For centuries, large horses have been bred to help humans with all types of jobs. From pulling chariots to riding in parades and racing in competitions, these noble creatures have been of great usefulness to mankind.
The Shire is currently the largest horse breed in the world, and its known for its tall , muscular build and feathered legs. Even in modern times, farmers with small farms are finding this breed of horses a better eco-friendly alternative to tractors.
Perhaps one of the reasons Shire horses are used to perform heavy tasks is that they historically rank among the strongest breeds. However, due to the ever-increasing mechanization of transportation equipment, people have turned to the more modernized means of carriage, which has resulted in the number of Shire horses decreasing significantly. Height: 16 18 hands Weight: 1, 800 2, 000 pounds Country of Origin: Scotland Life Expectancy: 20 25 years
Some of the notable characteristics include silky feathery legs, a broad forehead, and a long arched neck. Owing to their gentle and energetic nature, these beautiful creatures are used on farms and other areas requiring their abilities. In addition, due to their flashy appearance characterized by the white, feathered hooves , these horses are also used for shows and parades.
Height: 15 19 hands Weight: 1, 900 2, 000 pounds Country of Origin: France Life Expectancy: 25 30 years Those bred in France or the USA, for instance, tend to be bigger than similar breeds in Great Britain. Height: 15 18 hands Weight: 1, 800 2, 200 pounds Country of Origin: Belgium Life Expectancy: 18 24 years
Today, the horse is still used in agriculture work and cart pulling as well as in shows and riding circles. Belgian Drafts are generally shorter than many of the horses considered larger breeds but we still have some that have been found to grow as huge as the Shire. The most famous giant Belgian was the Brooklyn Supreme that stood up to 19 hands tall and weighed more than 3, 000 pounds.
Height: 15 17 hands Weight: 1, 500 1, 700 pounds Country of Origin: The Netherlands Life Expectancy: 15 20 years Over the years, Dutch Drafts have excelled at farm work, where they have been used to pull incredibly heavy loads for extended periods of time. It is Great Britains oldest native breed of horse, primarily bred for farm work.
This downward curve has continued over the years and today there are only a few of these horses left, with their status considered critical by the American Livestock Breeds Conservatory . Height: 15.1 16.3 hands Weight: 1, 600 1, 800 pounds Country of Origin: United States Life Expectancy: 25 30 years It has an appealing cream coat, beautiful amber eyes, and a brilliant white mane and tail.
This horse has the typical draft configuration, with a wide chest, short, strong back, and properly muscled hindquarters. Height: 16 17.2 hands Weight: 1, 320 1, 980 pounds Country of Origin: Australia Life Expectancy: 20 30 years Some of the notable physical traits include a strong and hardy physique, clear alert eyes, medium-length neck, well-muscled shoulders, wide chest, hips, and hindquarters, and light, medium-feathered legs.
Some experts argue that you can trace this breed back to the horses that the calvary of Julius Caesar left behind before invading England. Boulonnais horses are typically gray in color, but modern breeds sometimes have a black or chestnut coat. The neck is thick, muscular, and gracefully arched and the legs are solid and strong with clean joints.
Height: 15 16.1 hands Weight: 1, 430 1, 760 pounds Country of Origin: Denmark Life Expectancy: 25 30 years They are believed to be a descendant of the Fredriksborg horse and some of the ancient breeds used to develop the Suffolk Punch.
What horse is bigger than a Clydesdale?
Among all large horse breeds found, the Shire, Percheron, and Belgian Draft are apparently the only ones that are bigger than a Clydesdale.
What horse is bigger than a Shire?
The famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses are usually at least 18 hands high and weigh up to 2,300 pounds. King LeGear is perhaps the biggest Clydesdale around, standing at a high 20.5 hands high. He weighed 2,950 pounds, which is bigger than a Shire Horse. These horses are known for their energetic nature.
Which is the most powerful horse breed?
The strongest horse breed in the world is the Belgian Draft horse, which consistently wins global pulling contests.
