Mongolian Horse vs Fjord: In-Depth Breed Comparison

Are you trying to decide between a Mongolian horse vs Fjord for your next equine companion? Look no further! In this in-depth breed comparison, we’ll take a closer look at the unique characteristics and traits of both breeds. From their origins and history to their physical appearance and temperament, we’ll cover it all. So, let’s saddle up and dive into the world of Mongolian horse vs Fjord!

Mongolian Horse

Mongolian horse saddled in pasture

Origins and History

The Mongolian Horse finds its roots in Central Asia, surviving in the wild steppes of the region for thousands of years. This breed played an essential role in the military success of conquerors like Genghis Khan, whose Mongol Empire spread across Eurasia. Renowned in traditional Mongolian culture, the Mongolian Horse has a strong bond not only with the nomads but also with the history of the entire region. This ancient horse contributed to the development and influence of other breeds throughout Asia and Europe, including Japanese, Scandinavian, Icelandic, and British Isles breeds source.

Physical Characteristics

Mongolian horses are relatively small but possess a sturdy and stocky build with strong legs and a large head. Their size ranges from 12 to 14 hands (48 to 56 inches, 122 to 142 cm), and they weigh about 500 to 600 lbs source. Despite their small size, they are not considered ponies, rather a distinct breed exhibiting unique characteristics. Their cannon bone external circumference measures approximately 8 inches (200 mm) source.

Temperament and Behavior

Known for their incredible stamina, Mongolian horses can cover long distances without tiring. They are resilient in the face of harsh conditions, such as the unforgiving Gobi Desert, and display adaptability and resourcefulness. These horses are also known for their wild horse spirit, Equus ferus, which has persisted over generations. The breed showcases a friendly and approachable temperament, making them suitable for horse racing and an integral part of the nomadic lifestyle found in the grasslands of Mongolia.


Mongolian horses have been used for various purposes throughout history, including conquest and transportation. Their remarkable endurance has made them valuable assets in lengthy military campaigns, such as those led by Genghis Khan. Today, they remain an essential part of Mongolian society, participating in traditional horse racing events and serving the needs of breeders and local nomads source.

In addition to their military and equestrian uses, the Mongolian horse, popularly known as the Takhi horse, has seen a resurgence in its conservation status. Once driven to extinction in the wild, with the last sighting in 1968, reintroduction efforts have successfully managed to bring these horses back into their native habitat, safeguarding their genetic diversity and preserving their cultural significance for future generations source.


Beautiful wild Fjord horse

Origins and History

The Fjord horse, also known as the Norwegian Fjord Horse, is a breed that has its origins in the mountainous regions of western Norway. It is believed that the Fjord horse is one of the oldest and purest breeds, with a history that dates back thousands of years. The breed has played an essential role in Norwegian agriculture, assisting farmers and herdsmen in various tasks since ancient times. Fjords have also been used for breeding in North America and other foreign markets, contributing to their expansion and survival.

Physical Characteristics

The Fjord horse is a relatively small yet very strong breed of light draft horse, with adult heights ranging between 13.1 and 14.3 hands (135 – 150 cm; 53 and 59 inches). Their conformation is well-balanced, featuring a muscular frame and a sturdy build. Adult Fjord horses typically weigh between 880 to 1,100 lbs (400 to 500 kilograms).

All Fjords have a dun coat with five recognized variations in shade. These colors provide them a natural camouflage in their native environment, contributing to their survival in the wild. In addition to their unique coloration, Fjords have a distinctive mane, which is often trimmed short, standing upright.

Temperament and Behavior

Fjord horses are known for their friendly, docile, and adaptable temperament. They are social animals, often displaying herd instincts and forming strong bonds with their human caretakers. Due to their even temperament, they are considered easy to train and handle, making them a suitable choice for various equestrian pursuits.

Their ability to adapt to different environments, coupled with their natural hardiness, has allowed Fjords to thrive in various climates. They have a strong survival instinct and can endure harsh conditions without needing excessive shelter, making them a favorite among herdsmen.


The Fjord horse has been valued for its strength and versatility, proving itself useful in various tasks such as farming, trekking, and driving. They are well-adapted to work in difficult terrain and can efficiently carry heavy loads. Additionally, they are often used for recreational pursuits, such as trail riding, and have proven to be popular among pleasure riders due to their comfortable gaits and willing nature.

