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The withers is the elevated transition from the neck to the back in four-legged friends ( mammals ). It is formed by the long spinous processes of the first thoracic vertebrae , from which the neck ligament also originates. Under and over the neck band are in equidae bursa formed.

Correspondingly, the height at the withers is the actual size of a horse or dog , because the withers is the highest point of the body when the head is lowered and is therefore suitable as a measuring point. It is usually determined with a tape measure or a stick measure. However, this does not apply to cattle , where the height of the sacrum is usually given as a relevant measure of body size. In some horse breeds, such as thoroughbreds , the transition from the neck to the withers can be recognized by a clear depression; this is called an ax blow .

Body size is used as a criterion for breed breeding, for which only licensed males and females may be used. These licensed animals must not exceed or fall below a certain height at the withers , also known as body or stick measurements . The height at the withers required for licensing is determined by the respective breed associations and published as a breeding standard. During the licensing (breeding test), the examination committee checks whether the height at the withers of the animal corresponds to the breeding standards. The height at the withers is used as a criterion for approval (approval) or rejection (approval) of the breeding use. The individual height at the withers for breeding admitted animals is entered and administered in the breed books and breeding papers of the respective breed associations.

The largest height measured in horses so far is 2.19 m in a Shire Horse .

See also


  • Olof Dietz, Bernhard Huskamp (ed.): Handbuch Pferdepraxis . 3. Edition. Enke Verlag, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 978-3-8304-1028-7 .
  • Friedr Günther, Karl Günther: The assessment theory of the horse with regard to its service, breeding and commercial value . Hahn'sche Buchhandlung, Hanover 1859.
  • Erwin Zschokke: Instructions for knowledge and health care of the horse . Epubli GmbH, Berlin 2012, reprint of the book from 1885, ISBN 978-3-8442-4358-1 .

Web links

Commons : Withers  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: withers  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations