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The UK Gypsy Cob Breed Standard

Taken from Gypsy Cob UK

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SD Big News

The Gypsy Cob was first introduced to the US in 1996, at which time the breed's name was changed in the US to The Gypsy Vanner. The name was changed according to the orriginal importer in order to better describe what this breed really is.  Since the Romany people in the UK developed this beautiful breed of horses, I believe in order to keep the horses here in the US more in tune of what the Romany people created we should keep in mind what their breed sandard looks like.  This is the description of what the traditional Gypsy Cob/Vanner is supposed to look like according to the creators in the UK!

   The gypsy cob has been bred selectively by English Romany and Irish Travellers for hundreds in order to produce a small draft type horse suitable for pulling flat carts and living waggons.  Shire, clydesdale and dales pony were in part used to create these horses who needed to be strong, powerful and willing to work.  The gypsies favoured an attractive, intelligent horse with character however would never tolerate a bad tempered or spiteful horse.  A kind, sensible and docile temperament was an essential quality for a horse that was to be trusted with a family's home, posessions and children.

Breed Standard:

   The traditional Gypsy cob should be a strong, sturdy and powerful cob coupled with abundant flowing mane, forelock and tail and leg hair known as feather.  They should have plenty of heart room and and a deep girth to match.  They should display ample bone and be well muscled within a broad compact body with powerful hindquarters.  They should have a kind, willing, intelligent and gentle disposition.  They are renowned for their patient, kind and sensible nature and are suitable for riding and driving.

General Appearance: The gypsy cob is powerful and compact with an overall impression of intelligence, kindness, strength and agility.  They are medium to heavy boned, well-proportioned and balanced with ample muscle and abundant feathering.

Head: The head should be in proportion to the body with a broad forehead and generous jaw.  Ears should be well set on, in proportion and not too small.  The eyes should be large and hind and well set apart.  The mouth should have a level bite.

Neck: The neck should be slightly arched and compact without being too short, generously muscled and tie in well at the shoulder.

Chest: The chest should be broad and powerful with ample muscle.

Shoulders: The shoulders should be deep, powerful and well sloped.

Withers: Withers should be of medium height and well muscled.

Back: The back should be short with ample muscle and sloping slightly upwards towards the croup.

Body:  The body should be short and compact with well sprung ribs and ample muscle.

Legs: The legs should be set well under the body, generously boned and muscled with well shaped hooves capable of carrying the frame without stress.

Hindquarters: The hindquarters should be very generous, smooth, broad and rounded accross the croup with a long hip coupled to powerful, straight hocks.

Hair: The mane and tail should be thick and luxurient. leg feather should start at the knee and hock and run down the front and back of the leg.  Abundance of feathering may vary with the medium weight cobs.

Colour: Any colour is permissable.

Action: High front action with a slight outward flick, the general movement should be level with a good length of stride.

Disposition: Disposition should be of quiet intelligence and docile temperament.


Up to 14.2hh - short, stocky, compact ponies used for pulling flat carts - usually known as trolley ponies.

Up to 15.2hh - big, powerful cobs used for pulling living waggons and heavier loads - often known as vanners.

Over 15hh cobs with more shire/clydesdale blood were used for heavy loads and agricultural work.

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