The homelands of this mountain horse are the high flats/plains above the cities of Meran and Bolzano in the southern Tyrol. Not far from Meran is a settlement Hafling after which this horse was named. The main region for breeding was the northern Tyrol from where the breed spread to the surrounding countries in the Alpine region. Haflinger came from a smaller form of the Noric horse, which was crossbred with Arabian fullblooded stallions of the El-Bedavi and the Dahoman line. Due to a specific selection among certain forms, the crossbreds established, through adjustments to living conditions and inbreeding, an entire herd of horses; therefore the Haflinger can be recognized as an individual genuine breed of horse. The front end of this horse shows a warmblood, while the hind end shows the Noriker.
Haflinger is a smaller horse of average height slightly under 14 h, short-legged with a deep, wide and long body and slightly sloped hind quarters. His head is long in the face, with sparkly eyes showing the Oriental origin. In the over all appearance, the Haflinger is a small, light and refined version of the Noriker. His most common color is a dark chestnut with a white mane and tail. The Haflinger is quite priceless for the high mountain environment and is mostly used in pulling or as a packhorse (soumar) and also as a very reliable riding horse; that is why the military was interested in his breed. In Italy around Bolzano is/was bred Haflinger of a smaller form in the color of lighter chestnut.