Also Known By: Dølehest (Norway), Døle-Gudbrandsdal, Gudbrandsdal
This breed originated in the Gudbrandsdal Valley which connects the Oslo region with the North Sea coast. It is likely that the Friesian played a part in the breeding of the Døle due to the similarity between the two. The Friesians traded heavily with Britain, Norway and the Rhine Delta during the period from 400 to 800 A.D.
The Døle horse of today is found in two types. A heavy work horse and a light draft horse, the cold-blooded trotter. The difference between the two types has been greatly reduced in recent years due to interbreeding between the types. This interbreeding is now becoming very common and the breed is becoming very uniform.
The heavy type of Døle are tested for pulling power and trotting when presented for grading. X-rays of the knee and lower leg are taken in lighter trotting horses, and animals with defects are disqualified for breeding. Stallions of this breed must achieve satisfactory results on the track before being used as a stud. Three years old colts may be issued a temporary stallion license if their conformation, breeding and trotting ability are acceptable. Quality of the Døle has improved during the last several years due to the organized selection of breeding stock.
Bay or brown are the predominate colors of the Døle horse but black and chestnut are also fairly common. There are a few grays and duns. Some horses will have white markings on the head and legs, especially among horses of the trotter type.
The Døle horse is one of the smallest cold blood breeds. This horse has an excellent trot and great pulling power. It is agile and active and shows great stamina.
Hendricks, Bonnie L., International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds, Univ of Oklahoma Press, 1995.
Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.