How Tall Is A Shire Horse In Feet? (Solved)

Modification or Variation of Stallion Standard of Points for Geldings

COLOUR As for Mares.
HEIGHT 16.2 (168 cms) hands and upwards.
GIRTH From 6 ft (183 cms) to 7 ft 6 ins (229 cms).
BONE MEASUREMENT 10 (23 cms) to 11 inches (26 cms) under knee, slightly more underhock and broadside on, of flat hard quality.

  • Measuring the height of a Shire Horse is also easy. A Shire horse is longer than 17 hands, and one hand is roughly 4 inches. So a shire horse would be like 6 feet and some inches in length.

How tall is a full grown Shire horse?

Shire stallions average slightly more than 17 hands (68 inches, or 173 centimetres) in height and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds (about 900 kilograms).

What’s the tallest shire horse?

The tallest and heaviest documented horse was the shire gelding Sampson (later renamed Mammoth), bred by Thomas Cleaver of Toddington Mills, Bedfordshire, UK. This horse, foaled 1846, measured 21.2½ hands, 2.19 m (7 ft 2.5 in) in 1850 and was later said to have weighed 1,524 kg (3,359 lb).

Which is bigger Clydesdale or Shire?

Both the Shire and the Clydesdale are incredibly similar in both physical and mental ways. Shires are typically larger by a slight margin than the Clydesdale, but they do share the same structure. Clydesdales are slightly more compact and less broad than their Shire cousins.

Can Shires jump?

Shire horses are known as gentle giants, but their skill as sport horses isn’t as widely known. They can be talented at dressage and driving, but did you know they can jump? “He’s a very willing and bold horse early in his training [and] is a much loved member of our herd,” she said.

Can Shire horses be grey?

The Shire is a strong character with a placid nature. It is the largest British draught horse, standing over 17.2hh in height, and a mature stallion can weigh almost one tonne. They can be black, brown, bay or grey in colour, and roan is acceptable in mares.

Why is a Shire horse called a Shire horse?

By the late 18th century, a stallion called the Packington Blind Horse was standing at stud in Leicestershire. A studbook was established by the English Cart Horse Society (which changed its name to the Shire Horse Society) in 1878, but with records going back to 1701.

How tall was Big Jake?

Until his death at the age of 20 years in June 2021, Big Jake of Poynette, Wisconsin was the world’s tallest horse as proclaimed by the Guinness Book of World Records. In hands, he measured 20 and 2-3/4″ tall, equivalent to 6 feet 10 inches. Big Jake, a red Belgian, weighed over 2500 pounds.

How much do Shire horses cost?

Shire horses vary in cost from around $2,000 to $20,000, depending on age and their level of training. When selecting a horse, it’s important to get the full picture of its health, temperament, and history. A quality rescue or breeder will be open with you about its animals to help you find the right fit.

What breed of horse is Big Jake?

It was kind of like that for the past 20 years, but in reverse, for residents of a little town in Wisconsin and their beloved gigantic horse, Big Jake, a Belgian that was officially certified as the tallest horse in the world back in 2010.

How many Shire horses are left?

Today, there are fewer than 3,000. Some breeders fear they could be extinct within 10 years

Are Shires good riding horses?

Karla Stoner: Since Shires have been primarily driven to both farm equipment and vehicles, they are excellent driving horses for show or pleasure. They have also become popular as riding horses due to their calm disposition and athletic movement, and are best suited, but not restricted to, the taller or larger rider.

What is the difference between a cart horse and a shire horse?

The Shire Horse Society of England, the original registry for the Shire, was officially established in 1878 as the English Cart Horse Society, but changed it’s name to Shire Horse Society in 1883, as the term “cart horse” was used then much as “ draft horse ” is used today. Shires may be black, brown, bay or gray.

How Tall Is A Shire Horse? A Look at The Shire Horse Breed.

Any links on this page that direct you to things on Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a compensation. Thank you in advance for your assistance — I much appreciate it! When I initially stood next to a Shire horse, I was taken aback. I wasn’t sure if this particular particle horse was particularly tall or if all Shires are as enormous. I was wrong. As a result, I decided to conduct further study on the breed in order to discover more about its size and qualities.

It was the Shire that held the global record for being both the tallest and the biggest breed on earth.

Shires offer a variety of positive characteristics and might be the horse for you.

Shire Horses are big.

The Shire horse is 17.2 hands tall and weighs roughly 2,000 pounds on average, according to the British Horse Society. Compared to its body, the Shire’s head is long and thin, with a long neck in relation to its body. The depth and width of their shoulders allow them to wear a collar comfortably. A Shire stallion’s girth can measure up to 8 feet in circumference. His back is short, sturdy, and muscular, and he will not be dipped in any direction.

A Shires girth can measure eight feet.

With a broad chest and muscular hindquarters, the Shire should be a striking sight. His feet are large, solid, and wide, with thick open walls that provide a lot of traction. Shire hair should be fine, straight, and silky in appearance. Hindquarters a long, sweeping sweep, broad and full of muscle, well let down toward the thighs When traveling, he should maintain an upright posture with his head and tail.

Shires are taller than Clydesdales horses.

Shire horses are often taller than Clydesdales. When it comes to height, the typical Shire stands 17.2 hands tall, whereas the average Clydesdale reaches 17 hands. Although there are Clydesdales that are taller than Shires, Shires are normally taller. Clydesdales are the famous horses who drive the Budweiser wagons across the country. They are enormous horses, although they are not as tall as the Shire horse, which is a rare exception.

Clydesdale horses typically weigh more than Shires.

