The question 'Are Irish Cobs and Gypsy Cobs the same?' has been the cause of worldwide confusion and without an answer to this question coming from Ireland (the country of origin of the Irish Cob) it would continue to cause worldwide confusion.
Irish Cob is a breed name
The Traditional Cob originally bred in Ireland was bred by Irish Travellers, and in 1998 the Traditional Cob originally bred in Ireland was officially recognised in Ireland as a native Irish breed under the breed name Irish Cob.
Although the Traditional Cob is a distinctive breed of cob, and, the Irish Cob is a Traditional Cob breed type, the Irish Cob is also a native Irish breed because having been selectively bred in Ireland over hundreds of years by Irish Travellers the Irish Cob was breeding 'true to type' as the original Traditional Cob long before Traditional Cob pedigrees were first recorded in the 1990's.
Gypsy Cob is a generic term
It is because the Traditional Cob did not have a name under which its pedigrees could be recorded that Gypsy Cob was first used in the mid-1990s as a registration name for Traditional Cobs exported from the UK even though they had Irish-bred ascendants. However, as a result of its acquired usage since the mid-1990s the name Gypsy Cob became an established generic term for all Traditional Cobs (therefore including the Irish Cob).
As a result of Gypsy Cob becoming established as a generic term for all Traditional Cobs, a belief was, therefore, established that the Traditional Cob (which was given the name Gypsy Cob in the UK in the mid-1990s) was originally bred by the Romany people 'of' (and therefore native to) Britain and Ireland. This established belief is reflected in a 2018 article written in Horse & Hound (a UK magazine). However, although the Romani people (aka Gypsies, Romani, and Roma) are an integral part of the traveller community in Britain and Ireland, they are not 'of' (native to) Britain or Ireland - see Gypsy (disambiguation) and Gypsy (noun).
Considering the fact that the "Roma" (Gypsies) originated in the Punjab region of northern India as a nomadic people and entered Europe between the eighth and tenth centuries, and considering the fact that the Roma were called "Gypsies" because Europeans mistakenly believed they came from Egypt, it is apparent that Gypsy Cob could not be an appropriate name for a native British or Irish breed and could, therefore, only be an established generic term.
The Traditional Cobs of Ireland and the UK were originally bred by the native traveller people and Ireland and Britain (Irish Travellers and UK Travellers) and it is actually not known how much influence the Romany people (aka Gypsies, Romani, and Roma) who entered Ireland and Britain may have had (if any) in the creation of Traditional Cobs of Ireland and the UK.
Cause of the worldwide confusion
The cause of worldwide confusion which has posed the question 'Are Irish Cobs and Gypsy Cobs the same?' is the name Gypsy Cob becoming established as a generic term for all Traditional Cobs (therefore including the Irish Cob and the Gypsy Cob which can be different to the Irish Cob). The answer to the question ''Are Irish Cobs and Gypsy Cobs the same?' is, therefore, 'YES' and 'NO'. The answer is 'YES' because the name Gypsy Cob is a generic term for all Traditional Cob breed types and all Irish Cobs can, therefore, be called Gypsy Cobs. The answer is also 'NO' because the name Gypsy Cob is a generic term for all Traditional Cob breed types but because Gypsy Cobs can be different to Irish Cobs, not all Gypsy Cobs can, therefore, be called Irish Cobs.
Although the Traditional Cobs originally bred in Ireland prior to motorisation differed in type to the Traditional Cobs originally bred in Britain prior to motorisation and the breed name Traditional Cob is also, therefore, a group title for the Irish and British Traditional Cob breed types (the Irish Cob and Gypsy Cob), since motorisation other Traditional Cob breed types evolved and they are the Mini Gypsy Cob, and Stepping Cob.
The Traditional Cob originally bred in Ireland (the Traditional Cob of Ireland) was officially recognised in Ireland in 1998 as a native Irish breed under the breed name Irish Cob.
The Irish Cob evolved because Traditional Cobs were usually bred bigger (taller and leggier) and usually hairier in Ireland than in Britain. Because the Irish Cob was bred to be a bigger (taller and leggier) Traditional Cob usually with a good riding type shoulder and handsome straight head, it is the bigger (taller & leggier) and athletically built and versatile dual-purpose (ride and drive) up to 170 cm Irish Cob originally from Ireland (and therefore with Irish ancestral pedigree) that from the mid-1990s made the Traditional Cob breed so popular as a leisure horse not just in Ireland and the UK but also in countries such as Germany, Holland, France, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy and also in the USA and Australia, etc.
