The Black Forest fox is a real eye-catcher with its dark fur and light mane. The little cold blood from the German Black Forest is an old horse breed that was almost extinct.

Incomprehensible, after all, the Black Forest fox is not only visually appealing but also a real dream horse in terms of character.

Breed description

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The Black Forest fox is a horse breed from Baden-Württemberg (Germany) that used to be used in forest work.

The lightly built draft horse is known as the Black Forest Fox, Black Forest, Black Forest Cold Blood, St. Margener Fox, or Forest Horse.

The Black Forest fox is mainly to be found as a dark chestnut and is increasingly in demand due to its temperament, size, agility, and pleasant character.

With a stick height of around 150 cm and a sturdy stature, he is often used as a carriage and leisure horse that, with his lively gaits, does not cut a bad figure even in dressage work.

Size: 148 – 160 cm
Weight: 400 – 500 kg
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 25-30 years
Color: Foxes and dark foxes, rarely brown ones and white horses
Leisure time, tournament, draft horse

Origin and breed history

Origin

As the name suggests, the Black Forest fox comes from the Black Forest in Germany, Baden-Württemberg. The exact time of the breeding of the elegant draft horses cannot be precisely dated.

Based on the first records from monasteries, it can be assumed that the Black Forest fox was bred by farmers in Black Forest as early as the 15th century.

Back then, the powerful horse was still affectionately known as forests. The Black Forest fox was valued by local farmers mainly because of its handy size and good-naturedness.

The Noriker had a great influence on the development of the breed. It is assumed that horses from France and Spain, which came to the Black Forest in times of war, also had an influence on the development of the breed.

The Black Forest fox was particularly popular as a draft horse in the 19th century. During this time the first studbook was founded. In 1896 the studbook was opened and the Black Forest horse breeding cooperative was founded in St. Margen.

However, the demand for the Black Forest fox soon waned again. Machines and cars replaced him as a draft horse and the breed threatened to become extinct.

The number of draft horses continued to decline. The breed’s absolute lowest point was reached in the mid-1970s. The studbook only counted four licensed stallions and not even 200 registered mares.

It is thanks to some passionate breeders that the Black Forest fox was able to survive as a breed. The breeders received support from the state of Baden-Württemberg.

The Black Forest chestnut should be preserved through subsidies in the form of breeding premiums for foals and mares. Since then, the main and state stud Marbach has provided several suitable stallions that breeders can fall back on.

The Black Forest fox today

The stock has now recovered so that the studbook has been closed for several years. Only Black Forest foxes are allowed to be used for breeding, pure breeding is therefore ensured.

The studbook currently lists over 1000 mares and around 90 stallions from the six well-known breeding lines.

The efforts of the breeders have undoubtedly paid off: Today the Black Forest fox is used again in forest work. Working with horses in the forest has proven to be much more soil-friendly than working with machines.

In the Black Forest, he is also used as a coach horse in tourism. The Black Forest fox is also enjoying increasing popularity as a leisure horse.

Nevertheless, the Black Forest fox is still on the red list of endangered domestic livestock breeds.

The appearance of the Black Forest fox

Black Forest fox anatomy

The Black Forest fox is a strong and muscular horse, which is classified as cold blood. The height is between 148 and 160 cm, whereby the Black Forest fox can weigh 500 to 700 kg.

In contrast to other horses that are of the draft horse type, the Black Forest chestnut can definitely be described as an elegant draft horse.

Despite all its elegance, the Black Forest fox is a stable and robust horse. He has strong joints, a sloping shoulder, the split croup typical of many draft horses, and a strong and at the same time expressive head.

The Black Forest fox moves with a swing in all gaits, especially the step is to be emphasized with these horses. For cold blood, the Black Forest fox is amazingly agile, a quality that is of great use when working in the forest.

Color

As the name suggests, the Black Forest fox can mainly be found in a fox-colored jacket. Foxes and dark foxes are typical.

The black forest fox’s mane and tail, which contrast with the rest of the fur due to their light color, are striking. A large, wide blaze or other markings on the head are also typical.

The Black Forest fox is not a black horse with the wind color gene, as is often assumed for some specimens. From a genetic point of view, the Black Forest fox is also a very dark horse with a white mane.

As with the Icelandic horse, the wind color gene can in principle be present in foxes, but an investigation has shown that this is not the case in the Black Forest fox.

In addition to foxes and dark foxes, there are now and then brown ones and rarely mold.