Their breeds are enormous, with Clydesdale horses being built stockier than Shire horses and weighing on average more than twice as much; both average weights are above 2,000 pounds. A healthy Shire, on the other hand, seems tall and sophisticated, but a fit Clydesdale appears bulky and has shorter legs. In addition, although both breeds have feathering, the Clydesdale horse’s feathering is far more pronounced than the other. Horses have lengthy hair around their ankles, which is known as feathering.

A pair of Shire horses pulled 50 tons.

The weight is 50 tons. A pair of British Shires allegedly hauled a beginning load weighing 50 tons, while a single Shire once hauled a weight weighing 29 tons, according to legend. It was during the age of the Industrial Revolution that a statewide canal system was created in the United Kingdom. It was possible to move huge loads across long distances via the canal system. The Shire horse was well adapted to the task of towing barges filled with commodities up and down canals to their respective destinations.

Prior to the invention of the combustion engine, the Shire was also used to carry passengers in buses and trams. Traditionally, draft horses have been bred to pull, and no horse breed was more suited to the job than the Shire.

Shires coat colors.

When registering with the Shire Horse Society, only coat colors in the shades of brown, bay, or gray will be accepted. The horses are normally quite dark, with the majority of them being either black or dark brown. The Shire Horse Society strictly prohibits the entry of horses with roan or chestnut coat colors, as well as horses with an excessive amount of white markings. To learn more about the many equine coat colors that can be found in different horse breeds, check out our page here.

The Shire Horse and Clydesdale have different coloring.

The Shire horse breed and the Clydesdale horse breed have a few characteristics in common, the most notable of which being that they are both large draft horses that originated in Great Britain. But what exactly are the distinctions? In comparison to each other, the two breeds have different coloring: They are mainly dark-colored horses, with a minor bit of white coloration on occasion. Shires may be a variety of colors, including gray. The Shire’s basic colors are black, bay, brown, and grey, with a few variations.

A white marking on their face, feet, and legs, as well as spotting on their body, is found on the majority of Clydesdales.

Shires temperament.

Generally speaking, Shires have a pleasant disposition. As a result of their huge proportions and generally laid-back demeanor, Shires are frequently referred to as the “gentle giants” of the horse world. They aren’t shy and are at ease among other animals, children, automobiles, and loud noises, among other things. They do, however, show symptoms of being obstinate at times. In the horse business, the term temperament is used to define the overall attitude and personality qualities that a group or breed of horses exhibits.

  • Shires are cold-blooded draft horses with the characteristics of power, patience, and a calm disposition in common with other draft horses.
  • These words refer to the traits that a horse may exhibit at any given time.
  • Shires are known for their even temperaments.
  • Shires require mutual respect in order to go forward; otherwise, they will refuse to progress.
  • They do not, however, become violent; instead, they become statuesque.

The carrot, not the rod, is the most effective method of dealing with intransigence. The disposition of a Shire horse is much sought after by horse enthusiasts. They have a strong willingness to work and are often quiet horses. They would be a wonderful addition to any farm’s stock.

Shire horses are descendants of the “Great Horse.”

It is very likely that the “Great Horse” was destriers. They were renowned for their power, size, bravery, and endurance during the medieval period, when they transported armored knights into combat on their backs. These incredible animals served as the foundation for several current breeds, including the Shire, which is a result of breeding the “Great Horse” with Friesians and Flemish horses, among other sources. To learn more about the horses that have been used in conflict throughout history, visit this site.

The Shire was originally named Lincolnshire black.

Rural counties in England are known as Shires, and they are traditionally agricultural areas. It was initially known as Lincolnshire Blacks, but the term was eventually abbreviated to Shire horses because of the location of the horses. The Shire has its origins in England. In order to offer more durable mounts for armored knights in combat, native British horses were bred to become bigger horses. Originally from Scotland, the Clydesdale was developed via cross-breeding of Flemish horses with Scottish horses, resulting in a new and larger breed.

Shire Horses are endangered.

Shire horses are included on the lists of the three major animal conservation organizations for at-risk breeds at differing degrees, depending on the organization. The three organizations involved are the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, the Livestock Conservancy, and the Equus Survival Trust, among others. The Shire breed had a peak population of more over a million individuals. Shires were employed to tend fields and carry large loads, but as equipment became more prevalent, their usefulness and population began to decline considerably, as did their numbers.

It was estimated that the population had decreased to a few thousand people by the mid-1960s.

Shires participate in a variety of equine activities.

Shires’ usefulness as a workhorse has come to an end. Today, they are utilized for a variety of activities like as pulling and driving contests, western pleasure, show rings, and recreational riding, among other things. The Shire’s mild disposition and eagerness to learn make him an excellent candidate for training in a range of horse activities. The Shire is a large, powerful horse that will never be able to compete in the jumping ring on the same level as a warmblood, but they are horses that you will love riding and spending time with.

Shires shine as a therapeutic riding horse.

Although shires are bred to pull, which is what they are best at, they are also capable of being used as riding horses. They have a pleasant personality, are athletic movers, and are eager to learn, making them suitable for practically any rider’s requirements. These gentle giants are ideal for therapeutic riding as well as for public riding stables and arenas.

Shires that have been crossed with warmbloods make excellent dressage and jumping horses. Because of the Shire’s calm attitude, they are utilized by police enforcement for a number of functions, but they are particularly effective in crowd control and search and rescue operations.

A Suffolk Punch is not a Shire horse

The Suffolk Punch is a distinct breed in and of itself. It is a big draft horse from Great Britain, similar in size to the Clydesdale and the Shire. Despite the fact that a Suffolk Punch is not as tall as either the Shire of Clydesdale or the Shire of York, it is a stouter horse, and most of them weigh far more than the Shire.

See also:  What Tv Channel Is Horse Racing On?

Shire horses have a long lifespan for a draft breed.

