The Boulonnais is said to descend from the horses imported by Julius Caesar’s legions, which stayed along the coasts of the Pas-de-Calais before invading what is now Great Britain.
Much later came the Crusades and the Spanish occupation of Flanders. These events brought a great deal of Oriental and Andalusian blood to the Boulonnais area. Additional crosses with Andalusian stock and Mecklenburg blood from Germany further shaped the breed.
Colour: mostly grey, but also bay and chestnut.
Height: between 15 and 17hh.
Conformation: heavy horse with elegance and distinction. Short elegant head with a wide flat forehead and a proud sharp eye. Well open nostrils and small, alert ears. A thick muscular neck, double mane, thick but not very long. A wide chest, good rounded rib cage, a perfectly set shoulder, well placed withers but often set within the muscle structure. A straight back, strong muscular limbs, solid clean joints, open hocks, short cannon bones and very little hair on the limbs.
Character: easy-going, sociable breed.
Uses: Draught work.