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Breed Organization Information
SYNDICAT D'ELEVAGE DU CHEVAL COMTOIS
52 rue de Dole 25 000
Tel : +33 (0) 3 81 52 46 97Fax : +33 (0) 3 81 41 01 00
About the Breed
The Comtois is a very old breed that is thought to have descended from horses brought to France by the Burgundians, a people from northern Germany that immigrated in the fourth century. The Franche-ComtÚ and the Jura Mountains on the border of France and Switzerland are the original breeding ground of the Comtois breed.
In the sixteenth century, the Comtois was used to improve the horses of Burgundy and became famous as a cavalry and artillery horse. Louis XIV used this breed in his armies, as did Napoleon on his campaign into Russia.
During the nineteenth century the Comtois was bred with other draft types like the Norman, Boulonnais and Percheron. Since 1905 a stronger horse with improved legs has emerged from using small Ardennais sires.
Today, the Comtois is bred in the mountainous regions of the Massif Central, the Pyrenees and the Alps for which they are perfectly suited. The Comtois has good qualities of endurance, hardiness and balance in these rugged landscapes. The breed is still widely used for hauling wood in the high pine forests of the Jura and for work on the hilly vineyards of the Arbois area. The Comtois is second only to the Breton draft horse in numbers in France.
The Comtois is a lightly built draft horse. The head is large with alert eyes and small ears. A straight neck joins the body, which is stocky and powerful with a deep girt. The back is long and straight. The Comtois has short, strong legs with little feather and muscular hindquarters. The main and tail are both thick. They are found in varying shades of chestnut often deepening to a dark chocolate brown or bay. The mane and tail are by contrast a light flaxen. They stand between 14.1 and 15.1 hands.
Comtois are hardy and live to an old age. They are good-natured, easy to train and hard working.