Discovering 5 Fascinating Facts About the Knabstrupper Horse

The only reason most of us are familiar with the Knabstrupper horse is the magnificent totally spotted leopard coat that many of them have, and that is typically where our understanding of the breed ends. Check out some of these additional fascinating details about this horse’s multicolored coat. Have you got one? Add a photo to the comments!

1. The beginning was marked by a mare.

Although numerous horse breeds are established on the backs of prominent stallions, the origin of the Knabstrupper breed can be traced to a chestnut-blanketed mare, which a Danish butcher named Flaeb purchased from a Spanish officer. This mare, referred to as “Flaebehoppen,” or “Flaeb’s mare,” was crossbred with a Fredricksborg stallion, laying the foundation for the development of a distinct breed of vibrantly colored horses, now known as Knabstruppers. (Source:

2. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the breed was on the brink of extinction.

The breed was at risk of extinction because of inbreeding caused by a small population of horses. However, in 1971, a breeder introduced Appaloosa stallions into Denmark to diversify the breed’s genetic pool and prevent its demise, as reported on

3. Their color genes are identical to those of the Appaloosa.

Bringing in Appaloosas was highly effective because both the Appaloosa and Knabstrupper horses possess the Leopard complex gene responsible for their spotted coat patterns. It’s noteworthy that both breeds were created separately from each other, as stated on and

4. It wasn’t until 2002 that the horse arrived in America.

It may be hard to believe, but Americans only had the opportunity to appreciate this stunning breed in 2002 through a breeding program in Europe that involved mating Appaloosa mares with Knabstrupper stallions. The mares had to undergo evaluation and authorization by the German Rheinland-Pfalz-Saar registry, while some breeders utilized Warmbloods, as reported on

5. A horse with 20 different colors.

Legend has it that the founding stallion of the breed was the offspring of a Flaebe mare and a yellow Frederiksborg stallion, with a coat boasting over 20 distinct colors and a shimmering metallic appearance. Regrettably, there are no existing images of the “Flaebestalltion,” as stated on