Gypsy  Horses

The Gypsy Horse (USA), also known as an Irish cob (Ireland, 
UK, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands), Gypsy Cob (France), Gypsy Vanner (USA), Coloured Cob (UK, Ireland), Tinker (the Netherlands) or Tinker horse (Sweden, Germany), is a horse breed.  The breed originates from the UK and Ireland.  Members of the breed come in a variety of colours, but predominantly are of piebald colouring and have many draft characteristics, including heavy bone and abundant feathering on the lower legs.  There is no exact known history of the Gypsy Cob.  It is believed by some that the Gypsy Cobs are descended from a combination of Shires, Clydesdales, Friesians, and Dales Ponies with their origins in the Roman gypsy community of the United Kingdom.
Gypsy  Vanner horse

Piebald Gypsy mare 
Alternative names:
Irish cob, Gypsy horse Gypsy Cob, Coloured Cob

Country of origin:
United Kingdon and Ireland

Horse (Equus ferus caballus)


There is not set colour standard for Gypsy Cobs, although the breed often is piebald in colouring.  In the united Kingdom, patterns consisting of patches of black and white are traditionally called piebald, and patches of any colour with white are called skewbald.  Some individuals are of a solid colour with main, tail, and weithers of another.  The Gypsy Vanner typically has an abundant mane and tail as well as "feather" or "feathering" on the legs, long hair starting at the cannon bone and flowing down over the hooves.

The build is powerful and compact, with a short neck and back.  The Gypsy Cob is heavy boned, the typical horse measuring between 14 and 16 hands (56 and 64 inches, 142 and 163 cm), but there is no height limit in the registry.  The cannon circumference can range from 8" to 12".  The chest is broad with well sprung ribs, the hips are heavy.  They have short backs, strong shoulders, and the withers are rounded.  The hair should be straight and silky, kinky hair is a fault.  Their legs should have heavy bone set on large hooves, their hind legs should not be too straight.  Gypsy Vanners must also have excellent endurance and be able to go long distances with tiring.

Up until the late twentieth century, the Gypsy Cob was not a recognized breed.  Not much is known about the bloodlines of Gypsy Cobs because pedigrees usually were kept secret and only family members knew the details, however, as the interest in the breed grew, several breed registries developed.

The first registered horses were imported to North America in November of 1996.  There are three different registry classifications for the breed in the U.S., based on height.  If the horse is under 14 hands, it is considered to be a "mini Gypsy".  If the horse is 14-15.2 hands high, it is known as a "classic Gypsy", and if the breed is 15.2 or taller, it is known as a "grand Gypsy".

Feather on the lower legs

Solid-coloured Gypsy Vanners are accepted for registration

Hock Set of a Gypsy


The Gypsy Cob was bred to be a wagon horse.  These horses were bred by the Romany, and pulled wagons or "caravans" known as Vardos, which is a type of covered wagon in which people sometimes lived.  They were also used as riding horses for children.  Today, the Gypsy Cob is rarely used for pulling Vardoes, but it is still looked upon as a symbol of power and strength among the Romany.


Marsha Schulz
24085  458th Ave.
Madison, S.D.  57042


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