There are hundreds of horse breeds around the world. Horses have been domesticated for hundreds if not thousands of years, leading to plenty of variation between different breeds. Some of these breeds are very small, but others are substantial.
Their numbers continue to lower, as many dont want to keep large horses unless they have a practical need for them. The famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses are usually at least 18 hands high and weigh up to 2,300 pounds.
Their definite ancestors include a Lampits mare and a Thomsons stallion. Image Credit: StratoArt, PixabayThe Percheron is another colossal horse. Today, since coaches are hardly used, they are mostly utilized in horse shows, parades, and driving.
The Belgian Draft didnt develop as its own breed until after World War II. Today, these horses are most common in heavy farm work and forestry. Image Credit: nigel baker photography, ShutterstockThis horse breed is quite old and relatively tall.
This horse likely has close genetic ties with some pony breeds, despite being massive. They are ancient and have reached a genetic bottleneck due to the massive losses during the World Wars. Image Credit: navatu, ShutterstockThe Dutch Draft is a newer breed of horse.
They didnt appear until after World War I, in which Ardennes and Belgian Draft horses were commonly bred together. It became popular in Zeeland and Groningen, mostly for farm work and similar heavy pulling jobs. However, it didnt have much time to become popular until World War II, where it suffered heavy losses and became a rarer breed.
They are basically a hybrid, with the genetics of Clydesdales, Percherons, Shires, and Suffolk Punches all wrapped up in this one breed. Many are not registered, so the exact number of horses around today is challenging to figure out. This horse was initially derived from the Belgian Brabant and was developed for heavy labor and agricultural work in the Soviet Union.
This is one of several breeds that were all developed simultaneously, including the Russian Heavy Draft, which is often confused with this horse. The females have a lower fertility rate of only 65%, though the foals are easy to care for and grow quickly. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!
The largest breeds of horses generally fall into the category draft horse. These horses were bred for heavy work until they were eventually replaced by machines. Because of their immense size, draft horses were bred to have calm, docile, willing temperaments.
Originating in Scotland, Clydesdales are a very popular draft breed in the United States. While they are known for their ability to pull a load, Clydesdales can also make great riding horses.
Hold Your Horses: Clydesdales need some special considerations due to their size. They take up more room than your average horse, eat a lot, and may need a special diet to maintain good body condition. The American version was selectively bred to have a sorrel color with a flaxen mane and tail.
They are susceptible, however, to chronic progressive lymphedema, a common ailment in some draft breeds. The disease, linked to a genetic component, results in the lymphatic system malfunctioning, which may cause severe complications and even death. It has been observed in many draft breeds including Shires, Clydesdales, Belgians, and Percherons.
Today, they are used for breeding, pulling, competitive driving, riding, and in therapeutic applications. Want a horse with a good temperament: The Percheron is known to be intelligent and willing with a good disposition Want a popular draft horse: Known as Americas favorite draft breed, Percherons are known for their versatility Like these colors: Black or gray are the most associated colors for this breed, but they can also come in chestnut, bay, or roan colors (with feathers!) Shire horses typically weigh 2,000 lbs and stand at 17.2 hh
First used in war, the Shire was later repurposed for harness work, becoming the largest and strongest draft horse in Britain. Want a mild-mannered, massive horse: The Shire is described as calm and placidthey dont spook easily Want a well-known draft breed with roots dating back to the Roman Conquest: While less common in the United States, the Shire has an impressive history in Europe Like these colors: The Shire comes in many colors, including bay, black, brown, and gray, and the breed has feathering on the legs The feathered legs require a lot of grooming; if not kept clean, they can get a bacterial infection known as scratches, or mud fever.
According to the breed standards, it should be a pleasant, roundly modeled whole that pertains, like the singleness of color, to no other breed. They may only be chestnut in color, and unlike other draft breeds, do not have feathering on their legs. Hold Your Horses: If you want a Suffolk Punch, it may be hard to find onethey are very rare and, as of 2016, considered to be critically endangered. That said, there are several breeders in US and Canada; the web page below also lists available horses for sale.