The average longevity of a Shire horse is 28 years, which is comparable to the lifespan of lesser horse breeds. Despite the fact that this breed is one of the largest horse breeds, the Shire horse has a lifespan that is comparable to that of smaller horse types.

Shire horses eat hay, grass, and grains.

The Shire need carbs, lipids, and proteins in order to survive. These nutrients are obtained by the consumption of hay, grass, grains, or concentrated diets. The nutrients that the Shire need to maintain its health are the same as those required by other horses, but because to their bigger size, they require significantly greater quantities. Depending on whether the Shire horse is being worked or is in training, he can consume up to 44 pounds of hay day. When feeding grain to your horse, you will need to keep an eye on him.

  1. It is also critical to provide the horse with access to fresh, clean water on a consistent basis.
  2. The body of a horse is composed of around 80% water by volume.
  3. Fresh grass includes a significant amount of water, but horses require far more than what they can obtain through grazing.
  4. It is also critical not to overfeed a horse’s grain intake.
  5. These problems develop as a result of an excessive amount of grain spilling into the hindgut, resulting in huge volumes of gas and acid being produced.

Shire’s shouldn’t eat more too much grain.

Gas and acid production result in pain, colic, and, in some cases, laminitis in the horse. It is recommended that the Shire be fed no more than 1 percent of his body weight in grain, as is the case with most other horses. When feeding a young horse throughout their growth stage, it is important to be kind with the horse. Too much grain can cause the horse’s bones to expand too quickly and become porous as a result of the excessive growth. Porous bones are fragile and can break easily, resulting in a variety of long-term orthopedic disorders.

You should keep track of how much food your horse is eating and maintain a journal of it.

Take note of how quickly he finishes his meal and how much hay he consumes in a day. Contact a veterinarian as soon as you discover he is not finishing his usual quantity of grain or hay. To learn more about horse nutrition, please visit this page.

Related articles:

  • Whether or not Percherons, the French Draft Horses, can be ridden
  • Five massive draft horses are among the world’s largest breeds. Discovering the various horse breeds that have been used in warfare
  • Is it possible to ride Shire horses if they are too large? The 12 Horse Coat Colors: Patterns, Genetics, and Photographic Illustrations

Shire horse – Wikipedia

This article is about the breed of horse that is discussed here. See Shirehorses for further information on the British rock band.


Shire pulling a carriage
Conservation status At risk (RBST, 2016)
Country of origin United Kingdom
  • Minimum heights for stallions are 173 cm (17.0 hands), geldings are 168 cm (16.2 hands), and mares are 163 cm (16.0 hands).
Colour bay,black, brown orgrey
Distinguishing features
  • Shire Horse Society
  • American Shire Horse Association
  • Shire Horse Society of Australia
  • Shire Horse Society of the United Kingdom

The Shireis a breed of draught horse native to the United Kingdom. It is often black, bay, or grey in color. Shires are a tall breed, and they have held world records for both the largest horse and the tallest horse at various times during their history. Because of its high weight-pulling capabilities, it was employed for farm labor, to draw barges at a time when the canal system served as the primary mode of commodities transportation, and as a cart horse for road transport. Traditional uses included hauling brewery drays for beer delivery, and some of these drays are still in use today.

The Shire breed was founded in the mid-eighteenth century, while its origins may be traced back to far earlier periods of time.

Draught horses were in short supply due to the continuous mechanisation of agriculture and transportation, and by the 1960s, their numbers had dropped from a million or more to only a few thousand, according to some estimates.


A pair of Shire horses is ploughing the field. Despite the fact that oxen were still utilized for the majority of farm work into the seventeenth century, horses “suitable for the dray, the plough, or the chariot” were available for purchase in London’s Smithfield Market as early as 1145. Although the English Great Horse was highly prized during the reign of Henry VIII, when stallions measuring less than ‘fifteen handfuls’ were not allowed to be maintained, the rising importance of gunpowder eventually brought about the end of the employment of large horses in war.

When Dutch engineers came to England to drain the Fens in the sixteenth century, they took Friesian horses with them, and it is possible that these horses had an impact on the development of the Shire breed in later centuries.

It was the disciples of Robert Bakewell, of Dishley Grange in Leicestershire, who made significant improvements to the Black Horse, which resulted in a horse that is frequently referred to as the “Bakewell Black.” Bakewell acquired six DutchorFlandersmares, which was remarkable because breeders preferred to focus their efforts on developing the male lineage of the breed.

  • When compared to the Fen type, the Midlands type tended to be bigger with more bone and hair, while the Fen type tended to be more endurance-oriented while being finer in appearance.
  • The “Packington Blind Horse” of Leicestershire is one of the most well-known horses of the era, with direct offspring being recorded from 1770 to 1832 from the original horse.
  • The difficult roads necessitated the use of huge horses with vast musculature to haul heavy loads.
  • The Shire Horse Society was founded in 1878 as a successor to the English Cart Horse Society, which had been renamed in 1884.
  • In the years between 1901 and 1914, the society recorded more over 5,000 Shires per year.: 287 The first Shire horses were imported into the United States in 1853, and huge numbers of horses were imported into the country in the 1880s.
  • It is still active today.
  • Between 1909 and 1911, over 6,700 Shires were registered with the United States Association of Shires.

Thousands of Shires were slaughtered, and several significant breeding studs were closed as a result of the killing.

The breed began to see a resurgence in the 1970s as a result of growing public interest.

In 1997, five Australian mares were used in the first instance of artificial insemination using frozen sperm in the breed.

The Shire has seen significant transformation between the 1920s and the 1930s and now.

Shires had a population of over a million people during the height of their power.

When compared to other European countries, the Shire population in the United States declined dramatically in the first half of the twentieth century and continued to diminish throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

However, the number of horses registered in the United States started to rise, and by 1985, 121 horses had been registered.

