The haflinger is a sturdy pony breed from the Alpine region in Europe. It was bred for pulling heavy loads on uneven ground under difficult circumstances in the mountains, making it a strong breed with sure-footedness. It is sometimes called avelignese, after a small village in Italy that had a large influence on the breed as a whole.
Despite its large local popularity as a tough working horse, its numbers dwindled as a result of the World Wars, almost resulting in extinction at some points in time. Thanks to a small number of breeders, the breed survived and has continued to become one of Western Europe's most popular breeds with both children and adults. It is a versatile and strong breed with good movements and a friendly character, making it a good horse for many different sports, including dressage and driving.
These days, the breeders' focus is often on the more luxurious type that performs better in modern sports, with the older, heavier type bred for its original use starting to disappear.
The breed is uniformly chestnut, with a tone ranging from light yellow to bright red. The mane and tail are always flaxen. Pangaré is present, lighting the belly and softer parts of the body. There is a very small number of liver chestnuts in the breed, but the colour is not desired, unlike with its closely related brother, the black forest horse.
White is often present as common markings on the head, but surprisingly white on the legs is extremely rare. Some horses appear to be roan, probably due to some form of sabino present in the breed. More white is extremely rare, though there are a few cases of all white foals being born to pure bred parents.