While the initial cost of importing a Fjord horse may be higher compared to other breeds, their low maintenance requirements, healthy constitution, and longevity make them a cost-effective choice in the long run. Regular veterinarian checkups and balanced nutrition are recommended to ensure the horse’s health, which contributes to their extended lifespan.

In summary, with the Fjord horse’s unique appearance, friendly temperament, and ability to adapt to various environments, it is easy to see why this ancient breed continues to captivate equestrians worldwide.


Two Mongolian horses grazing grass

Size and Conformation

The Mongolian horse is a small, stocky breed with strong legs and a large head. They typically weigh between 500 and 600 lbs, and their height ranges from 12 to 14 hands (48 to 56 inches, 122 to 142 cm). In contrast, the Fjord horse is a light draft horse with a muscular frame, standing at 13 to 14 hands high. Both breeds showcase strength and agility within their respective size categories.

Diet and Habitat

Both Mongolian and Fjord horses are typically found in different environments. Mongolian horses roam in large home ranges of 1 to 12 square miles, constantly moving in search of water and favorable grazing spots. In comparison, Fjord horses are native to the mountainous regions of Norway and have adapted to the cold climates and challenging terrains in these areas. They are primarily foragers and can thrive on delicate grazing and underbrush.

Breed Characteristics and Versatility

Mongolian horses, known for their affectionate and friendly personalities, tend to be reliable, loyal, and calm. Their versatility allows them to be employed in various equestrian activities, including racing and endurance. On the other hand, Fjord horses are strong and versatile, making them suitable for multiple purposes such as riding, driving, and draft work. Both breeds have a rich history of serving humans, with the Mongolian horse used in the development of other breeds across Asia and Europe.

Mongolian horses are also closely tied to the culture and traditions of their homeland, particularly the production of airag, a fermented mare’s milk beverage. Their use for milk and other livestock productions further distinguishes them from Fjord horses, which are predominantly used for riding and draft work.

Health Issues and Care

Due to their hardy nature and adaptation to harsh environments, Mongolian horses tend to be quite robust and healthy. However, they still face health risks such as parasites, infections, and injuries from their constant movement and search for forage. As for Fjord horses, they may experience health issues more commonly found in draft breeds but generally enjoy good health due to their strong build and adaptable nature.

Proper care for both breeds includes regular veterinary checkups, vaccinations, and parasite control. Additionally, attention should be given to their diet and habitat, ensuring access to clean water and suitable grazing. Ultimately, the health of these horses relies on responsible stewardship and a well-balanced management approach.

Crossbreeding Mongolian Horse and Fjord

Magestic Norwegian Fjord Horse

Purpose and Benefits

Crossbreeding the highly adaptable Mongolian horse with the sturdy Fjord horse aims to create offspring that possess the best qualities of both breeds. Mongolian horses are known for their resilience, endurance, and strength in harsh environments, while Fjords are recognized for their versatility, good temperament, and smooth ride. Combining these traits can result in a horse breed suitable for various purposes, including work and leisure.

The crossbred horses can potentially contribute to the genetic diversity within the Equus ferus caballus species, enhancing their overall adaptability and survivability. Furthermore, the incorporation of Mongolian horse genes into Fjord horses may open foreign markets for the new breed, providing opportunities for breeders and horse enthusiasts to explore new avenues.

Additionally, the introduction of thoroughbreds and Arabians as a crossbreeding option may improve specific traits such as speed or grace, thereby expanding the possibilities for equestrian activities and sports involving these hybrid horses.


However, crossbreeding Mongolian horses and Fjords is not without its challenges. Maintaining purebred Mongolian horse lines is crucial to preserving the unique characteristics of the native breed. A movement within Mongolia aims to establish a Mongolian Horse Breed Registry, although no precautions currently exist to ensure only purebred Mongolian horses enter the registry. Inadvertently allowing crossbred horses into the registry could dilute the distinct features that set Mongolian horses apart, ultimately affecting their desirability in specific markets.

Furthermore, crossbreeding poses potential risks to the health and well-being of the offspring. The compatibility of the two breeds’ characteristics should be thoroughly analyzed before proceeding with the breeding process. This requires breeders to possess extensive knowledge of both Mongolian horses and Fjords, as well as an understanding of the implications of introducing different breeds like thoroughbreds and Arabians.