The National Shire Horse Spring Show is held once a year and is the largest Shire show in the United Kingdom, with over 2,000 entries.

For example, the Livestock Conservancy considers it “important,” while the Equus Survival Trust considers it “vulnerable” in the United States.


Shirestallions are available in a variety of colors, including black, bay, brown, and grey. They may or may not have a big quantity of white patterns on their bodies. Mares and geldings can be any color, including black, bay, brown, grey, and roan. Stallions may not be chestnut in the United Kingdom, however the color is permitted by the American Horse Association. At the withers, the average height of fully matured stallions is around 178 cm (17.2 hands), with a minimum height of 173 cm (17.0 hands); geldings should stand at least 168 cm (16.2 hands), and mares should stand no less than 163 cm (16.2 hands) (16.0 h).

  1. In comparison to its body, the Shire’s head is long and thin, with huge eyes set on a neck that is somewhat arched and long in proportion to the rest of the body.
  2. Legs are seldom feathered to an excessive degree, and the hair is light, straight, and smooth in texture.
  3. It has been determined that Shires are at risk for chronic progressive lymphedema, a chronic progressive illness characterized by symptoms such as progressive swelling, hyperkeratosis, and fibrosis of the distal extremities (distal limbs).
  4. The Shire has an incredible ability to pull a lot of heavy loads.
  5. At a subsequent show, the same pair of horses hauled 18.5 tonnes while working on slick terrain.: 287 Mammoth (also known as Sampson) was a Shire that was born in 1848 and was arguably the world’s biggest horse ever documented in history.


At one time, the Shire horse was the most common breed, and it was employed to pull carts that delivered beer from the brewery to the local establishments. In the United Kingdom, a small number of brewers still adhere to this custom. There are several breweries in the area, including theWadworth Brewery in Devizes, Wiltshire, theHook Norton Brewery in Hook Norton, theSamuel Smith Brewery in Tadcaster, Robinsons Brewery, and Thwaites Brewery, which made Shire-drawn deliveries from the early 1800s to the 1920s, then resumed service in 1960, with deliveries continuing to be made by horse-drawn wagons to this day.

Several breweries, notably theTetleybrewery inLeeds, have lately announced that they would no longer field Shire horse teams. The breed is now being employed for forestry labor as well as for recreational riding.


  1. Abcde”Standard of Points for Shires” is an abbreviation for the Standard of Points for Shires. The Shire Horse Society is a non-profit organization. abcdElwyn Hartley Edwards, retrieved on August 2, 2011
  2. Abcd (1994). The Horse’s Encyclopaedia is a resource for horse enthusiasts. ISBN 0751301159
  3. Ab”About the Shire Horse” by Dorling Kindersley, published in London, New York, Stuttgart, and Moscow. The Shire Horse Society is a non-profit organization. The authors Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J. G. Hall, and D. Phillip Sponenberg provided access to their work in February 2019. (2016). Mason’s World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding (Mason’s World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding) (sixth edition). Welcome to the Canadian Shire Horse Association, published by CABI (ISBN 9781780647944) in Wallingford, Ontario. The Canadian Shire Horse Association is a non-profit organization. AbcdHart, E. (March 2019)
  4. Accessed March 2019. (1986). The Book of the Heavy Horse is a book about a heavy horse. Page numbers 45–63 in Wellingborough: Patrick Stephens Limited. ISBN0-85059-640-8
  5. AbHendricks, Bonnie, et al (2007). The International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds is a comprehensive resource for information about horse breeds from across the world. University of Oklahoma Press, p. 381, ISBN 978-0-8061-3884-8
  6. Swinney, Nicola Jane, p. 381, ISBN 978-0-8061-3884-8 (2006). Horse Breeds from Around the World p. 178.ISBN1-59228-990-8
  7. “Shire.”Breeds of Livestock. ISBN1-59228-990-8
  8. “Shire.”Breeds of Livestock. Oklahoma State University is located in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Ward, John (abcdefWard, John) was able to be located on 4 October 2009. (1998). “The Shire Horse” is a horse from the Shire. The Manual for the Working Horse. Farming Press, Tonbridge, UK, pp. 11–13, ISBN 0-85236-401-6
  9. Abc”Shire Draft Horse,” Farming Press, Tonbridge, UK, pp. 11–13, ISBN 0-85236-401-6
  10. Abc”Shire Draft Horse,” Farming Press, Tonbridge, UK, pp. 11–13, ISBN 0-85236-401-6 Horse Breeds from Around the World The International Museum of the Horse is located in London, England. The original version of this article was published on October 29, 2007. “About the Shire Horse Society,” which was retrieved on October 8, 2009. The Shire Horse Society is a non-profit organization. The original version of this article was published on August 10, 2011. “Watchlist,” which was retrieved on August 2, 2011. Breeds Survival Trust for Extinct and Endangered Animals. The original version of this article was published on March 24, 2009. “Breed Information – ALBC Conservation Priority List,” which was retrieved on October 7, 2009. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of livestock breeds. “Equus Survival Trust Equine Conservation List,” which was retrieved on October 7, 2009. (PDF). Equus Survival Trust is a charitable organization dedicated to the preservation of the Equus species. “ASHA Standard of Conformity Guideline,” which was retrieved on October 7, 2009. The American Shire Horse Association is a non-profit organization. The original version of this article was published on January 13, 2013. “Chronic Progressive Lymphedema (CPL) in Draft Horses” was published in 2009 and was retrieved on 4 October 2009. Davis is the home of the University of California. The original version of this article was archived on February 3, 2013. Whitaker, Julie
  11. Whitelaw, Ian (2010, May 22)
  12. Whitaker, Julie
  13. (2007). The Horse: A Miscellany of Equine Knowledge is a collection of articles on the subject of horses. New York: St. Martin’s Press, p. 60, ISBN 978-0-312-37108-1
  14. “Shire Horses,” WadworthCo, Ltd., p. 60, ISBN 978-0-312-37108-1
  15. “Shire Horses,” WadworthCo, Ltd., p. 60, ISBN 978-0-312-37 “The Shire Horses at Work at the Brewery,” which was retrieved on October 8, 2009. Hook Norton Brewery is located in Hook Norton, England. The original version of this article was published on November 26, 2011. “Samuel Smith Brewery,” which was retrieved on October 8, 2009. “Samuel Smith,” which was retrieved on January 14, 2011. Vintner’s merchant. “Robinsons Brewery Stockport – Visitors Centre and Shire horses”.
  16. “Robinsons Brewery Stockport – Visitors Centre and Shire horses.”
  17. “Robinsons Brewery Stockport – Visitors Center and Shire horses.”
  18. “Robinsons Brewery Stockport – Visitors Center and Shire horses” (29 October 2008). “After 15 years of delivery, the shire horse at Thwaites brewery has decided to retire.” HorseHound. The original version of this article was published on March 18, 2012. “Time called on the Tetley dray horses,” according to a report published on August 2, 2011. The BBC reported on May 8, 2006, that retrieved on the 8th of October, 2009