In addition to being ridden and shown worldwide in their full 'traditional splendour' of abundant leg feathering and long thick flowing mane and tail, clipped out and hogged the Irish Cob remains a common sight on the hunting fields of Ireland and the UK as well as in cob showing classes both in Ireland and the UK. Some of the most renowned Irish-bred Traditional Cob stallions that contributed to Irish and UK Traditional Cob breeding are The Lion King, The Road Sweeper, The Old Coal Horse, The Lob, and The Henry Horse.
The Irish Cob
(The original Traditional Cob of Ireland)
The Traditional Cob originally bred in Britain was called the Gypsy Cob in the UK in the mid-1990s. Even though many of the Traditional Cobs in the UK in the mid-1990s had Irish ancestral pedigree (and therefore looked like Irish Cobs) they were also called Gypsy Cobs because they were in the UK. However, although Gypsy Cob became an established generic term for all Traditional Cobs breed types (therefore including the Irish Cob), the Traditional Cob originally bred in Britain (aka the Gypsy Cob) is a different type to the Traditional Cob originally bred in Ireland (aka the Irish Cob).
The Gypsy Cob can be smaller, shorter-legged, stockier, and stouter-bodied than the Irish Cob and can have a broader front (chest and shoulders) than the Irish Cob and can have a 'sweeter' (more 'ponyish') head and smaller ears than the Irish Cob. The Gypsy Cob can also have rounder flatter withers that are set further back than the Irish Cob and which can, therefore, give the Gypsy Cob not just a shorter back than the Irish Cob but a back that can have a steeper upward angle to the croup than the Irish Cob. The Gypsy Cob croup can also be shorter than the croup of the Irish Cob and can have a steeper slope to the tail than the Irish Cob.
Mini Gypsy Cob
The Mini Gypsy Cob (which usually has UK ancestral pedigree) is a Gypsy Cob that is under 124 cm
The Stepping Cob (which usually has UK ancestral pedigree) is a Traditional Cob breed type because it is a Traditional Cob with a natural elevated knee and hock action.
The most typical colour of the Traditional Cob originally bred in Ireland by Irish Travellers was piebald (true black with white body markings) and to a lesser extent skewbald (bay, brown, chestnut, grey or roan with white body markings). Solid colours including true black, brown, chestnut, grey or roan were also typical but not as popular. The original Traditional Cob of Ireland was so predominantly piebald that the Irish Travellers who bred them proudly called them 'The Piebald' not just because they are a distinctive breed of cob defined by their ample leg feathering and abundance of flowing mane and tail but because of their true black colour and contrasting white body markings.
When the original Traditional Cob of Ireland was officially recognised in Ireland in 1998 as a native Irish breed under the breed name Irish Cob the breed standard provided for the Irish Cob to be any colour. However, the unfortunate result of this was that 'The Piebald' (the black and white original Traditional Cob) almost stopped being bred in Ireland due to a demand for palomino, dun and even appaloosa Irish Cobs and even though they are attractive colours, they are not typically associated with the Traditional Cob originally bred in Ireland by Irish Travellers. Before 1998 'The Piebald' was a very common sight in Ireland but because so many have been exported from Ireland (due to their popularity) and because the breeding of 'The Piebald' in Ireland almost stopped due to a demand for palomino, dun and appaloosa Irish Cobs, Ireland's traditional 'The Piebald' has unfortunately become a rare sight in Ireland.
NOTE: True black is navy blue-based not red-based. Because true black is an unusual equine colour (except in certain breeds such as the Traditional Cob) many piebald and solid black Traditional Cobs are incorrectly described as brown and white, and brown.
The Tinker / Irish Tinker (which was officially recognised in the Netherlands in 1999) can be an original Traditional Cob or a Part Traditional Cob.
Although the traveller people of Ireland (Irish Travellers) were historically referred to as Tinkers and although Irish Travellers were also historically referred to as Gypsies because of their traveller way of life, Irish Travellers are not genetically related to the Romany people (aka Gypsies, Romani, and Roma).IRISH TINKERS: AN ITINERANT POPULATION IN TRANSITION
Traditional Gypsy Cob
Because the Traditional Gypsy Cob (which was officially recognised in the UK in 2012) is can be the same Traditional Cob breed type as the Irish Cob (which was officially recognised in Ireland in 1998) the Traditional Gypsy Cob and the Irish Cob can share similar Irish ancestral pedigree.
Gypsy Vanner is a name used in the USA for the Traditional Cob.