In conclusion, crossbreeding Mongolian horses and Fjords offers the prospect of harnessing the best traits from both breeds. However, it is essential to carefully consider the potential benefits and challenges associated with the process to ensure the preservation of genetic diversity and the welfare of the resulting offspring.

Horses in Mongolian and Fjord Culture

Two beautiful Fjord horses are running on a paddock

Mongolian and Fjord horses have unique cultural significances that extend back hundreds of years. For Mongolian people, the horse has long been central to their nomadic lifestyle, revered for its stamina and ability to navigate vast distances. Known as the “land of the horse,” Mongolia boasts an equestrian culture rich with tradition, exemplified by the Mongolian horseman’s skill and appreciation for their loyal companions ^1^.

In traditional Mongolian culture, horses played a fundamental role in daily life. They facilitated travel, aided in herding, and served as symbols of status and wealth. The Mongol Empire’s success in the 13th century was made possible by their cavalry, with well-trained and cared-for horses taken into battle. Among other herd animals common in Mongolia (camels, oxen/yaks, sheep, and goats), the horse was undoubtedly the most prestigious ^2^.

Meanwhile, Fjord horses, native to Norway, demonstrate a distinct character that has also captured people’s admiration. Known for their strength and sturdiness, these horses have been associated with various cultures throughout history, such as chieftains and farming to transportation and sports. Their versatility made them valuable assets and symbols of power, giving them similar cultural importance as horses in Mongolian society.

Alongside these breeds, other noteworthy horse cultures include the Exmoor, Scottish Highland, and Connemara. Hailing from Britain and Ireland, these horses have diverse backgrounds and contributions to human society, often used for agriculture, transportation, companionship, and even war.

In summary, both Mongolian and Fjord horses have had a significant impact on their respective cultures. While they have evolved to suit their unique environments and purposes, their shared legacy of companionship, labor, and prestige in human history serves as a testament to the enduring bond between humans and horses.

Mongolian Horse vs Fjord Horse

Mongolian horses are known for their small stature, incredible stamina, and the ability to withstand harsh conditions. They have been essential to Mongolian culture for centuries, as they have been used for transportation, companionship, and even as a food source in some cases (source). In contrast, the Fjord horse, native to Norway, is a versatile and sturdy breed known for its unique appearance, including a distinctively two-toned mane (source).

The Mongolian horse typically stands at around 12 to 14 hands high, with a strong constitution that allows them to gallop for up to 10 kilometers without a break (source). They have played an important role in shaping the social structure, migration, and breeding history of many other horse breeds, influencing breeds all over Asia and Europe, including native Japanese, Scandinavian (like the Norwegian Fjord), Icelandic, and British Isles breeds (source).

On the other hand, the Fjord horse stands at around 13.2 to 14.2 hands high and is characterized by its compact and muscular build. The breed is known for its versatility, as it can perform tasks such as plowing fields, driving carts, and even riding events. The Fjord horse’s most distinctive feature, however, is its unique mane. The mane is traditionally clipped in a crescent shape, showcasing the darker-colored hairs that stand up straight, framed by the lighter-colored outer hairs (source).

In terms of temperament, both the Mongolian and Fjord horses are known for their hardiness and resilience. The Mongolian horse, due to its semi-wild upbringing, is often more independent and may require a strong and experienced handler, while the Fjord horse is generally friendly, calm, and easier to handle, making it a popular choice for novice riders or those looking for a family horse (source).

Some key differences between the two breeds include:

  • Size: Mongolian horses are generally smaller than Fjord horses.
  • Appearance: Mongolian horses have a more uniform coat color, while Fjord horses have a unique two-toned mane.
  • Upbringing: Mongolian horses are often semi-wild, while Fjord horses are usually domesticated.
  • Temperament: Fjord horses are generally more docile, making them suitable for novice riders, while Mongolian horses may require more experienced handling.


Both the Mongolian horse and the Fjord horse have unique qualities and characteristics that set them apart. The Mongolian horse, with its smaller size and incredible stamina, is well-suited to the harsh conditions of its native Mongolia, while the Fjord horse, with its versatile and calm nature, has been a reliable working breed in Norway for centuries. Ultimately, the choice between the two breeds depends on individual preferences, needs, and the intended purpose of the horse.