How Much Does A Shire Horse Weigh?

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).

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.

How much does a Shire horse 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.

Can Shire horses be ridden?

A a descendant of the Old English Black Horse from mediaeval times, the Shire is considered a “heavy breed” of horse. Despite standing up to 19 hands or more, it has a very gentle disposition. These horses are strong and big-barreled for pulling, but can also be ridden under saddle.

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.

How much do Shires weigh?

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).

How many shire horses are left?

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

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 much weight can a shire horse carry?

The horse breed that can carry the most weight is the shire horse. Average shire horses can weigh up to 2,425 pounds, and comfortably carry 20 percent of their body weight. This means the largest of shire horses can carry up to 485 pounds with ease.

How much do Belgian horses cost?

A Belgian Horse costs from $5,000 to $10,000. It’s an average price for a young and healthy equine. The price depends on the Belgian’s color, age, gender, health condition, build, and training experience.

How strong are Shire horses?

According to author Donna Campbell Smith, The Book of Draft Horses: The Gentle Giants That Built the World, in 1924 a pair of Shire draft horses pulled 50 tons (100,000 pounds), which is 20,000 pounds more than the weight of a semi truck. Other sources we found recorded that they pulled only 45 tons. Only.

Are Shires good beginner horses?

Even though the Shire Horse is so large, it is known for being a gentle giant. They are also easy to train, despite their size, so they are suitable for all levels of horse owners, riders, and trainers, including beginners. In fact, shying, rearing, bucking, and spooking are rare behaviors for this breed.

Can Shire horses race?

Though you may not think of a Shire as a race horse, it has become a tradition to race these magnificent horses. Lingfield Park in Surrey, England has played host to these fun races since 2013.

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
  • Minimum height for a stallion is 173 cm (17.0 hands)
  • For a gelding, it is 168 cm (16.2 h)
  • For a mare, it is 163 cm (16.0 h)

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The difficult roads necessitated the use of huge horses with vast musculature to haul heavy loads.
  4. The Shire Horse Society was founded in 1878 as a successor to the English Cart Horse Society, which had been renamed in 1884.
  5. 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.
  6. It is still active today.
  7. 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.


The ploughing of a pair of Shire horses Horses “suitable for the dray, the plough, or the chariot” were available for purchase at Smithfield Market in London as early as 1145, even though oxen continued to be the primary agricultural animals into the seventeenth century. Aristocratic stallions measuring less than ‘fifteen handfuls’ could not be retained during the time of Henry VIII, but the growing importance of gunpowder brought about the end of the employment of hefty horses in war during the reign of Elizabeth I.

  1. 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 England.
  2. 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”.
  3. They divided into two groups: the Fen or Lincolnshire type, and the Leicester or Midlands type, which were both produced in the same area.
  4. “Shire horse” was first used in the mid-seventeenth century, and partial records of the breed began to appear at around the end of the eighteenth century.
  5. From 1755 until 1770, this horse was recognized as the founding sire of the Shire breed, and he stood at stud throughout that time period.
  6. Because of the rocky routes, huge horses with a lot of muscle were required.
  7. The Shire Horse Society was founded in 1878 as a successor to the English Cart Horse Society, which had been renamed the following year.

Annual registrations with the society exceeded 5,000 Shires between 1901 and 1914: 287 The first Shire horses were brought to the United States in 1853, and considerable numbers of horses were brought in during the 1880s epoch.

Over time, the Shire gained widespread popularity in the United States, with about 4,000 Shires being brought into the country between 1900 and 1918.

Growing mechanisation and severe limitations on the procurement of livestock feed, beginning around the time of the Second World War, diminished the need for and capacity to maintain draught horses.

The number of horses presented in the annual British Spring Show dropped to its lowest point in the 1950s and 1960s, with less than 100 being shown in 1955.

Shire horse breed associations have been created in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands, as well as France and Germany, and the first World Shire Horse Congress was held in Peterborough in 1996.

The Shire has altered dramatically between the 1920s and the 1930s and now.

This resulted in a change in the conformation of the Shire, most notably the feathering on the lower legs, which went from a mass of coarse hair to the smooth feathering associated with current Shires.

