Probably the best-known Knabstrupper in the world is the “Little Uncle” from “Pipi Longstocking”. But of course, not every horse that is scored is a Knabstrupper. The spotted horses and ponies of unknown origin offered in sales advertisements are generally not Knappstrupper.

Origin and History

Knabstrupper comes from Denmark from the Frederiksborg family. These were bred at the Frederiksborg Stud, founded in 1536. There they bred strong warhorses with horses of Iberian descent, which were also perfectly suited for high heels. Since piebalds were already very popular back then, tiger piebalds were bred specifically at the Knabstrup Stud with the tiger piebalds from Fredericksburg breeding. These horses were valued by the kings and emperors and were coveted across Europe. This breeding ended tragically in 1891 with the death of numerous horses in the flames when the stud was struck by lightning. Although a stud was established in 1952 with the horses that still existed, it was not until 1972 that a breeding association for Knabstrup horses was founded in Denmark.
Many of the remaining horses were sold to Germany, where the Knabstrupper interest group tries to breed both athletic and baroque Knabstrupper. Knabstrupers all have a certain proportion of foreign blood, in which everything from cold blood to whole blood occurs. If you want to acquire a Knabstrupper, you should make sure that a too high proportion of breeds that are not ideally suited to the Knabstrupper have not been crossed.
The Knabstrupper is one of the endangered breeds.


Knabstrupper is intelligent horses. Most of the time they are enthusiastic about learning new lessons and also have fun with circus tricks. In addition, they are calm and level-headed, so that dealing with them is always pleasant. Nevertheless, they need an experienced trainer so as not to learn undesirable things that can be acquired with their quick grasp. A Knabstrupper who is bored may develop idiosyncratic ideas and one who is touched too hard becomes resistant. The baroque horses are not only visually unique, their character is often unique.


Knabstrupper is 1.60 meters tall and quite strong. The pure breed Knabstrupper has become extinct, which is why the breed is very heterogeneous today. A general distinction is made between two types: the Knabstrupper in the riding horse type, which corresponds to that of a modern sport horse, or the baroque type. The head of the baroque Knabstrupper can be a bit rams-headed. The neck is set rather high, the back strong and well-muscled. The movements should like to be a little “knee-high”, i.e. a little higher and less far.
But above all the Knabstrupper is spotted, the drawing is called the tiger spotting. Strictly speaking, the term tiger pancake is misleading, because the Knabstrupper is actually spotted and not striped like a tiger – they could therefore also be called leopard pecks.
Officially, there are five variants of the spotting in which the points appear through a white cover. Brown spots can be seen all over the body of the so-called full tiger. Black stripes in the mane and tail are also possible. In contrast to gray horses, the “white-born” are really born white and have no spots. While the black-backed tigers look like they have a spotted or white blanket on the croup. The white coat described above is not so pronounced in the snowflake tiger, which is why it has only a few light spots. Monochrome Knabstrupper genetically has the ability to inherit tiger spotting but is only monochrome themselves.

Suitability / Use

Knabstrupers are ideal for classic, baroque dressage. They usually have a good ability to gather, learn quickly and have a pleasant temperament. That makes them popular leisure partners, especially for people who enjoy dressage. They also cut a fine figure in front of the carriage. You see them less often in tournament sports, in the disciplines of dressage or jumping, although I have seen talented jumping Knabstrupper in small and medium-sized competitions.


Knabstrupers feel comfortable in horse company and are rather uncomplicated to keep.

Diseases Typical of the Breed

Sometimes the so-called human eye, in which you can see the white in the inner corner of the eye, is a bit sensitive.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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