The American Cream is Americas only native draft horse breed, with roots going back to the early 1900s. Similar to the Suffolk Punch, the American Cream is also on the critically endangered breed list. That said, the breed association is actively looking for new enthusiasts and owners and even offers a scholarship for youth who work with these animals.
Since they are bred for farm work, they tend to be heavier on the forehand than your average horse, which requires some additional training to excel at movements like the extended trot. While fairly uncommon in present times, this draft breed was popular before being replaced by machinery. Want a horse with a willing temperament: Dutch draft horses are known for having a quiet disposition and good work ethic Want a lesser known draft breed: The Dutch Draft is not very common, with less than 2,000 left in the world Like these colors: These horses can be chestnut, bay, gray, or black and have feathers.
These horses closely resemble the Belgian Heavy draft, as they share ancestry While the Clydesdale tends to be one of the biggest breeds , the tallest AND heaviest documented horse (of all time) was actually a Shire named Sampson, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Big Jake is a Belgian gelding that broke the record for the tallest living horse in 2010.
The biggest horse in recorded history was a Shire named Sampson. Riding capabilities may vary depending on individual confirmation and behaviors. Draft horses have many wonderful characteristicsthey are known for calm demeanors, willing personalities, and (obviously) their impressive size!
The Shire is currently the largest horse breed in the world, and it’s known for its tall, muscular build and feathered legs. It is also one of the horses with an easy-going temperament.This breed is typically bay, grey, black, brown, or chestnut. It has an interesting history, the most notable being pulling giant carts of ale from breweries to homes. But it has served many other purposes including farming, riding, and fighting at battlefields.Even in modern times, farmers with small farms are finding this breed of horses a better eco-friendly alternative to tractors.Perhaps one of the reasons Shire horses are used to perform heavy tasks is that they historically rank among the strongest breeds. In the 1920s two Shires are said to have transported a load weighing more than 40 tons!However, due to the ever-increasing mechanization of transportation equipment, people have turned to the more modernized means of carriage, which has resulted in the number of Shire horses decreasing significantly.But thanks to organizations like the American Shire Horse Association, there is hope for this almost extinct breed of horses. Due to their effort, Shire horses are slowly starting to make a comeback.
Did you know Percheron horses were once considered the tallest in the world? That’s right! Original Percherons could even go up to 19 hands in height.The crossbreeding of Percherons with lighter horses like the Arabian, however, had a significant influence on the size and strength of these horses. But there is also an upside to it; it also contributed to their elegant appearance.Today, Percherons are used in parades, riding, horse shows, and many other equine activities. They are also some of the most intercrossed, especially when the breeding involves a larger horse and a smaller one.This breed of horse is best known for its hardiness, willingness to work, and ability to withstand severe climates.Percherons are mostly black or gray. Their size, however, depends on the country they are bred. Those bred in France or the USA, for instance, tend to be bigger than similar breeds in Great Britain.
Dutch Draft is one of the rarest breeds of horse, but still ranks among the largest horses ever known. It is a crossbreed of the Belgian Draft and the Ardennes, and one of the most popular in ancient equine activities.Over the years, Dutch Drafts have excelled at farm work, where they have been used to pull incredibly heavy loads for extended periods of time. They are very intelligent and have a relatively calm demeanor. These horses are also known to walk slower than other draft breeds.Most Dutch Drafts have a bay, grey, or Chestnut coat. They also have a straight head, short legs, a wide neck, and an overall muscular body. Plus they have those beautiful feathered hooves borrowed from their Belgium ancestors.
The American Cream Draft is the only historic draft bred in the US still in existence. It has an appealing cream coat, beautiful amber eyes, and a brilliant white mane and tail. Some breeds have white markings.This horse has the typical draft configuration, with a wide chest, short, strong back, and properly muscled hindquarters. It is mostly used for driving, shows, riding, and farm work.As with Suffolk Punch, the American Cream Draft is considered a critical breed. The number of registered breeds, however, has increased over the years, but it’s still not at a point of being considered safe.
