The district in which this horse is produced is easily ascertained from the name borne by the variety, which, beyond a doubt, is a very ancient one. Indeed it is claimed on behalf of the Holstein that several celebrated studs in Germany, Spain, and Italy have descended from representatives of this breed which have been imported into these countries, and it is practically certain that this horse was the tap-root from which the Hanoverian breed originally sprang.
The origin of this variety, it must be candidly admitted, is obscure, but it appears almost certain that it contains a strong strain of Eastern or thoroughbred blood, as the head is usually particularly neat for a big horse; whilst the middlepiece, quarters, and short legs, to say nothing of the free action which many Holsteins possess, denote the probability of a Hackney cross. It may also be observed that the Holstein Stud Book can claim to be the oldest publication of its kind in Germany, having first appeared in 1886, which fact goes some way towards proving that the merits of the breed are highly appreciated. It must not be understood, of course, that there were not previous registers connected with the Holstein horse, for there were such in existence, and these contained references to the breed which dated back for a century or more.
As regards his appearance, the Holstein may be referred to as a horse of good height, with bone and very fairly high action, though his dash is inferior to that of the Hackney. He is rather breedy-looking for his height, which fact renders him a desirable animal in the eyes of those who admire a powerful weight-carrying saddle-horse of the Continental type, though the Holstein is scarcely the average Englishman's idea of the correct stamp of riding animal.