverian gene pool after the Second World War. More recently, the Hessen horse was also made into an extension of the Hanoverian herdbook. The northernmost region of Schleswig-Holstein has the Holsteiner, while Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has the Mecklenburger. North Rhine-Westphalia traditionally breeds both the Westphalian and Rhinelander, which populate the State Stud of Warendorf and which work in close cooperation.
Historically, each of the southern states had a very distinct population: Rhineland-Palatinate was a center for the breeding of elegant Anglo-Arabian riding horses, Baden-Württemberg bred Arabians and Arab-influenced riding horses at the State Stud of Marbach, and Bavaria was home to the ancient heavy warmblood Rottaler. Of late, these three regions have combined their breeding and marketing efforts, so the modern Bavarian Warmblood, Württemberger, and Zweibrücker are increasingly indistinguishable. Similarly, the eastern states of Berlin-Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, and Thuringia have begun hosting a common stallion inspection. Each of these states has had its own flavor of warmblood, though perhaps the Brandenburger was best known.