Osteochondrodysplasia (OCD) Dwarfism on Friesians

Graphic by Liz C./Threnody works
Graphic by Liz C./Threnody works

Genetic testing on OCD and Hydrochephalus is possible by similar labs worldwide. Have a closer look at genetic testing.


  • Dwarf Friesians' have legs that are 25% shorter and they weigh half as much as a normal Friesian. Their ribcage is compacted and the formation of bone and cartilage are disrupted in the limbs. Back appears long, lax hind ligaments are common. Corrective shoes and boots can aid in walking.
  • Hooves are often severely contracted for a horse their size
  • This form of dwarfism has some parallels to Skeletal Atavism in appearance with shortened upper limbs and an unaffected head.
  • Friesian dwarves have harder physical challenges due to their size. There is more weight and mass acting on their bodies and organs than in miniature horses. This allows the possibility of increased problems in their limbs while raising their risk of colic and organ failures.

(above English text by Liz C./Threnody works, this is a link)

  • the mutation was identified in 2014 and genetic testing is possible and offered directly through the KFPS (see genetic testing)
  • also the mutation causing hydrocephaly has been identified and is offered in a package together with OCD and Red Factor.

(Supplement by Marleen Binder)

Friesian family chart

Graphic by Liz C./Threnody works
Graphic by Liz C./Threnody works

Friesians are at risk of spreading dwarfism to other horses. The popularity of friesian crosses, 'warmbloods' and/or 'sporthorses' has widened the spread of the breed's dwarfism gene across other areas of the equine gene pool. These friesian crosses are being bred together or back to full-blooded friesians. Dwarf offspring can and are occurring from these combinations. There are multiple cases of mix-breed dwarfs with friesian blood on both sides.

Movies about Tifrons


Mrs. Marleen Binder


RIP: Daisy, skeletal atavism dwarf, 2006
RIP: Daisy, skeletal atavism dwarf, 2006