Heck Horse

If you are looking for an interesting horse to add to your farm, you should consider the Heck Horse.

This rare breed is known for its docile temperament and came about as a breeding experiment in the early 1900s.

Here is everything you need to know about these interesting animals.

Heck Horse Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Heck Horse:

Height (size) 12.2 – 13.2 hands high
Colors Dun or grullo, with no white markings. Primitive marking, like a dorsal stripe and horizontal striping on the legs, are common.
Country of Origin Germany
Common Uses General riding and driving

Heck Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The breed was created by the German zoologist brothers Heinz Heck (director of Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich) and Ludwig Lutz Heck (director of the Berlin Zoological Garden) in the attempt to breed back the extinct wild equine called the Tarpan.

The Hecks thought that by back breeding living descendants, they could bring back the Tarpan.

They thought that by combining and rearranging the genes of these surviving descendants, they might create a new version of the extinct horse.

The Heck brothers crossed various European pony and small horse breeds that were said to be derived from the Tarpan.

They bred Konik, Icelandic, and Gotland mares to Przewalski’s Horse stallions.

The Hecks believed that the introduction of Przewalski’s wild blood to the domesticated pony mares would be beneficial in reviving the wild traits that they believed were dormant in those mares.

Even though they were unable to recreate the Tarpan genetically, they did create a breed with the desired grullo coloring and primitive markings.

The program’s first foal was a colt that was born in Munich Zoo on May 22, 1933.

The breeding program went on, and was restricted to using only those horses whose skull shapes, bone structures, and coat colors met the requirements.

Within a short period of time, the breed’s conformation and coloring became set, with parents constantly passing on their features to their offspring.

The Chicago Zoological Park was responsible for bringing the first Heck horse to the United States in 1954, a stallion named Duke.

Today, these horses are used for riding and light driving by a few individual breeders in the United States.

In an effort to spread awareness of the Heck horse, supporters in North America established the North American Tarpan Association in the 1960s.

Several breeders have attempted to increase the size of the Heck horse while maintaining some of its primal traits by crossing it with other breeds.

Several breeders have crossed the Heck horse with other breeds to get a larger horse with some of the primitive characteristics.

Breeds commonly crossed with the Heck horse are the Welsh pony and Arabian horse.

These three breeds were the founding breeds in development of the Canadian Rustic Pony.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names



Very independent, but gentle and friendly

Physical Characteristics

The head is big, and the withers are low.

The legs and hindquarters are strong.

The hooves of Heck horses are exceptionally strong, and they don’t need horseshoes.

The high-stepping stride of the Heck horse makes them a pleasure to ride and gives them a stylish appearance while being driven.


Dun or grullo, with no white markings.

Primitive marking, like a dorsal stripe and horizontal striping on the legs, are common.

Height (size)

12.2 – 13.2 hands high







Blood Type


Common Uses

General riding and driving



Popular Traits

Primitive markings, high stepping gait



Country of Origin



Konik, Icelandic Horse, Gotland breeds, Przewalski’s Horse