Gypsy Vanner Horse Breed

Through selective breeding over more than 100 years Gypsy men and their families in England and Ireland created this breed of horses. Their goal, was to create a unique draft type horse that could pull their caravans in fancy fashion yet was docile enough to be handled by their children and would work all day with small amounts of food and water.

They designed the horse to primarily be half black, and half white. They wanted the horses to have a "WOW" factor so that each family could always have a competition on whose stallion was the finest. The average Gypsy Vanner should stand about 14.3 hands high, and be most any color these days. They should have an arched crown neck, smaller ears that curve inward, a round and correct heavy chest, thick boned legs with feathers that start at the knee in the front and the hock in the back that tent-like cover the hooves. This horse should have a very chiseled and refined head with tapering towards the end of the muzzle, and kind, well set eyes. The Gypsy Vanner, or Gypsy Cobb horse as it is sometimes referred to, should have a short back and a very well rounded hindquarter, and a crease down the center of the hindquarter that is called "Apple Butt." The breed should also have a very wide and thick tail that is not set too high, and may eventually drag the ground.

Origins of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Breed

Extensive research has revealed the true origin of the Gypsy Vanner breed.  The Shire horse had the greatest influence with the Fells pony, Dales pony, the Clydesdales and the British Spotted pony also contributed to its makeup, with the Highland pony giving rise to its magnificent mane and tail.

The Gypsy and nomadic people popularized the use of the Gypsy Vanner in Europe and gained its popularity in the USA in the mid 90’s.  At 14.2 – 15.2 hands, it is considered suitable for riding and all athletic pursuits and is favored in America for breeding purposes.


Origins of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Breed


The name Gypsy Vanner Horse® represents a definitive breed born from a vision to create a specific looking horse. The goal of that vision was achieved and the result is a breed capable of evoking great emotion.

  • Short back
  • Heavy hips
  • Broad chest
  • Heavy flat bone at the knee
  • Feathering that starts at the knee and hock and covers the front of the hooves
  • A short strong neck and a sweet head

Established in 1996, The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society is the mother studbook for the breed and the first in the world.

The Stallion Pride and Joy exemplifies Gypsy Vanner Conformation perfect Gypsy Vanner Horse Conformation.

(Please see the standards below.)

A perfect caravan horse is strong, intelligent, docile, athletic, colorful and has excellent endurance.

It is our mission to show that these same traits would make the perfect horse for any number of pursuits. Gypsy Vanners will be evaluated on the following seven points of conformation.

Learn more about Gypsy Vanner Conformation

Click here to view a series of videos by Gypsy MVP and Wayne Hipsley about Gypsy Vanner Conformation



Gypsy Vanner Horses® Current Breed Standards for 2005 Stallions/Mares/Geldings


  1. Color:

    The Gypsy Vanner is not a color breed it is a body type, therefore all colors, markings and patterns are acceptable. In honor of the British Gypsy heritage of the breed, the following names will be used to describe a Gypsy Vanner's color.

    1. Piebald: Black & White
    2. Skewbald: Red & White, Brown & White, Tri-Color
    3. Odd Colored: Any other color
    4. Blagdon: Solid color with white splashed up from underneath

  2. Height:

    There are three height classifications, all having the same standards.

    1. Mini Vanner: Under 14 hands.
    2. Classic Vanner 14 hands up to but not including 15.2 H.
    3. Grand Vanner 15.2 H and up.

      In 2006 the registry changed this classification; all horses registered are now just called Gypsy Vanners. There are no size classifications anymore.

  3. Body:

    The Gypsy Vanners have the look of a small to average size horse with a draft horse type body.

    1. Back: Short coupled and in proportion to overall body
    2. Withers: Well rounded, not high and fine
    3. Chest: A deep, broad chest with well sprung ribs.
    4. Shoulder: Sloping shoulder with well developed muscle
    5. Hindquarters: Heavy, powerful hips with a well muscled rounded croup, tail not set to low. Slab sided or severely sloping hindquarters are considered a fault.
    6. Neck: Strong and of ample length, stallions must display a bold look with a rainbow (well arched) crest.

  4. Legs:

    Clean, heavy to medium heavy bone set on medium to large hoof .

    1. Front: Set square, muscular with broad flat well developed knees.
    2. Rear: Hocks that are broad and clean, a Vanner will have the modified closer hock set of a pulling horse, but not as close as the modern draft horse. Set back or sickle hocks are a fault.
    3. Hoof : large round hoof , open at the heels with well developed frogs. Small contracted hooves are considered a fault
    4. Leg movement: Clean, straight and true with energy and a distinctive and effortless trot.

  5. Hair:

    Ideal hair is straight and silky, with some wave, curl and body being acceptable, kinky hair is a fault.

    1. Abundant feathering should begin at the knees on the front legs and at or near the hocks on the rear, extending over the front of the hooves.
    2. Mane, forelock and tail should be ample to profusely abundant, double manes are common but not required.

  6. Head:

    A sweet head is a more refined head than a typical shire might have, set on a strong neck in harmony with the horses overall look.

    1. Throat and jaw: Clean throat-latch and jaw.
    2. Nose: Flat and tapered, a slightly roman nose is acceptable if it goes with the horses overall look. A heavy roman nose is not acceptable.
    3. Eyes: Any color, wide set, bright, alert and kind.
    4. Ears: In proportion to the head, not too large.

  7. Nature:

    A Vanner should be alert and willing with traits of intelligence, kindness and docility, a Golden Retriever With Hooves®

  8. Remember that when you are looking to find a Gypsy Vanner for sale, you will always want to ensure they are registered and full bred. By nature they are very athletic horses; gypsy vanner's are docile, strong and intelligent. They prefer living in a none threatening environment. A Gypsy Vanner for sale should be suitable for the harness, but also for bareback riding. Gypsy Vanner's are sound horses; easily kept and maintained.

    Be sure to contact us today to locate the best Gypsy Vanner horses.

    Gypsy Vanner Horses for Sale offers a wide selection of colts, mares, stallions and filly Gypsy Vanner horses for sale. Ranging in a variety of colors which include: Piebald, Skewbald, Blue Roan, Lemon and White, With and even Black Gypsy Vanner horses for sale. Be sure to visit the Gypsy MVP sales pages to find a Gypsy Vanner for sale.