From a high of a few thousand in the 1950s to a low of a few hundred in the 1960s.

There were just 25 horses registered in the United States between 1950 and 1959, according to government records.

It is a bay-colored Shire with markings and color that are influenced by Clydesdales.

In accordance with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s definition of “at risk,” the Shire’s conservation status is classified as “at risk,” indicating that the population is estimated to number less than 1500 individuals.

In the United States, the Livestock Conservancy categorizes it as “critical,” while the Equus Survival Trust categorizes it as “vulnerable.”


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.

The breed is now being employed for forestry labor as well as for recreational riding.


  1. Originally, the Shire horse was a staple breed, drawn by carts to bring beer from the brewery to the local establishments. In the United Kingdom, a small number of brewers still adhere to this practice. 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 the present day. In recent weeks, some breweries, notably theTetleybrewery inLeeds, have announced that they would no longer field Shire horse teams. The breed is now now utilized for forestry labor and pleasure riding, in addition to its traditional roles.

9 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Shire Horses

One of the largest and most beautiful horse breeds in the world, the Shire horse is renowned for its amazing power and endurance. Their origins may be traced back hundreds of years to the United Kingdom, where these magnificent draft horses were developed to be the perfect labor horse. Around the 18th century, the first Shire horses arrived on the scene. The majority of their job at this time consisted of working on fields, dragging barges, and pulling carriages. These gentle giants are now employed for a variety of tasks like forestry, driving, and even riding.

Check out these nine fascinating facts about Shire horses that you definitely didn’t know before!

The Tallest and Heaviest Horse Ever was a Shire

Sampson the Shire horse was born in England in 1846 and measured 21.2 12 hands tall and weighed 3,360 pounds when he was born (1,524 kg). If you want to put his height into context, he stood over seven feet tall at the withers, which was a very astounding achievement. Because of his enormous height and weight, Sampson (also known as Mammoth) established himself as the world’s largest horse. It should be noted, however, that he was not the only Shire whose mere size made history. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a Shire named Goliath stood 19 hands at the withers at the time of his death, making him the tallest horse of his time.

A Shire stallion stands 17.2 hands tall at the withers and weighs around 850 – 1100 kg (1870 – 2430 lb), depending on the breed.

A Pair of Shire Horses Once Pulled 50 Tons of Weight

Shire horses are well-known for being one of the world’s most powerful horse breeds, and they are no exception. A pair of Shires pulled almost 50 tons, which is comparable to 100,000 pounds, during an exhibition in England in 1924, which is an incredible performance in today’s terms. Because the load surpassed the maximum reading on the scale (45 tons), it is impossible to determine the precise weight that was hauled. The same demonstration saw a single Shire horse pull 29 tons, which is the equivalent of 58,000 pounds, and this was the first time this had happened.

  • Check out this article: How Much Weight Can a Horse Pull?
  • The current Shire horse has its roots in a tradition that dates back almost a thousand years.
  • These horses had to be huge and robust since a knight in heavy armor might weigh up to 400 pounds (181 kg), making them necessary.
  • It is believed that “the Great Horse,” which was a sort of medieval battle horse, was the breed’s first direct progenitor.
  • After World War II, the huge warhorses were repurposed to work in agriculture and deliver large loads.

It was a strong draft animal that was well suited for a variety of heavy tasks. A stallion named Packington Blind Horse was born around the end of 18th century and is considered the founder sire of the Shire horse breed.

Clydesdales Were Used to Improve the Shire Breed

A breeding program involving Clydesdales and Shire horses was initiated in the mid-1900s with the goal of improving and expanding the breed. Aside from helping to expand their numbers, mating Clydesdales with Shires also modified the look of their feathering, making it more silky in texture and appearance. Although it may seem ironic, throughout the nineteenth century, Shire horses were also utilized to enhance the shape of Clydesdales. It was because of the impact of the Shire that Clydesdales grew in stature and size, eventually turning into the breed we know today.

