Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS)

Nordland Lyngen


History of the breed          

The Nordlandshest/Lyngshest breed is the smallest Norwegian horse breed. It comes from the county of Lyngen but breeders of Nordland’s county gave the name “Nordlandshest” in 1968 and now a compromise has been accepted and both are regarded as official names.

In the past, these horses were used as workhorses in the small farms. The breed was nearly wiped out during World War II, after which only 20 animals remained, mostly old mares and only one stallion, named Rimfakse. Nowadays, all horses are his descendants.

These horses currently are used for farm work and sport activities, and are appreciated for their calm disposition. Nordlandshest/Lyngshest horses have a wide range of coat colours and this diversity is considered favourable, which is often not the case when establishing a “breed”.

Status DAD – IS (FAO)

The Nordlandshest/Lyngshest is a local breed considered as endangered-maintained. According to its most recent report in 2017, there are about 135 breeding females.

Interventions of conservation programs

The main actions applied trough the conservation programs are as follows:

The first mating plan was implemented in 1995 by the National Horse Center. Breeders have to choose sires from a list based on selection and conservation criteria. In addition, farmers are encouraged to mate reproducers that are the least related possible. Moreover, various promotional actions are undertaken. There are increasing numbers of horses participating in national competitions and festivals and articles promoting the breed are frequently published. The breed benefits from various national funding opportunities.


Starting in 1996, the number of registrations per four year-period first increased from 571 to 702, but then decreased to 341 in the 2012-2015 period, as the financial crisis strongly affected the horse industry in Norway. Nevertheless, over the same time period the effective population size has increased from 87 to 182, showing the efficacy of conservation measures, despite the demographic erosion.


Contact: Siri Furre