Temperament and essence

The use of forest work has had a significant impact on the Black Forest fox. Like most other cold-blooded horses, he is characterized by good-naturedness and prudence.

He is considered tough and frugal and can easily cope with longer phases of doing nothing, as he was used to as a workhorse. However, he is not lazy and stoic – on the contrary.

He is said to have a lively temperament, which makes him a pleasant horse for recreational riders. His willingness to work and his willingness to perform is praised.

The Black Forest fox can by no means be described as lazy or even clumsy. This distinguishes him from many other cold-blooded breeds and the pleasant character rounds off the overall picture of this breed.

Husbandry and nutrition

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Attitude

The winters in the Black Forest are known to be harsh. Shaped by these weather conditions, the Black Forest fox can easily cope with icy temperatures and snow.

Like every horse, the Black Forest fox should have the opportunity to find a dry and clean shelter.

Nutrition

The Black Forest fox is an extremely frugal horse that, due to its origin and actual use, can easily cope with little and meager feed over a long period of time.

The feeding for the Black Forest fox must be adjusted accordingly. Cold-blooded animals need specially adapted feeding so that they are spared health restrictions.

Additional feeding of concentrated feed is not necessary if it is used purely as a recreational horse. With daily hard work and simultaneous weight loss, it is necessary to feed concentrated feed.

As a rule, the energy requirement is covered by sufficient roughage (hay, straw, haylage). In any case, feeding mineral feed is unreliable!

If the work is only light, you should make sure that the Black Forest fox does not become too heavy. Regular weight control and a review of the body condition score is advisable. In case of doubt, the roughage has to be shortened or the horse has to be moved more.

Education and care

Like every horse, the Black Forest fox needs a consistent and experienced hand that steers it in the right direction, especially in the first years of life.

Due to his pleasant character, his upbringing is unproblematic. Due to its temperament, it is partially suitable for beginners. Some experience in handling horses is therefore desirable.

Otherwise, the Black Forest fox is a pleasant horse to handle and train, which can easily be put away for several days without work, without showing this.

The hooves are hard and only need horseshoes when they are very worn.

Health and Typical Diseases

The Black Forest fox is resilient, but like many other horse breeds, has to struggle with one or the other disease. This includes Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM), also known as Polysaccharide Storage Disease.

It is a degenerative muscle disease that requires special feed management. This problem is now known to breeders and attempts are being made to counteract this accordingly.

In addition to PSSM, inadequate feeding can lead to skin problems, especially muzzle, and respiratory diseases in the Black Forest fox. Osteoarthritis can also be an issue from time to time.

As with any other breed of horse originally used for pulling, attention should be paid to the back.

In many cases, the back is too soft and accordingly needs gymnastics and muscle building so that it can carry a rider without any problems.

The life expectancy of the Black Forest fox

The Black Forest fox is one of the tough and robust horse breeds. If he stays healthy, he can live to be 25 to 30 years old.

Buy Black Forest Fox horse breed

Have you already decided to keep a horse as a pet and did you choose the Black Forest fox? The Black Forest fox is a popular leisure horse.

At the same time, it is on the red list of threatened animal species. In Europe, the population has meanwhile been able to recover, but the market for attractive draft horses is not particularly large.

You will most likely find what you are looking for at the breeder in Baden-Württemberg, whom you should contact early on if you are interested in a foal. You should calculate around $2500 for a foal.

Every now and then older horses and horses that have already been ridden and driven are given away by private individuals. With these horses, you should calculate between $4500 and $9500.

The exact price is made up of gender, level of training, previous health conditions, and the breed line. Mares are usually more expensive than geldings.

In the long term, you should calculate around $500 to $700 per month in costs for a horse. If your Black Forest fox gets sick, there are no limits here.

Decision support

The Black Forest fox impresses above all with its attractive appearance. The light, almost white curtains contrast beautifully with the dark fur.

Even if you can’t ride the color, the Black Forest fox is without question a real feast for the eyes. If you choose a Black Forest fox, you will not only get a very beautiful horse but also a horse with a pleasant character.

Always open, friendly, and lively, you get a real friend for life. The Black Forest fox is cold blood, but is one of the lighter members of its breed and is extremely agile. That makes him a versatile leisure horse.

Groundwork, carriage, riding, and light dressage work are no problem for the Black Forest fox! The only disadvantage of the breed: They are few and far between, so finding the right horse can take some time.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions

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What does a Black Forest fox weigh?
The weight is 600–700 kg.

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