Key Characteristics

The breed was well adapted to its moorland environment. Their strength and ability to survive the harsh conditions of Dartmoor made them suitable for both farm work and as riding ponies. Despite their small frame they are strong enough to carry a person. 

  • Dartmoor Ponies are a small well muscled pony 
  • They can be bay, brown, black, grey, roan or chestnut in colour
  • They should not exceed 12.2hh


  • The modern type of Dartmoor Pony was established at the end of the nineteenth century. 
  • Previously the influence of a good deal of exotic animals had been evident. 
  • The breed was severely threatened during the Second World War when the army used the moor as a training area, but was rescued by committed owners. 
  • Later, mechanization forced the breed into another decline. 
  • In 1988 the Duchy of Cornwall established the Moorland Scheme to preserve the Dartmoor Pony in its natural environment. 
  • This scheme is administered by both the Duchy of Cornwall and the Dartmoor Pony Society who provide help by subsidizing the scheme. It is also supported by the Dartmoor National Park. 
  • It has been successful and has slowly increased the "true type" Dartmoor Ponies on the Moor.


The Dartmoor Pony is a sturdily build breed with a steady temperament, which makes it ideal for juvenile riders.

The breed is suited to most equestrian disciplines including driving, being well muscled for their size. 

Being small and hardy, the Dartmoor Pony is a great breed for grazing poor quality forage. They are used successfully at a number of sites. 

Ponies were bred at Dartmoor Prison from the early 1900s up until the 1960s, and used by guards for escorting prisoners.

Breed Societies

For more information please contact the Dartmoor Pony Society