The Shire Horse Was An Inspiration for a Disney Character

With their magnificent beauty, Shire horses offer excellent choices for the film business. Merida, the heroine of the 2012 animated filmBrave, was the owner of a black Shire horse named Angus. Throughout the course of the film, Merida and Angus form a very strong friendship. Additionally, Angus and Merida appeared in the live-action television seriesOnce Upon a Time, which was produced by Disney-ABC Television Studios. Angus was represented on the program by a Shire horse, in keeping with his character’s portrayal.

Shires Are Considered an Endangered Breed

Shire horses were used in agriculture and transportation all across the world before the mid-20th century, and millions of them may be found today. However, as has happened with other draft breeds, the automation of these industries has resulted in a significant reduction in the Shire population. When it came to the breed, the 1950s and 1960s were the most significant years. The 1955 National Shire Horse Spring Show in the United Kingdom had less than a hundred horses, which was previously unheard of at the time.

  • Fortunately, since 1970, the number of Shire horses has been increasing as a result of the efforts of numerous breed associations to save the breed.
  • Photo courtesy of Marina Kondratenko / However, despite conservation efforts, the breed is still regarded to be endangered in several parts of the world.
  • In addition, the RBST stated that 240 Shire foals were registered in the United Kingdom in the year 2017.
  • Shire horses are now considered “critical” by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, while they are considered “vulnerable” by the Equus Survival Trust, according to their current status.
  • Also see: 10 Endangered Horse Breeds to Know About

Some Breweries Still use Shire horses to Deliver Beer

Shire horses were formerly used for the delivery of ale from breweries to taverns and private residences throughout the Shire. Breweries in London alone utilized over 3,000 horses in 1893, according to records. These horses were generally referred to as “dray horses,” and they were typically descended from Shire stock. While the golden age of dray horses is passed, some brewers in the United Kingdom continue to utilize Shire horse teams for promotional purposes.

Hook Norton Brewery, the Samuel Smith Brewery, the Wadworth Brewery, the Thwaites Brewery, and the Robinsons Brewery are just a few examples of breweries. A number of other businesses, such as the Tetley brewery in Leeds, have lately decided to discontinue their Shire horse deliveries.

There are Shire Horse Races

It has become a tradition to race these wonderful horses, despite the fact that they are not often thought of as racing horses. Since 2013, these family-friendly races have taken place in Lingfield Park in Surrey, England. Being able to observe these gentle giants galloping through the course is truly something special! This well-known Lingfield Shire horse race is barely two furlongs (402 meters) long, as opposed to the longer Thoroughbred events. Hurst Green Shires, a neighboring stable that specializes in draft horses, provides trail rides and lessons to anyone interested in learning more about these magnificent creatures “The reason we launched this in 2013 was to bring attention to the flexibility of the shire breed, which is still considered an endangered breed.” Our shires definitely adore coming to Lingfield and putting on a show for the crowds!

What a spectacle and sound they make racing down the track, especially for people who haven’t seen them before!

Here’s a video of a Shire horse race at Lingfield Park that you might find interesting:

Shires and Shire Crosses do Well in Ridden Sports

The racing of Shires has established a tradition, despite the fact that they are not commonly associated with the sport. Since 2013, these fun races have taken place at Lingfield Park in Surrey, England. Being able to observe these gentle giants galloping through the course is quite unique! For example, in contrast to Thoroughbred races, the popular Lingfield Shire horse race is just two furlongs (402 meters) in distance. All of the draft horses are sourced from a neighboring stable known as Hurst Green Shires, which offers trail rides and training on these magnificent animals.

For those who haven’t seen them yet, the sight and sound of them galloping down the track is quite something!” Hurst Green Shires owner Jax Gardiner expressed his views.

Shire Horse Breed Information, History, Videos, Pictures

The Shire is one of the world’s largest horses, and they are renowned for their ability to haul massive loads of weight. It is presently employed as a pleasure horse, in addition to being used for a variety of other draft-related activities. It is sometimes referred to as the peaceful giant due to its enormous size and serene demeanor. It is in the interest of the horse’s current population to keep it alive.

