Landais Pony: A Complete Breed Profile

The Landais pony, an increasingly rare breed hailing from France’s picturesque Landes region and now mostly nurtured in Pyrenees-Atlantiques. With Arab and Welsh influences combined to give an Oriental elegance that sets them apart from typical Celtic ponies, this breed boasts graceful trotting ability and excels both riding and driving roles equestrian roles despite facing critical risk of extinction; therefore, preservation efforts must be prioritized immediately to safeguard this essential component of France’s equestrian legacy.

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Historical Roots in Landes de Gascogne

Originating in France’s Landes de Gascogne region of southwestern France, the Landais breed consists of two subspecies. There is the coastal Ledon or Poney des Pins type; and also in marshy Barthes de l’Adour lies Barthais dogs originating in this breed.

These ponies thrived in their natural environments, which ranged from sandy coasts to verdant marshlands. Impact of Environmental and Social Changes

Impact of Environmental and Social Changes

The 19th century saw significant environmental transformations, most notably through plantations of Landes forest and swamp drainage that drastically reduced habitats for these animals.

Motorized transport led to a reduction of bicycle use, and some accidents further diminished their numbers.

World War II and Its Aftermath

Second World War saw some ponies fall prey to land mines. Postwar, their population reached critical lows; Poney des Pins went extinct around 1950 while only Barthais type ponies survived.

Conservation and Revival Initiatives

In 1967, an effort was undertaken to restore Landais dogs back into existence through the establishment of a stud book for them.

Arab and Welsh (Section B) stallions were introduced to combat inbreeding and increase genetic diversity, providing additional genetic variation within populations. Their current status and conservation priorities can be seen below.

The FAO classified Landais as critically endangered in 2007, with only 159 living today (14th July). A 2008 genetic study identified Landais as one of four French horse breeds worthy of conservation attention.

For these reasons and more, modern-day distribution and presence information was considered essential when providing our assessment of its status.

Distribution and Modern-Day Presence

Some Landais ponies live semi-ferally along the Adour and Luy rivers, while most live in Pyrenees-Atlantiques’ Pau arrondissement where their population numbers the largest.

They can be found throughout France as a reminder of endurance and adaptability.


The Landais pony stands out among equine breeds with features that recall both Oriental and Celtic heritages.

This breed’s distinctive appearance combines influences from various horse lineages into one striking pony that serves both visually striking purposes while remaining functionally versatile.

At first glance, Landais pony heads show clear evidence of Arab breeding. This influence lends the breed its refined elegance characterized by a distinctively shaped head which exudes noble and expressive qualities.

Furthermore, its Welsh lineage can be seen through its small upright ears which add character and warmth.

Landais ponies are testaments to adaptability and strength. Boasting fine yet sturdy legs indicative of agility and endurance, their sloping shoulders offer smooth stride efficiency that are useful across various equestrian disciplines. Further adding their distinctive profile is their distinct sloping, well-defined rump.

Landais pony coats offer an exquisite variety of hues. Common shades include bay, black, chestnut liver chestnut and seal brown to further highlight this exquisite breed’s striking appearance.

In addition, white markings often adorn its face and legs to further accent its noble features.

Landais pony’s luxurious mane and tail are hard to overlook. Both its full mane and high-set tail provide both visual appeal and practical benefits such as protection and temperature regulation, further contributing to its regal presence while adapting well to various environmental conditions.