Official Breed Standard

The Lusitano horse has inspired powerful descriptions – “a horse for a King in days of victory”, “a horse that combines beauty and harmony with a generous and docile temperament and easy, comfortable and brilliant gaits.” A more clinical definition would be the official breed standard for the Lusitano as printed in the Stud Book published by the Associação Portuguesa de Criadores do Cavalo Puro Sangue Lusitano (APSL or the Portuguese Lusitano Breeders Association when translated).

For more personal descriptions as outlined in the quotes above, or to see what a panel of experts has to say about Lusitanos, visit our Quotes page. To learn about the “official” breed standard, please read on.

Lusitano Horse – Official Breed Standard

TYPE – Middleweight (weight around 500 kgs.) “Medium lined”; sub-convex profile (with rounded outlines); a silhouette that can be fitted into a square).

HEIGHT – Medium; at the age of six years, the average height, measured at the withers is 1.55m (nearest conversion 15.1hh) for females and 1.60m (15.3hh) for males.

COAT – The most appreciated and esteemed are all shades of grey and bay.

TEMPERAMENT – Noble, generous and ardent, but always gentle and able to support duress.

MOVEMENTS – Agile, elevated forward, smooth and having a great facility to carry the rider in comfort.

APTITUDE – A natural ability for concentration, with a great disposition for High School work; courage and enthusiasm for the gineta exercises (combat, hunting, bullfighting, work with cattle etc.).

HEAD – Well proportioned, of medium length, narrow and dry, with the lower jaw not too pronounced and the cheek inclined to be long. Slightly sub-convex profile with slightly curved forehead (in advance of the eyebrows’ bones); the eyes, tending to an elliptical form, are big, alive, expressive and confident. Fine, narrow and expressive ears of medium length.

NECK – Of medium length, with fine hair line, deep in the base, well inserted between the shoulders, rising up arched from the withers without convexity, ending at a narrow and fine junction with the head.

WITHERS – Long and well defined, with a smooth transition from the back to the neck, always higher than the croup. On adult stallions is sometimes covered with fat but always prominent from the shoulders.

CHEST – Of medium size, deep and muscular.

RIBCAGE – Well developed, long and deep, slightly arched ribs obliquely inserted into the spinal column giving rise to short and full flank.

SHOULDERS – Long, slanting and well muscled.

BACK – Well placed, tending towards the horizontal and making a smooth connection between the withers and the loins.

LOINS – Short, wide, slightly convex, well connected with the back and croup with which they form a continuous line.

CROUP – Strong and rounded, well-balanced, slightly slanting. The length and width of identical dimensions; harmonious convex profile with the point of the hip unobtrusive, giving the croup a cross section of elliptical shape. Tail with long, silky and abundant hair gently emerging from the convex line of the croup’s profile.

LEGS – The forelegs are well muscled and harmoniously inclined. Upper arm straight and muscular. Knees are thick and dry. The cannons tend to be long, dry and with well-pronounced tendons. The fetlocks are dry, relatively big and with very little hair. The pasterns are relatively long and sloping. The hooves are of good constitution, well formed and proportioned without being too open; the line of the coronet is not very evident. The buttock is short and convex. The thigh is muscular, normally short and oriented in such a way that the patella gaskin is in the same vertical line as the hip-bone, or point of the hip. The legs are normally long, placing the point of the hock in a vertical line with the point of the buttock. The hocks are large, strong and dry. The hind legs form relatively closed angles.



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