Also known as the White Marble, Boulonnais is the most elegant of all drafts. It is one of the breeds that have been around for some time, with its origin dating back to the times there were no crusades.Some experts argue that you can trace this breed back to the horses that the calvary of Julius Caesar left behind before invading England.Over the years, Boulonnais horses have been crossed with other breeds like the Arabian, Andalusian, and Spanish Barb to refine them, and the resulting breeds have further been intercrossed to create other draft horses.Boulonnais horses are typically gray in color, but modern breeds sometimes have a black or chestnut coat. Their head is short and distinctive, with a wide forehead and small, erect ears. The neck is thick, muscular, and gracefully arched and the legs are solid and strong with clean joints.Despite their large size, these horses are easy to work with. They are social, active, and energetic, which makes them wonderful companions.
The Shire horse is easily the largest horse in the world. These things make other horses look like dwarfs. They range from 17 to 19 hands tall and can weigh up to 2,400 pounds. They were selectively bred to be large for farm and industrial work. This led to the enormous size they are today.In the past, this breed towed barges, pulled carts, and handled heavy plows. They’re used for both farm and industrial work.However, because most farms are mechanized these days, these horses are nearing extinction. Their numbers continue to lower, as many don’t want to keep large horses unless they have a practical need for them.Multiple groups are looking to revive this breed, though. Their numbers have slowly recovered, though they are still considered endangered today.
This horse is a bit better known than the Shire Horse. However, they are a bit smaller. They are somewhere between 16 to 18 hands high and weigh between 1,800 to 2,000 pounds. They can be larger, though.The famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses are usuallyThese horses are known for their energetic nature. They can be quite gentle, but they are also rather excitable. They are used for agriculture, industrial, and forestry purposes that require strength.They are also consideredThis is an ancient breed. There is no record of when the Clydesdale horse began. We know they existed in the mid-18
The Percheron is anotherThis horse varies in size quite a bit. They can be anywhere from 15 to 19 hands high, which is a huge variety of sizes.While they were known in France, their actual history and development are unknown. They may be as old as 496 A.D.This breed is unlike other draft horses because Arabian and oriental horses heavily influence them. This goes back to the 8Back in the 19Unlike most draft horses, these also make good riding horses.
The Belgian Draft didn’t develop as its own breed until after World War II. The Belgian Draft is taller than most horses, but it is also lighter. This means it can’t carry as heavy of a load as other draft horses on this list, though it is still considered a heavy horse.They usually weigh around 2,000 pounds and stand around 16.5 hands high. With their heavyweight, these horses are also capable of pulling heavy loads. Two Belgian Drafts were recorded to pull 17,000 pounds.Today, these horses are most common in heavy farm work and forestry. However, they are still useful as riding horses. This is one of the few draft breeds that are not on the edge of extinction.They are generally shorter than most other draft breeds, but this breed still has some pretty giant horses. The most well-known Belgian Draft was named Brooklyn Supreme. This horse stood 19.2 hands tall and weighed over 3,000 pounds.
This horse breed is quite old and relatively tall. They are the tallest horse in Britain, standing between 16.1 and 17.2 hands high. They weigh around 2,000 pounds in most cases, though bigger horses are possible. These are still popular today for forestry and farm work. They also do a lot in the advertising industry, thanks mostly to their striking figure.We don’t exactly know when this breed first came about. However, we have mentions that date back to 1586, so we know the breed has changed little since that time. This horse likely has close genetic ties with some pony breeds, despite being massive.This is one of the rarer horse breeds on this list. They are ancient and have reached a genetic bottleneck due to the massive losses during the World Wars. There are very few left in Britain today.In America, the breed is a bit better off. However, crossbreeding with Belgian Drafts is allowed in the United States, while the British still do not allow this. For this reason, the British also do not allow crossbreeding with American Suffolk Punches.
The Dutch Draft is a newer breed of horse. They didn’t appear until after World War I, in which Ardennes and Belgian Draft horses were commonly bred together. This led to a whole new breed of horse – the Dutch Draft.This breed is quite heavyset. It became popular in Zeeland and Groningen, mostly for farm work and similar heavy pulling jobs. However, it didn’t have much time to become popular until World War II, where it suffered heavy losses and became a rarer breed.This is likely one of the strongest horse breeds. They often compete in horse-drawn plowing events, where they often win. Despite this, they are much smaller than some of the other draft horses. Mares are usually around 15 hands high and stallions are around 17 hands high.Still, they are much larger than most other breeds out there. They are not small horses by any means.