Shire Horse Pictures

Behavioral Traits Mild-mannered, noble, willing, adaptable, gentle
PhysicalCharacteristics The structure is massive, with a big head, large eyes; the long neck is slightly arched ending in a wide chest and broad shoulders; the legs are muscular with the perfect hocks set for maximum leverage; the back of the legs are covered with dense feathering while the hooves are round and large
Coat Colors Black, Bay, Gray, Chestnut (traditional colors)
Height/Size Large;Stallions:17 hands (68 inches or 173 cm);Mares:16 hands (64 inches or 163 cm);Geldings:16.2 hands (66 inches or 168 cm)(Up to 21.2 hands)
Weight Heavy; 1800 pounds
Life Expectancy 25-30 years
Common Uses General riding, dressage, eventing, pulling hefty goods
Health Problems Healthy in general; no specific diseases
Type Cart Horse, Heavy Draft Horse, Riding Horse, Sports Horse, Show Horse, Parade Horse
Ancestors (Bloodlines) The Great Horse, Packington Blind Horse, Friesan, Flanders
PopularFor Extremely powerful, multi-talented, easily trainable
Blood Type Cold
Suitable for first-time owners Yes
Feeding/Diet General horse diet including hay, grass, grains, etc.
Time of Origin End of 16 thto beginning of 17 thcentury
Country of Origin England (UK)
Associations and Registries American Shire Horse AssociationBreed Standards

Video: Demonstrating the Shire Horse

Some scholars claim that the Shire horse’s ancestry is the British ‘Great Horse,’ which was previously used as a battle horse in the British Empire. According to some theories, this horse’s ancestors may have outcrossed with other breeds, particularly the Dutch Friesian, culminating in the birth of the new Shire breed of horse. However, when other bloodlines were introduced into the stock, the impact of the Great Horse was gradually diminished, and the Friesian blood began to take over as the dominant lineage.

The first Shires appeared in Britain in the 16th century, according to several experts, when the locals needed working equines to draw their coaches and wagons over long distances across the rugged terrains of the country, which they could not find elsewhere.

The Shire Horse Society, originally known as the English Cart Horse Society, was established in 1878 and has been in existence ever since.

The population of this breed, on the other hand, is dropping at a far quicker pace, prompting the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy to label them as “critical” in its “critical” list.

Interesting Facts

  • The Shire had previously set world records for being the largest and strongest horse on the planet
  • However, this record had been broken several times. During a 1924 display in England, two Shire Horses were able to draw a weight of around 45 tons. Known as Mammoth, the Shire called Mammoth was born in 1848 and is thought to be the world’s biggest horse, measuring 21.2 hands and weighing over 3,300 pounds (1500 kg). At the moment, the Shire Horses are only found in one functioning herd in London. As of 2016, the global population of these horses is estimated to be approximately 1500 individuals.

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 usually seen in the colors black, bay, gray, and brown. Chestnut hues are not permitted under the breed standard in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, while the horses frequently have white markings on their faces and legs, excessive white markings are not desirable 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.

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, sturdy, and broad, with thick open walls that provide a lot of traction. Shire hair should be fine, straight, and velvety 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.

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.

Clydesdale Horses are often bay in color, although they can also be roan, black, grey, or chestnut in color, depending on the breed. 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 disposition of a Shire horse is much sought after by horse enthusiasts.
  • 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.

Thousands were slaughtered, and the rate of reproduction slowed. It was estimated that the population had decreased to a few thousand people by the mid-1960s. In the 1970s, initiatives were done to aid in the resurgence of the breed.

Shires participate in a variety of equine activities.

On the functions of the three major animal conservation organizations for at-risk breeds, shire horses are mentioned in varied degrees, depending on who you ask. Rare Breeds Survival Trust, the Livestock Conservancy, and the Equus Survival Trust are the three organizations involved. More than a million Shires were in existence at one time. Originally, shires were employed to cultivate fields and haul heavy burdens; but, as equipment became more prevalent, their use and population began to decline drastically.

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

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.

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.

It is also critical to provide the horse with access to fresh, clean water on a consistent basis.

The body of a horse is composed of around 80% water by volume.

Fresh grass includes a significant amount of water, but horses require far more than what they can obtain through grazing.

It is also critical not to overfeed a horse’s grain intake. Excessive grain feeding is frequently associated with digestive issues like as colic. 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.

Contact a veterinarian as soon as you discover he is not finishing his usual quantity of grain or hay.