Meet the Magnificent Shire Horse

The gorgeous and endangered shire horse is most renowned for its height and power, and it holds the world record for being the tallest horse on the planet. This kind of horse, which looks similar to a Clydesdale, is very huge, with big hooves and feathering on its legs to match. Although they are enormous in stature, shire horses are normally placid, gentle, and eager to please their riders. They may be beneficial for horse enthusiasts of any skill level, provided that the individual is comfortable with such a massive animal.

Breed Overview

Weight ranges between 1,800 and 2,400 pounds. Height ranges from 16 hands (64 inches) to 18 hands (68 inches) (72 inches) Very tall with a muscular frame, huge hooves, feathering on the legs, a long, arched neck and a snout with a hint of Roman influence. Best for: Riders and business owners of all skill levels. Life expectancy ranges between 25 to 30 years.

Shire Horse History and Origins

Shire horses were called after the shires (countryside) in the United Kingdom, where the breed was established. Many people think that the Great Horse of the United Kingdom, which was employed in war, is the ancestor of the modern shire horse. It’s possible that Flemish horses with leg feathering had an impact on the breed as well. The Shire Horse Society, formerly known as the English Cart Horse Society, was established in 1878 to serve as a breed registration for the Shire Horse. Shire horses were introduced to the United States in 1853, although they were never particularly popular.

The shire horse was employed for its great pulling strength in the days before machines took over as the workhorse of farm and industry.

Shire Horse Size

When measured in hands (64 inches), the shire horse is the tallest horse breed, standing at an average height of roughly 16 hands (64 inches) (72 inches). Some shires can grow to be 19 hands (76 inches) or even taller, with the stallions being noticeably taller than the mares in most cases. The weight of the breed is normally between 1,800 and 2,400 pounds.

Shire Horse Breeding and Uses

Yorkshire horses were bred specifically for pulling carts of ale from breweries to public places. Because of their size, strength, and calm disposition, they were in high demand. A century ago, these gentle giants were extensively used as farm horses for a variety of tasks like as hauling carts or laboring in fields. Back when coal was a primary source of heat and light, shires were used to haul massive coal carts through rugged terrain. Today, the shire horse is still widely used for pulling vehicles, such as touring carts, and many equestrians love riding the gentle species for recreational purposes as well.

They are also a popular advertising technique for modern-day beer makers, some of which are resuming their use of horse and wagon to carry their product.

Colors and Markings

Shire horses are commonly black, bay, gray, or brown. The U.K. breed standard does not allow chestnut colors. And while the horses often have whitefacialandlegmarkings, excessive white markings are not desired for the breed.

Unique Characteristics of the Shire Horse

The shire horse’s most distinguishing attributes are its imposing height and tremendous strength, both of which have been described in both historical records and anecdotal evidence. For example, in the 1920s, a pair of shires was said to have hauled a cargo weighing more than 45 tons, albeit the precise weight could not be established since the load surpassed the scale’s weight capacity limit. In addition, the breed is well-known for its laid-back demeanor. Shires are not easily frightened. This characteristic most likely developed as a result of the breed’s initial application, which was to confidently transport men in heavy armor into noisy, dangerous fighting scenarios.

Diet and Nutrition

Shire horses are fed a conventional horse diet that consists of high-quality hay, grain, vegetables, and fruits, among other things. They just require far more food (as well as water) than an average-sized horse in order to maintain a healthy body weight. A high-fat diet, according to some veterinarians, can help prevent polysaccharide storage myopathy, which is a disorder that causes spasms in the hind legs.

Common Health and Behavior Problems

Shire horses are normally in good condition and have very calm and amiable dispositions. However, the breed is prone to chronic progressive lymphedema, which can be fatal. This is a disorder in which the legs gradually get swollen over time, however treatment can assist to halt the course of the disease. Aside from that, although polysaccharide storage myopathy is not widespread in shire horses, some of them may still be affected by it and experience limb stiffness, cramps, and spasms.


In order to minimize skin irritation and illness, it is necessary to brush and clean the feathering around the lower legs of a shire horse on a regular basis. Additionally, following a wash, it is critical to completely dry the feathering since a damp environment might encourage the growth of germs and fungus. Aside from that, these horses require just regular equine grooming procedures. However, to reach all of the high areas on your horse’s body, you may need to use a strong stool or a ladder.

  • It needs more grooming care
  • Upkeep can be costly.

