How Tall Is A Shire Horse? (Correct answer)

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).

  • The average height of the Shire horse is 17.2 hands, and they weigh approximately 2,000 pounds. The head of the Shire is long and lean, with a long neck in proportion to the body. Their shoulders are deep and wide enough to support a collar. The girth of a Shire stallion can reach 8 feet.

How tall is the tallest Shire?

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).

How tall is the tallest breed of horse?

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a Belgian named Big Jake is the tallest horse in the world at 20 hands and 2.75 inches tall (82.75 inches).

Is a Shire horse bigger than a Clydesdale?

Both horse breeds have large, muscular, and strong bodies. But, Shires are bigger; they stand at 17 hands and weigh between 1,800 and 2,400 pounds. Clydesdales are not small horses but have a slightly smaller frame when compared to Shires.

How tall is the average Shire?

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).

Is Big John the horse still alive?

Big Jake’s death was announced on June 5, 2021, with Gilbert’s wife stating that the death had taken place approximately two weeks prior but declining to give the media an exact date.

What breed was Big Jake?

Big Jake became famous in 2012 after he was crowned the tallest in the world by the Guinness World Records. While he’s not a Shire, he comes from a breed that’s admired as one of the strongest and heaviest among draft horses: the Belgian.

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 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 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 draft horse and a Shire Horse?

Though many draught horses share several similarities, these horses are coarse and thick in form, creating a physically capable horse that is ideal for pulling weight and performing laborious work. Shire horses typically stand 17 hands high, and they can weigh up to 2000 pounds or more.

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).

  • 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.
  • Legs are seldom feathered to an excessive degree, and the hair is light, straight, and smooth in texture.
  • 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).
  • The Shire has an incredible ability to pull a lot of heavy loads.
  • 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

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.

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.

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.
  • 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.

The formation of gas and acid produces pain, colic, and occasionally laminitis. The Shire, like most other horses, should not be fed more than 1 percent of body weight from a grain source. Supplying feed to a young horse during their growing stage must be done with care. Too much grain can cause the horse’s bones to grow too fast and become porous. Porous bones are brittle and can lead to many long term orthopedic problems. On the other hand, you want to provide enough grain for the younghorse to grow strongand healthy.

Note how fast he finishes his feed, and the amount of hay eaten per day.

Clickhereto read about horse nutrition.

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

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.

Aside from that, shire horses have characteristic feathering—long strands of hair—on their lower legs, similar to Clydesdales, and their hooves are huge.

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.

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. A reputable rescue or breeder will be forthcoming with information about its animals in order to assist you in finding the best match.

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.

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.

Breed Standard & Points of the Horse – The Shire Horse Society

A scale of points for the breed has been meticulously devised, and it has been updated as appropriate to reflect current standards of excellence. For example, years ago, the abundance of hair or feathers on the legs of the Shire was considered a wonderful attribute of the region. Today’s need is for a horse with straight, fine, silky hair and cleaner legs, as well as a more refined appearance. The following are the points that have been established by the Council as standard:


COLOUR Black, brown, bay or grey. No good stallion should be splashed with large white patches over the body. He must not be roan or chestnut.
HEIGHT 17 hands (173 cms) high at maturity. Average about 17.2 hands (178 cms).
HEAD Long and lean, neither too large or too small, with long neck in proportion to the body. Large jaw bone should be avoided.
EYES Large, well set and docile in expression. Wall eyes not acceptable.
NOSE Slightly Roman nostrils thin and wide; lips together.
EARS Long, lean, sharp and sensitive.
THROAT Clean cut and lean.
SHOULDER Deep and oblique, wide enough to support the collar.
NECK Long, slightly arched, well set on to give the horse a commanding appearance.
GIRTH The girth varies from 6 ft (183 cms) to 8 ft (244 cms) in stallions of from 16.2 (168 cms) to 18 hands (183 cms).
BACK Short, strong and muscular. Should not be dipped or roached.
LOINS Standing well up, denoting good constitution (must not be flat).
FORE-END Wide across the chest, with legs well under the body and well enveloped in muscle, or action is impeded.
HIND-QUARTERS Long and sweeping, wide and full of muscle, well let down towards the thighs.
RIBS Round, deep and well sprung, not flat.
FORELEGS Should be as straight as possible down to pastern.
HINDLEGS Hocks should be not too far back and in line with the hind-quarters with ample width broadside and narrow in front. “Puffy” and “sickle” hocks should be avoided. The leg sinews should be clean cut and hard like fine cords to touch and clear of short cannon bone.
BONE MEASUREMENT Of flatbone 11 inches (28 cms) is ample, although occasionally 12½ inches (32 cms) is recorded – flat bone is heavier and stronger than spongy bone. Hocks must be broad, deep and flat and set at the correct angle for leverage.
FEET Deep, solid and wide, with thick open walls. Coronets should be hard and sinewy with substance.
HAIR Not too much, fine straight and silky.

If a Shire Stallion is in good condition, he should stand 17.0 hands (173 cms) or higher and weigh between 18 cwt (900 kg) and 22 cwt (1100 kg) when matured, without being overdone in size or weight. He should have a manly head with a good crest and sloping shoulders that go nicely into the back, which should be short and properly paired with the loins. He should not have an erect shoulder blade. The tail should be properly put up and not “gooserumped,” as it is commonly termed. Both the head and the tail should be carried in an upright position.

When it comes to feet and joints, a stallion’s feet should be wide and massive around the top of the coronets, and the pasterns should be long enough to let him to move freely.

The horse should be forced to go forward by utilizing both knees and hocks, which should be maintained close together, and he should travel straight and true both before and behind the horses back. A good Stallion should have a strong sense of personality.

Modification or Variation of Stallion Standard of Points for Mares

COLOUR Black, brown, bay, grey, roan.
HEIGHT 16 hands (163 cms) upwards.
HEAD Long and lean, neither too large nor too small, long neck in proportion to the body, of feminine appearance.
EYES Large, well set and docile in expression. Wall eyes are acceptable except for animals Grade A and B register.
NECK Long and slightly arched and not of masculine appearance.
GIRTH 5 ft (152 cms) to 7 ft (214 cms) (matured) according to size and age of animal.
BACK Strong and in some instances longer than a male.
LEGS Short, with short cannons.
BONE MEASUREMENT 9 (23 cms) to 11 inches (28 cms) of flat bone, with clean cut sinews.

For a Mare to be considered high-quality, she should be long and deep in movement, with a feminine and matronly aspect, and she should stand from 16 hands (163 cm) and above on short legs. She should have plenty of space to accommodate her foal’s needs.

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.

It is desirable for a Gelding to be upright, stout, well-balanced, extremely energetic, and a gay mover. He should be courageous, and he should seem and be capable of doing the duties of a full day’s labor. Geldings range in weight from 17 cwt (850 kg) to 22 cwt (500 kg) (1100 Kgs). Cookies are used on this website to enhance your browsing experience. We’ll presume you’re okay with this, but you have the option to opt out if you so choose. Policy Concerning Privacy and Cookies ACCEPT

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


  • 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.

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. Their easy-going attitude makes them an excellent choice for both new and experienced dog owners.

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.

This might be due to the fact that they are not accustomed to as much severe labor as their forefathers and foremothers. Clydesdales in America are most well-known for their association with the Budweiser beer brand. Since 1933, the Clydesdales have served as the mascot for this 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.

Because of their build and the feathering on their legs, both of these horses have health concerns that are comparable to each other. 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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