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 vs. Clydesdale: What’s the Difference (With Pictures)

When you look at a draft horse, you are struck with an incredible feeling of strength. It’s common to see these muscular machines in the company of gentle giants who have calm personalities and an excellent work ethic. When it comes to a breed comparison, you can be perplexed as to what the distinction is between the two. Shire and Clydesdale draft horse breeds are two of the most common draft horse breeds that you may come across. They have labored valiantly alongside man for decades, bringing raw muscle to bear on a variety of duties for us.

Visual Differences

Image credit: Shire (source: Alexas Fotos, Pixabay) | Clydesdale (source: Alexas Fotos, Pixabay) (Image courtesy of Linzmeier1, Pixabay)

At a Glance

  • In adults, the average height is 16-17.7 hands
  • The average weight is 1,870-2,430 pounds
  • And the life duration is 20-28 years. 2+ hours of physical activity each day
  • Moderate grooming requirements
  • Family-friendly environment: Yes Other pet-friendly amenities: Frequently
  • The capacity to train: even-tempered, diligent, and steady

In adults, the average height is 16-17.7 hands; the average weight is 1,870-2,430 pounds; and the average life span is 20-28 years. Daily physical activity should be at least 2 hours. Moderate grooming requirements; family-friendly environment: yes Additionally, pets are welcome very frequently. The capacity to train: even-tempered, hardworking, and steady;

  • Average adult height: 17-18 hands
  • Average adult weight: 1,800-2,300 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 20-25 years
  • Life span: 2+ hours of physical activity each day
  • Moderate grooming requirements
  • Family-friendly environment: Yes Other pet-friendly amenities: Frequently
  • Trainability: Intelligence, willingness, and vigor are required.

Shire Overview

There are old origins to the Shire horse that extend all the way back to 1066, during the Norman Conquest of England. During the Middle Ages, these horses were frequently mentioned in the writings of medieval authors. The breed is enormous, and it has set records for being some of the most robust courses in the history of the world. Although the horse’s origins may be traced back thousands of years, it was not until 1876 that a breed association was established. A large number of Shires were shipped to countries all around the world, notably the United States.

Many of these horses were sent to slaughterhouses as their market value began to deteriorate.

Many breeders were forced to join the restoration train in the 1970s as part of an effort to revitalize the breed. Breeders believe the shire horse to be an uncommon sight to witness these days, and they consider them to be in danger.


Shire horses are exceedingly calm and simple to handle, making them ideal for beginners. It is much easier to train them than it is to train certain other breeds since they have a tremendous desire to learn new things. These horses have a strong sense of work ethic and perform their best when they are given a task to complete. It is a blessing that they have such pleasant personalities, given the nature of their responsibilities in life. Their sheer size alone may easily dominate any human person, but they are amiable and eager to learn new skills.

Physical Traits

Shire horses are easily distinguished by their huge build and densely feathered hair on their legs and tails. Despite the fact that many draught horses have numerous characteristics in common, these horses are coarse and thick in build, resulting in a physically competent horse that is suited for drawing heavy loads and doing grueling tasks like farming. Shire horses are normally 17 hands high and can weigh up to 2000 pounds or more, depending on the breed. It’s possible that stallions and mayors are different hues.

Mares, on the other hand, come in a variety of colors, including black, gray, brown, gray, and roan.

Image courtesy of Alexas Fotos and Pixabay.


Throughout history, shire horses have been used for a variety of tasks. They have been tasked with jobs such as dragging carts, conducting farm work, pulling wagons, and working in the field. Today, you could come across a shire horse hauling a carriage or saddled up and ready to go horseback riding. Generally speaking, these horses are no longer employed for hard labor, despite the fact that they are still more than capable of doing such tasks.


Despite the fact that these horses are normally in good condition, they are susceptible to a neuromuscular illness known as polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSM). Essentially, what this condition does is produce spasms in the muscles of the rear legs. You may avoid this problem by providing your shire horse with a diet that is high in fatty acids. Despite the fact that their feathery look on their legs is a desirable attribute, they can be difficult to maintain. Maintain the cleanliness and debris-free condition of their feathered hair and hooves to ensure that they do not have any complications.