Champion and Celebrity Shire Horses

The stately Goliath, who died in 2001, was one of the most famous shire horses in history. At more than 19.5 hands tall, he was the tallest horse in the United Kingdom at the time of his measurement. In addition, he was included in “The Guinness Book of World Records” in 2000 as the world’s tallest live horse, making him the world’s tallest living horse. He was a gorgeous black horse that was well-known for his kind nature.

He was a part of a show horse team owned by the Young & Co. brewery in London. Mammoth, a shire horse born in 1848, may have been the world’s biggest horse of all time, according to legend. He was 21.2 feet tall and weighed around 3,300 pounds, according to estimates.

Is the Shire Horse Right for You?

The vast majority of shire horses are controllable, even for inexperienced owners and riders, despite their enormous size. Some riders may require assistance in boarding the vehicle, but they may be generally certain of a smooth trip. Shires are not known to rear or buck, and they are not readily startled. They have a strong desire to please and are simple to teach. A shire, on the other hand, is an extremely costly breed to maintain. Because of its massive size, it consumes far more feed than the majority of other horse breeds.

However, if you have the time and resources to properly care for this horse, it may be an excellent companion.

How to Adopt or Buy

Because of the breed’s scarcity, shire horses might be difficult to come by in good condition. When it comes to finding reliable horse rescues or breeders, doing your research online is typically the best option. However, it is strongly advised that you spend time with a horse before making the decision to bring it home. Shire horses may range in price from around $2,000 to $20,000, depending on their age and level of preparation. When choosing a horse, it’s critical to have a complete understanding of the animal’s health, temperament, and history before making your decision.

More Horse Breeds

If you’re looking for comparable breeds, take a look at these: You may also browse through all of our other horsebreed profiles if you want something else.


Shires are a drafthorse breed that originated in the center of England. The breed is descended from the English “big horse,” which was capable of transporting soldiers in full combat armor weighing as much as 400 pounds on occasion. Breeding mares from Holland to English stallions in the later part of the 18th century resulted in a significant improvement in shires’ performance as draft and farm animals. The first Shire horse was brought to the United States in 1853, but the breed never gained popularity in the country and was mostly developed to improve the performance of smaller agricultural horses.

They are generally bay, brown, black, gray, or chestnut in color and have a large and rather coarse physique.

It was in 1878 that the Shire Horse Society was created in England, and it was in 1885 that the American Shire Horse Association was organized.

name origin height (hands)* aptitude characteristics comments
*1 hand = 4 inches (10.16 cm).
Belgian, also called Brabant Belgium 15.3–17 heavy draft, farm work broad and powerful; small, square head; short, heavy neck with sloping shoulders; short back with well-rounded, massive hindquarters; the American Belgian being typically chestnut and sorrel with a flaxen mane and tail ancient breed; matures quickly; long-lived
Clydesdale Scotland 16.1–18 heavy draft, farm work lighter build than most heavy breeds; fine head with long, well-arched neck; withers higher than croup; lower legs are heavily feathered noted for the soundness of its legs and feet; noted for high-stepping gait
Percheron France 16 draft, farm work typically gray or black in colour; fine head with broad forehead; wide chest with prominent breastbone; no feathering on legs ancient breed; heavily influenced by Arabian breed; long and low action distinguishing it from other heavy breeds
Shire England 17 (sometimes reaching 19) heavy draft, farm work convex profile; relatively long neck; long, sloping shoulders; short back with sloping croup; legs heavily feathered below the knee world’s largest horse; descended from England’s “great horse,” the massive charger used in medieval jousting tournaments

Now that’s getting on your high horse: He’s 10ft tall, weighs a ton and is so big no saddle fits him. ROBERT HARDMAN takes a giddy ride on Britain’s largest horse

Published on: |Revised on: When it comes to riding Sovereign, the most difficult part isn’t really riding the horse. It’s just a matter of holding on as long as you can. For Sovereign is more than just Europe’s highest horse; he is also the world’s tallest horse. He also does not have a saddle. ‘We did have one at one point,’ recalls Paul Evans, the proprietor of Sovereign. He merely grown too large around the waist and it didn’t fit him any more, says the author. Oh, that’s terrible. I’m going to embark on a bareback ride on something the size of a little elephant of modest stature.

  • Robert Hardman is a nervous rider.
  • But how can I get to the top of the mountain in the first place?
  • Paul constructs a stepladder with a large number of rungs, but even that is ineffective.
  • Consequently, we construct a temporary set of steps from an empty shipping container and an oil drum, while Paul carefully heaves the monster alongside.
  • Because Sovereign is so large, it is very unpleasant to sit atop it, similar to attempting to sit on the back of a truck.
  • A leading rein in one hand, his mane in the other, I give him the gentlest of nudges with my heels while holding a leading rein in the other.
  • It’s possible that he hasn’t felt anything at all.

Oh my goodness.

I’m not going to risk it.

He’s a four-year-old Shire horse who is still developing and is stuffed full of beans.

He gets the message and begins to walk about the yard for a few minutes before coming to a complete stop next to the oil drum, as if to say thank you.

The only method to get on board is as follows: Hardman had to struggle up this homemade series of steps made out of a box and an oil drum since he couldn’t find a saddle that would fit Sovereign and so couldn’t use stirrups.

In a picturesque part of Staffordshire just outside the potteries town of Stoke-on-Trent, a peaceful and calm existence may be found.

When Paul first came across Sovereign, he was a neglected wreck with rotting teeth and a hoof infection.

He is now in excellent health, thanks to a kind owner, a loyal friend, and an abundance of fresh grass to eat.

The possibility of global prominence beckons — Not that Sovereign or his owner appear to be in the least bit concerned.

With a high degree of probability, he will be the largest horse on the earth.

Later, a buddy who is well-versed in horsemanship commented to me, “Wow, that’s a huge horse there,” and I agreed with him.

