Closeup of a flock of horses in a winter landscape

Swedish Cold-blooded Trotter


Two horses in harnesses pulling a cart.
Image: Claes Kärrstrand

Native country: Sweden
Native name: Svensk kallblodig travare
Withers height: Ideally 153cm, but 90% between 146cm-159cm
Brown, Black and red is most common but all colours may occur.
Type: coldblooded trotter
Population size:
456 registered foals in 2019
Number of covered mares 2019:


Not at Risk  Vulnerable  Endangered  Critically Endangered  Extinct


The Swedish cold-blodded trotter is a descendandt of the Nordic Landrace Horse, with its origins sometime 2000-3000 years before Christ, has changed over the centuries through breeding, selection and crossbreeding, and is probably the oldest trotting breed in the world. The role of the horse has changed over time from being a meat and milk producer, a draught and working horse, a resource in the armed forces and in forestry and agriculture to becoming today’s leisure and sports horse (From Avlsplan for kaldblodstraver, 2020). 

Horses galloping in a wintery landscape
Image: Thomas Blomqvist


The landrace horse history is in many ways the basis for trotting as a sport in the Nordic countries. The breed’s ability to walk and trot became particularly important in the Nordic climate with the invention of the sled. (From Avlsplan for kaldblodstraver, 2020).  

Although the breed’s specific use is trotting, the versatility means that the horses are also appreciated in the equestrian and driving sports. The Swedish and Norwegian cold-blooded stallions are closely related and there is a co-operation agreement from the year 2000 on breeding and competitions. Svensk Travsport (ST), the Swedish Trotting Association, is a breeding organization for cold-blooded trotters and collaborates with the breed’s own interest organization SLEIPNER. 


The Swedish Board of Agriculture has listed the cold-blooded trotter as endangered, and it is part of their conservation work. The Swedish Board of Agriculture has a Reference Group for animal genetic resources where representatives of all animal breeds that are listed as endangered are included and where the Swedish Trotting Association is the representative of the cold-blooded trotter. 

Closeup of two horses
Image: Maria Holmén/TR


The development regarding inbreeding in the population is followed annually with calculations made by Dr Thorvaldur Arnasson and inbreeding is also reported at the individual level on, stallion catalogs and The real genetic inbreeding has also been calculated within the framework of research at SLU and NMBU with ST. A number of activities have also been done so that the Swedish part of the population will not decrease further (-about 15% from the year 2000) via redistribution of breeding funds, foal subsidies and the design of the competition system. 

Several things in the breeding plan common to Norway and Sweden have a great bearing on conservation aspects such as the importance of the breed type, strict regulation of breeding stallions’ health and various measures against inbreeding. In the computer program, you can also make virtual crosses where the inbred degree of the intended offspring is reported. In breeding evaluation of stallions, in addition to breed type, health status, performance, breeding index, degree of inbreeding, the stallions’ relationship with the population is also taken into account. 


There are research activities aimed at characterizing the breed. Characterization is an important part of conservation, as we thereby learn whether the breeds have unique characteristics we may need in the future. As the breed is part of our cultural heritage, it is also important to ensure historical knowledge about its development and significance for humans, as we know how to ensure knowledge about this breed while ensuring knowledge about our own societal development.

A group of horses galloping in a field
Image: Martin Langels


Based on a systematic study by NordGen,  until 2019, 13 easily accessible studies were found that included the Swedish Cold-blooded trotter. Swedish Cold-blooded trotter is thus the most characterized Swedish horse worthy of preservation, with characterization studies of phenotypic traits, genetic diversity based on pedigree information and molecular genetic diversity within and between this breed and a selection of other breeds, as well as genetic variation in traits.  

All studies, except 3, examine performance, myostatin, DMRT3 gene association with particular gaits, and regions under selection for trotting. The latter focus on introgression, breeding values ​​and minimization of inbreeding. 8 of the studies focus on molecular genetic diversity. However, no studies were found that examined the socio-cultural significance of the breed. As a large part of the studies focus on characterizing the same few traits, there is still a great need to characterize this breed, as there are still many traits and traits that have not yet been uncovered. Gaining that knowledge will help us be stronger in the conservation work for the breed. 

Fun facts: 

The Swedish and Norwegian Coldblooded trotter has since 2000 had cooperation about the breeding work across the borders and today they have a common breeding program. This is good to conserve genetic diversity and hinder increase of inbreeding 

Date published: April 13, 2021


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