At the end of th 19th century original Shetland ponies were imported from the British Isles into the USA. In the course of time, as usual with other horse breeds, the ponies were bred according to the desired qualities and use, in this case as a children's riding pony and a driving pony. A pony emerged which was more elegant and showed improved movement in comparison to the British original type. In the USA it has been registered since 1888 with the American Classic Shetland. The first inclusion in the British stud-book was in 1891.
In 1964 a group of American breeders of Shetland ponies visited Europe, and came in contact with German colleagues, among whom was Dieter Grober from Bad Gandersheim. He was impressed by the
qualities of the American Shetland ponies. A year later he imported the US champion of 1961, the dark brown Jiggs, as well as several mares. Further imports followed. From 1965 onwards the ponies of this type, known as "Sporting Shetlands", enjoyed increasing popularity and improved the German breed considerably.
A very similar appearance regarding type and colour emerged. There is by now a considerable population. For 35 years the ponies were fully recognized as Shetland ponies by the German stud associations.
During the recognition process of the German Shetland breed by the British Stud-book (according to EU law), full recognition as Shetland pony was refused to all ponies with American bloodlines.
The proposed relegation to a "German Part-bred Shetland" does not correspond to the actual facts and for many German breeders was inacceptable. In agreement with the breeders' associations the
decision was taken from the year 2000 to breed these ponies under the name of "Deutsches Classic-Pony". It is thus a German breed, the breeding guidelines for which are set by Germany.