Ponies are defined as anything less than 14.2 (14 hands and 2 inches).

The average length of a thoroughbred racing horse is 16 hands.

To everyone’s surprise, Sovereign measured 20 hands and 2 inches in length.

As a result, a horse named Sovereign has grabbed the Sovereign’s record from under his feet.

He needed to be rescued.

What’s more, he is only three quarters of an inch shy of the current Guinness World Record, which is held by Big Jake, a 10-year-old Belgian draught horse who lives on a farm in the state of Wisconsin in the United States of America.

In medieval times, the Belgian was the ride of choice for a heavily-armed knight in shining armour, as was the Shire, Clydesdale, and Suffolk Punch.

However, the former was measured without shoes, but Sovereign was still wearing his old horseshoes when the veterinarian presented her measuring tape.

However, he has the benefit of experience on his side.

Moreover, considering the fact that he has grown by more than a foot since Paul purchased him, it is completely plausible to anticipate that Sovereign will grow much taller in the future.

Both were 19.2 at the time.

It was a nightmare climbing on board with him as well, but he did come with a saddle, which was a blessing.

It was a running joke among his owners about the day Cracker brought the house crashing down.

Nevertheless, when he was restrained to an outbuilding and saw what appeared to be a tasty-looking bale of hay, he just strolled away.

Paul Evans shares a tale about Sovereign that is comparable to this.

Before I knew it, it was tilting over and two wheels were lifting off the ground.’ The simple act of trying to fasten a bridle has been excruciating for Paul thus far.

His local, the Red Cow in Werrington, where he is enjoying a sandwich, describes him as “just an average countryman.” ‘I never purchased him because of his size.’ Big Jake is a well-known figure in the state of Wisconsin.

Back in Staffordshire, Paul occasionally takes Sovereign to charity events, and he has just begun providing his skills for weddings in the surrounding area as well (he was pulling a bride and groom this weekend).

Attaching all of the harnesses and straps takes a significant amount of time.

When I get in the car with Paul, we head out for a little training run.

A pair of Shire horses has been known to tow a weight of up to 45 tons, so he would have no issue carrying a wedding party full of Sumo wrestlers to their respective reception venues.

It’s not all about the weddings.

However, he must schedule any reservations around his day job as a gas engineer and his small family, which makes it difficult.

Paul enjoyed hearing his grandfather’s stories about life as a rag-and-bone man when he was a child, and he also enjoyed helping out at a friend’s stableyard, where he became acquainted with a pair of Shire horses.

In around two years, I received a phone call from a buddy who told me he knew someone who had a Shire in a shed and wanted to sell it.

‘He was around 16 or 17 hands, and he had absolutely no flesh on him.

The more he resisted, the more terrified she grew, and she ended up abandoning him as a result.

Sovereign’s father, Walton Supreme, was a four-time national champion, and he came with a strong pedigree in the Shire horse community when he purchased him.

‘He has a tendency to be wary of strangers.

The photographer is looking for a well-known location to capture in order to convey the actual extent of Sovereign’s enormity.

We took Sovereign for a walk since there is an antique phone box and postal half a mile up the line, which we find interesting.

For him to place one hoof in front of the other, it takes some time until he really trusts me.

Even yet, this is one horse to whom I would never say, ‘Giddy up,’ because it is so unpredictable. Looking down at my feet makes me feel very euphoric.

7 Biggest Horses & Horse Breeds in the World

horses have been deliberately bred into a variety of over 350 breeds over thousands of years to assist humans with a wide range of tasks for thousands of years. Perhaps the most significant reason why the largest horse breeds have been developed is to assist farmers in dragging plows, wagons, and heavy gear around the farm. However, it wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that certain draft horse breeds began to grow to enormous proportions. See which horse breeds are the world’s largest and tallest by taking a look at the list below.

Tallest Living Horse in the World

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Big Jake is the world’s tallest live horse and the world’s tallest living horse in the world. Big Jake presently resides at Smokey Hollow Farm in Wisconsin, where he stands at 20 hands (80 inches or 2.03 meters). Introducing Big Jake, the world’s tallest horse | Image courtesy of GeoBeats News In spite of the fact that he appears intimidating due to his massive size, Large Jake is a lovely, friendly horse with a big heart who enjoys chewing on people’s hair.

With the weight of an adult horse, he consumes double the amount of food that a normal-sized horse would consume, and his owners take great care to ensure that he does not get too overweight, which would put even more stress on his joints, which is always a concern with such large animals.

Also included is a video of Big Jake with his owner, which you can see below:

Biggest Horses in History

It was a Shire named Sampson who was the world’s largest horse (later known as Mammoth). Sampson was born in Bedfordshire, England, in 1846, and stood at 21.25 hh (2.20 m or 86.5 in) tall and weighed 3,360 lb (1,524 kg). Because of his massive weight, he is also the world’s largest horse. He was gelded when he was a year old, and he still maintains the record for being the tallest horse ever, despite the fact that others have come close to matching his amazing height since then. Sampson’s sole known photograph is seen here.

LeGear (from the same farm as King LeGear) was a Percheron gelding who reached 21 hands and weighed 2,995 lbs when he was born in 1913 on the same farm as King LeGear.

Big Jake, the world’s tallest live horse, has subsequently shattered this previous record.

Top 7 Biggest Horse Breeds

The Australian Draught Horse is essentially a cross between all of the other large horse breeds on this list, except for the Arabian. The Australian Draught Horse Stud Book, which was established in 1976 and is comprised of Clydesdales, Percherons, Shires, and Suffolk Punches, was just recently established. These massive horses, which were bred specifically for the Australian environment, combine all of the best characteristics of their progenitor breeds, plus a few more. The Australian Draught Horse swiftly rose to prominence as the most popular draft breed in their own nation, winning plowing and harness contests around the country.

