Compact and powerful, the Auxois is closely related to Ardennais. This is a strong and enduring equine which is thought to have existed side by side with Ardennais since the Middle Ages. The horse is named for the lush Auxois area, which includes the southwest of Côte d'Or.
The Auxois has a short head with wide forehead, small, alert ears, and a muscular, short neck. His wide chest and a massive body give him the power to plough, and, despite its bulk, he is supple and free-moving. The Auxois is a quiet, good-natured and willing worker, and he has also found favor with the tourism industry.
The Auxois stands 15.1-16 hh at the withers and weighs about 1,650-2,425 lb. The coat may be red or roan, occasionally chestnut or red roan. Originally the horse was smaller than it is today. In the 19th century the breed was influenced by the Percheron and the Boulonnais, and more recently also by the Trait du Nord.
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With about 800 000 animals belonging to 50 different breeds (source: Haras Nationaux), France shows a large diversity of horse populations. Among these breeds, 21 have a French origin or have been bred in France for at least a century. According to the FAO, at least 15 populations have disappeared during the last 50 years, and eight indigenous breeds are still considered as endangered or endangered-maintained. Among those breeds, the majority are draught breeds, namely the Ardennais, Auxois, Boulonnais, Poitevin and Trait du Nord breeds, the other ones being the Merens warm-blooded breed and the Landais and Pottock pony breeds.
- Horse Breeds of the World. Nicola Jane Swinney, Bob Langrish
- Simon & Schuster's guide to horses & ponies of the world. Maurizio Bongianni
- Genetic diversity of a large set of horse breeds raised in France assessed by microsatellite polymorphism