Dwarfism, while certainly not to be described as common in the Friesian breed, is somewhat present. The condition itself is most commonly associated with miniature horses, but does occur more rarely in the larger breeds.

There are two types of dwarfism: achondrodystrophic, which is generally a normally proportioned body with extremely short legs and ears; and brachiocephalic, which is more visually extreme, commonly with disproportionate heads, and disfigured legs, spines and jaws. Both types of dwarfism are debilitating, though the severity may range depending upon the individual.

Suggested Reading:

[Dwarfism in the Friesian and Warmblood Friesian Horse] – An article compiled by the Australian Warmblood Friesian Association. Includes reports by the FPS and Dutch veterinarians addressing the issue of dwarfism in the Friesian breed.

[Normal function of the hypothalamic-pituitary growth axis in three dwarf Friesian foals] – A scholarly article from the British Veterinary Journal. Requires subscription or payment.

Personal Account:

I was blessed with a surprise birth of a friesian filly. She had several medical issues and multiple vet assessments. It was suggested that one of her “issues” was dwarfism. Please see my web site for her story, she is Tifrons. I would be happy to send you more pictures if you are interested. www.dragonflyacres.ca ” — Lisa [lisa@dragonflyacres.ca]