This massive horse breed is available in all solid colors and stands between 16.2 and 17.2 hh, weighing between 600 and 900 kg (1,300 to 1,900 lbs), however the registry does allow horses weighing more than 900 kg (1,900 lbs).

However, regardless of their size, it is their strength and mild nature that distinguish them as excellent work and show horses for people all over the world.

6. Dutch Draft

After World War I, crossbreedings between Ardennes and Belgian Draft horses resulted in the development of the Dutch Draft, which is a relatively new huge horse breed that first appeared after the war. It was popular in Zeeland and Groningen for agricultural labor and other heavy pulling activities because of its heavyset nature, which was inherited from its parent breeds. However, because of the effects of World War II, this horse breed is now considered to be a somewhat rare breed. Dutch Drafts are typically seen at agricultural shows carrying massive logs or competing in horse-drawn plowing competitions, as they are considered to be one of the strongest horse breeds.

This implies that, while the Dutch Draft is lower in stature than certain other draft breeds, it is by no means a little horse.

5. Suffolk Punch

The Suffolk Punch horse breed is one of the oldest and tallest horse breeds in Great Britain, standing at over 16 hands. The distinctive physique of today’s Suffolk Punch horses makes them popular for forestry, farm labor, and advertising, and this is primarily owing to their versatility. There is no variation in color or height, and they weigh between 1,980 to 2,200 pounds and stand between 16.1 and 17.2 hh (65 to 70 in, 1.65 to 1.78 m) in height and weigh between 1,980 and 2,200 pounds (900 to 1,000 kg).

Even while it has strong links to pony breeds such as the Fell, the Dales, and the Haflinger, it is by no means a pony in the conventional sense.

Suffolk Punches are extremely rare in the United Kingdom, owing in part to genetic bottlenecks and losses suffered during World War II and the Second World War.

This is due to the fact that the American registration permitted crossbreeding with Belgian Drafts, which is not permitted in the United Kingdom.

4. Belgian Draft

After World War II, the Belgian Draft, which was once considered interchangeable with the Brabant, was recognized as a distinct horse breed. Belgium Draft horses are taller and lighter in the physique than their Dutch counterparts, but they are nevertheless a fairly hefty horse breed. The Belgian Draft is a powerful animal, weighing around 2,000 pounds (900 kgs) and standing between 16.1 and 17 hands (66 and 68 in, 1.68 and 1.73 m), depending on the breed. A team of two Belgian Draft horses was reportedly documented pulling more than 7,700 kg, according to historical records (17,000 pounds).

Unlike other draft horses, this particular breed is not in danger of extinction – which is a good thing.

Brooklyn Supreme was the most well-known Belgian Draft horse of all time.

Standing at 19.2 hands (198 cm) tall and weighing 3,200 pounds, he is the tallest and heaviest of the group (1,451 kg). Brooklyn Supreme may have been a little shorter than some of the other entries on our list, but it more than made up for it in sheer volume and scope.

3. Percheron

The property is owned by Criadero Sumatambo. The Percheron is a French draft breed that originated in the Huisne river valley, which was once known as Perche, and is named after the place where the breed originated. Based on the country, the size of this giant horse breed can vary significantly, ranging from 15.1 hh (61 in or 1.55 m) to 19 hh (76 in or 1.93 m), depending on the breed. Its roots are mostly unclear, however they may date back to as early as 496 AD. While most other draft breeds have a strong Arabian and oriental influence, the Percheron has a strong impact from Arabian and oriental horses that dates back as far as 800 AD and has lasted till the nineteenth century.

Percherons were commonly utilized as battle horses throughout the Middle Ages, and they are still seen today at horse exhibits, parades, and driving.

2. Clydesdale

The Clydesdale, which originates in Scotland, is one of the most well-known draft breeds in the world today, owing in large part to the Budweiser Clydesdales, who have gained worldwide fame in recent years. Despite being typically smaller than horses such as the Shire, the breed has seen significant changes in the twentieth century, including an increase in height. Horses must be 16 to 18 hands high (64 to 72 inches, or 1.63 to 1.83 meters) and weigh 1,800 to 2,000 pounds to meet the breed standard (820 to 910 kg).

  • A Budweiser Clydesdale must be 18 hh (72 in or 1.83 m) in height and weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds in order to be eligible (820 to 1,040 kg).
  • He stood at a massive 20.5 hands (2.08 m or 82 in) and weighed 2,950 pounds, making him one of the largest horses ever seen (1338 kg).
  • Aside from that, because of their stunning look and white, feathered hooves, they are in high demand as parade, carriage, and show horses.
  • As is the case with many ancient breeds, there is no definitive date for when the Clydesdale horses first appeared in special drafts.
  • One of the most direct ancestors is a Lampits mare that was bred in 1806, as well as Thomson’s black stallion named Glancer.

1. Shire

Jennyt is a contributor to Shire horses are the most populous horse breed in the world. These horses are imposingly large, standing between 17 and 19 hands tall and weighing between 1,800 and 2,400 pounds each. They were intentionally developed to be huge in order to perform industrial and farm labor, similar to other draft horse breeds. The carried barges along canal systems, pulled carts and brewer’s drays, and dealt with heavy plows and other farm chores were all things that they did in the past.

Indeed, they are often regarded as one of the most suitable horse breeds for beginning riders.

Their numbers have declined to the point that they are on the verge of extinction as a result of World War II and the ever-increasing automation of the farm.

Organizations such as the American Shire Horse Association, on the other hand, are working extremely hard to bring back the Shire horse population. In recent years, the breed’s population has steadily begun to rebuild, and it is on the verge of making a comeback.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.