The Fjord horse has a distinct appearance. The breed's conformation differs from many other breeds in that it is a blend of draft horse muscling and bone, with smaller size and greater agility. It has a strong, arched neck, sturdy legs and good feet, and a compact, muscular body. The head is medium sized and well defined with a broad, flat forehead and a straight or slightly dished face, with small ears and large eyes. Despite its small size, the breed is fully capable of carrying an adult human and pulling heavy loads. The hair coat becomes particularly heavy and thick in the winter.
The natural mane is long, thick, and heavy, but is usually clipped in a distinctive crescent shape to between five to ten centimeters (two to four inches) so that it stands straight up and emphasizes the shape of the neck. This roached mane is thought to make for easier grooming. It also accentuates the horse's strong neck and full-length dorsal stripe. There is some feathering on the lower legs; however, the breed standard discourages profuse feathering.
The breed usually ranges in height from 13.1 to 14.3 hands (53 to 59 inches, 135 to 150 cm), but there is no upper or lower limit for the height set for the breed. The weight normally ranges from 400 to 500 kilograms (880 to 1,100 lb). Though some individuals may fall under the traditional cutoff between horses and ponies, the Fjord horse is considered a horse, regardless of height.
Fjord horses have a reputation for a generally good temperament.