Suitable for:

Farms searching for a physically healthy horse with the capacity to carry enormous amounts of weight will find these animals to be an attractive acquisition.

Because of their disposition, they are also excellent riding horses for inexperienced riders to learn how to ride. However, because of the Shire’s size, it is important to ensure that the rider is comfortable and safe at all times.

Clydesdale Overview

Image courtesy of OlesyaNickolaeva/ The county of Lancashire in Scotland is home to this Scottish breed, which is known as the Lancashire Terrier. Breeders mixed Flemish stallions with local mares in the 18th century, and the result was the development of the breed. As the game progressed, Shires were added to the mix as well. The term Clydesdale was not given to these horses until 1826, when they began to spread extensively over various sections of Europe. When they were imported from Scotland in the twentieth century, the breed saw a resurgence in popularity in Australia and New Zealand.

Clydesdales in the olden days were far heavier than they are now.

Clydesdales in America are most well-known for their association with the Budweiser beer brand.


Clydesdales are kind, yet active horses who are always ready to work. They are easy-going, yet they are also hard workers. There’s a puppy-like quality about them, which makes them energetic and eager to learn new things. The word “cold-blooded” refers to horses who are calm, cool, and collected, which is what these sorts of horses are known for. Their ability to maintain their composure makes them compatible with individuals of various ages.

Physical Traits

Even though they are still enormous in size, the Clydesdale is significantly smaller in proportion to its draught counterparts. While still robust and powerful, these horses are regarded to be slightly more compact in their frame than their counterparts. They are normally between 16 and 18 hands high, depending on the breed. They may range in weight from 1,800 to 2,300 pounds. Clydesdales are distinguished by the traditional feathering around their legs. Clydesdales are traditionally bay in color with a Sabine pattern on their chests, however they can also be black, gray, or chestnut in color.

Also possible are white markings on the belly region of the animal.


As well as being employed for agricultural productivity, many of the earliest Clydesdales were used for transportation. You could have seen them logging or riding for fun as well as other activities. Image courtesy of Pixabay Clydesdales have developed into quite the show horses in recent years, having been assigned to jobs that need involvement in a wide range of human activities. Many times you will witness Clydesdales in charge of carriages and parades, displaying their magnificent beauty and grandeur to the public.


Clydesdales can be carriers of hereditary health disorders that are widespread in draft horses, such as laminitis. They also suffer from a condition known as chronic progressive lymphedema, which is a sickness that causes swelling in the limbs over a long period of time.

Because of the dense feathering around their legs, they are also susceptible to a condition known as Clyde’s itch, which is a skin ailment that causes itching similar to mange. You must keep this region, as well as the hooves of your horse, clean and dry in order to avoid this problem.

Suitable for:

Clydesdales perform at their best when they are given a job to complete. Whether you want their brute strength or simply desire their friendship, these horses are suited to the work at hand. As long as you are okay with their enormous size, their attitude makes them acceptable selections for people of all skill levels.

Shire vs. Clydesdale: Let’s Compare!

Both the Shire and the Clydesdale are very similar creatures, both physically and psychologically. Despite the fact that Shires are normally slightly bigger than Clydesdales, they have the same basic structural characteristics. Clydesdales are slightly more compact and narrower in stature than their Shire counterparts. It is this cold-blooded mentality, as well as being chill and easy going, that distinguishes each of them from the others. Clydesdales, on the other hand, have a tendency to be a little more lively and ready to go.

and Shutterstock Both horses may be employed as riders, but it does not imply that every rider will be at ease in the saddle with any one of them.

Either of these would be an excellent pick for anyone, regardless of their degree of experience.

Each of them has a shorter lifetime than other horses, which is also a common trait.

Which Breed is Right For You?

As a result of their striking similarities, both of these breeds would be suitable in the majority of scenarios. If you’re searching for a show horse of any kind, keep in mind that these breeds are not intended for light activities like their warm-blooded counterparts. These horses, on the other hand, are excellent to ride and work with. Because they are so similar in appearance, it will come down to personal opinion when deciding which one is best for you. Their talents will be far less important consideration.

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