Horse Breeds - Equine Groups of Origins

Prehistoric carving of a horse's head out of Mammoth bone found in a cave in southern France.

          Various forms of wild horses lived in Europe in prehistoric times. In comparison of their skeletons, especially their sculls, the assumption that some of these wild horses were the founders of today’s domestic horses is a fair statement. By studying these skeletons, the origin of many breeds of horses can be traced to specific groups devised by some known zoo-technicians.

         The oldest and most known division of domestic horses comes from Munich zoo-technician Frank. He separated horses into the Eastern Group (Oriental Group) and the Western Group (Occidental). In a practical perspective,

Frank’s division is supported by another zoo-technician named Settegast. He separated domestic horses into Warmblooded and Coldblooded. Another division comes from Simon Nathusius who has divided domesticated horses, according to their practical uses, into Runners (Running Horses) and into Walkers (Walking Horses). A similar division comes from a French zoo-technician, Sanson, who divided the domestic horse into groups of short-skull and long-skull horses and basically recognized the Western and Eastern groups of the zoo-technician, Frank, as well.

     The domestic horse was divided into three groups by Antonius, a Paleontologist from Vienna. He took notice, and detailed the differences in skull formations and compared them with the present and extinct wild horses.  Somewhat later, a Berliner zoologist, Hilzheimer, added a fourth group (Northern Group) to the list of Antonius. The groups today are as follows:

  1. Mongolian Group
  2. Eastern Group (Oriental)
  3. Western Group (Occidental)
  4. Northern Group (Nordic)

Edited by R.A. 02/21/04

Translated by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a. Lee Stanek from the 1953 Special Zoo-Technique - Breeding of Horses
Published in 1953 by the Czechoslovakian Academy of Agricultural Science and certified by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Written by: MVDr Ludvik Ambroz, Frabtisek Bilek, MVDr Karel Blazek, Ing. Jaromir Dusek, Ing. Karel Hartman, Hanus Keil, pro. MVDr Emanuel Kral, Karel Kloubek, Ing. Dr. Frantisek Lerche, Ing. Dr Vaclav Michal, Ing. Dr Zdenek Munki, Ing. Vladimir Mueller, MVDr Julius Penicka, pro. MVDr Emil Pribyl, MVDr Lev Richter, prof. Ing. Dr Josef Rechta, MVDr Karel Sejkora and Ing. Dr Jindrich Steinitz.