Australian Draught Horse
This horse breed is a giant conglomeration of other horse breeds on this list. They are basically a hybrid, with the genetics of Clydesdales, Percherons, Shires, and Suffolk Punches all wrapped up in this one breed. They didn’t become their own breed until 1976 when they started their studbook.As the name suggests, this horse was bred for Australia. To make the horse suitable for this country, many large horses were used. It is likely that many of these horses were brought over with settlers, and then crossbreeding began to happen. Eventually, this led to a new breed.This horse is famous throughout Australia, where it is the dominant draft breed. Many are not registered, so the exact number of horses around today is challenging to figure out.This horse is relatively large, though it is smaller than many of its ancestors. It can stand between 16.2 and 17.2 hands high and weighs between 1,300 to 1,900 pounds. Bigger horses are acceptable.Despite their relatively smaller size, they are just as strong as some of the other horses on this list. They are also very gentle and docile, which makes them easy to work with. Many people say they are a joy to own.
Russian Heavy Draft/Ardennes
The American Cream Draft is the only draft horse developed in the United States that is still in existence. All the others are now extinct. Even this horse is still a rare breed today.They are best known for their gold champagne color, which is where they get part of their name from. This coloration is produced by putting a champagne gene on top of a chestnut color gene. For this reason, this breed comes in both champagne gold and chestnut, depending on whether or not the horse gets the champagne gene. This breed usually only has amber eyes.This breed first popped up in Iowa during the early 20Since farming has become mechanized, this breed has fallen out of popularity. The registry became inactive for several decades. However, it was reactivated in 1982. The breed has been growing steadily since then, though they are still considered to be critical.
Lithuanian Heavy Draught
This draught horse was created during the 19Currently, the breed is near extinction. There were only 1,000 horses left less than 20 years ago.This horse usually stands around 15 to 16 hands high. They are not as large as some other breeds on this list, though they are still decently powerful. They come in various colors as well, including bay, chestnut, black, grey, and roan. They have strong, solid legs and are quite muscular.
The largest breeds of horses generally fall into the category “draft horse.” These horses were bred for heavy work until they were eventually replaced by machines. Because of their immense size, draft horses were bred to have calm, docile, willing temperaments.
The Belgian Draft comes from (you guessed it) Belgium, however there is an American Belgian draft horse as well. We will discuss both here for the sake of simplicity. The American version was selectively bred to have a sorrel color with a flaxen mane and tail.
The Suffolk originated in England and is known for its uniformity of type. According to the breed standards, it should be “a pleasant, roundly modeled whole that pertains, like the singleness of color, to no other breed.” They may only be chestnut in color, and unlike other draft breeds, do not have feathering on their legs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Originating from The Netherlands (Holland), the Dutch Draft is the heaviest of the Dutch breeds. Bred for prolonged, hard work on the farm, this breed is solidly built and good at working in heavy marine clay or sandy soils. While fairly uncommon in present times, this draft breed was popular before being replaced by machinery.
What horse is bigger than a Clydesdale?
While the Clydesdale tends to be one of the biggest breeds, the tallest AND heaviest documented horse (of all time) was actually a Shire named Sampson, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Is Big Jake still alive?
Big Jake is a Belgian gelding that broke the record for the tallest living horse in 2010. As of 2018, he was still alive.
What is the biggest horse in history?
The biggest horse in recorded history was a Shire named Sampson. He was 21.25 hands tall and weighed more than 3,300 lbs. He’s also the heaviest horse ever recorded.
What is the smallest horse breed?
Miniature horses are the smallest horse breed in the world. They stand between 34 and 38 inches tall at the withers. The smallest horse is a miniature horse named Thumbelina; she is only 17 inches tall because of a genetic condition called dwarfism.