11 Biggest Horse Breeds (with Pictures)

There are hundreds of horse breeds around the world. Horses have been domesticated for hundreds if not thousands of years, leading to many variation between different races. Some of these breeds are very small, but others are very large.

Most large horses are draft horses. In other words, they were bred to tow heavy equipment and supplies. Most of them weren’t on horseback — they were too big. Many of these breeds are still used for pulling goods even today.


11 Greatest Horse Races

1. Shire Horse

Shire Horse_Alexas_Photos, Pixabay

The Shire horse is easily the largest horse in the world. These things make other horses look like dwarves. They range in height from 17 to 19 hands and can weigh up to 2,400 pounds. They were selectively bred to be great for agricultural and industrial work. This led to their large size today.

In the past, this breed pulled barges, pulled carts, and handled heavy plows. They are used for agricultural and industrial work.

However, as most farms are mechanized these days, these horses are on the verge of extinction. Their numbers continued to dwindle, as many did not wish to keep large horses unless they had a practical need for it.

Some groups are looking to revive this breed. Their numbers slowly recovered, although they are still considered endangered today.

  • Also Read: Shire Vs Clydesdale: What’s the Difference (With Pictures)

2. Clydesdale Horse

Clydesdale horse_ OlesyaNickolaeva, Shutterstock

This horse is slightly better known than the Shire Horse. However, they are slightly smaller. It is between 16 and 18 hands tall and weighs between 1,800 to 2,000 pounds. They could be bigger, though.

The famous Budweiser Clydesdale horse usually at least He is 18 hands tall and weighs up to 2,300 pounds. The King LeGear is probably the largest Clydesdale, standing at 20.5 hands tall. It weighs 2,950 pounds, which is larger than the Shire Horse.

These horses are known for their energetic nature. They can be very gentle, but they are also a bit passionate. They are used for agricultural, industrial, and forestry purposes which require strength.

They are also considered great horse. They have fluffy white nails which make them very popular. They are usually in parades and as show horses because of their beauty. Although they are prevalent, they are still at risk of extinction in some countries. This is largely due to their large size, which makes them a bit difficult to maintain.

This is an ancient race. There is no record of when the Clydesdale horse started. We know they existed in the mid-18th century, because there are records of them being imported into Scotland. Their definite ancestors include the mare Lampits and the stallion Thomson. However, there are other possible ancestors as well.

  • Also Read: Belgian Horse vs Clydesdale: What’s the Difference?

3. Percheron Horse

Percheron Horse

Percheron is another colossal horse. It originates from France, specifically the Huisne river valley. This region was once known in Perche, where this race got its name.

These horses are quite varied in size. They can be anywhere from 15 to 19 hands, which is a huge size variation.

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Although they are known in France, their true history and development is unknown. They may be as old as 496 AD

This breed is unlike any other design horse because Arabian and oriental horses have a great influence on them. It goes back to the 8th century. Its influence remained strong until the 19th century. Due to this influence, this horse has a lighter neck than some other breeds. However, it is still very capable of pulling heavy loads.

Back in the 19th century, this was a famous trainer horse. Today, because trainers are rarely used, they are mostly used in horse shows, parades, and driving. They can still do forestry and agricultural work as needed.

Unlike most draft horses, this also makes a good equestrian.

4. Belgian Draft Horse

The Belgian Draft did not develop as a descendant of its own until after World War II. Belgian Draft is higher than most horses, but also lighter. This means it cannot carry as heavy a load as the other draft horses on this list, although it is still considered a heavy horse.

They usually weigh around 2,000 pounds and are about 16.5 hands tall. With their heavy weight, these horses are also able to pull heavy loads. Two Belgian Drafts recorded a draw of 17,000 pounds.

Today, these horses are most common in heavy agricultural and forestry jobs. However, they are still useful for horseback riding. It is one of the few draft breeds that is not on the verge of extinction.

They are generally shorter than most other draft breeds, but this breed still has some beautiful giant horses. The most famous Belgian draft is named the Brooklyn Supreme. This horse is 19.2 hands tall and weighs over 3,000 pounds.

5. Suffolk Strike

Suffolk Punch horse galloping up

This type of horse is quite old and relatively tall. They are the tallest horses in England, with a height of between 16.1 and 17.2 hands. It weighs about 2,000 pounds in most cases, although larger horses are possible. It is still popular today for forestry and agricultural work. They also do a lot in the advertising industry, thanks in large part to their striking figures.

We don’t know exactly when this breed first appeared. However, we’ve mentioned the date back to 1586, so we know the breed hasn’t changed much since then. This horse likely has close genetic ties to some pony breeds, though large.

This is one of the rare horse breeds on this list. They are ancient and have reached a genetic bottleneck due to heavy losses during the World Wars. There is very little left in England today.

In America, the breed is slightly better. However, crossbreeding with the Belgian Draft is allowed in the United States, while the United Kingdom still does not allow it. For this reason, the UK also does not allow crosses with American Suffolk Punches.

6. Dutch Draft Horse

braided dutch design horse

The Dutch Draft is a newer breed of horse. They did not appear until after World War I, when Ardennes and Belgian Draft horses were usually bred together. This resulted in an entirely new breed of horse – the Dutch Draft.

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This breed is quite heavy. It became popular in Zeeland and Groningen, mostly for agricultural work and similar heavy towing. However, it didn’t have much time to become popular until World War II, where it suffered heavy losses and became a rarer breed.

This is probably one of the strongest horse breeds. They often competed in horse-drawn plowing events, where they often won. Nonetheless, they are much smaller than some of the other draft horses. The mare is usually about 15 hands tall and the stallion is about 17 hands tall.

However, they are much bigger than most other breeds out there. They are not little horses by any means.

7. Australian Draft Horse

This horse breed is a giant conglomeration of the other horse breeds on this list. They are essentially hybrids, with the genetics of Clydesdales, Percherons, Shires, and Suffolk Punches all wrapped up in this one breed. They did not become a race of their own until 1976 when they started their textbooks.

As the name suggests, this horse was bred for Australia. To make horses suitable for the country, many large horses were used. It is likely that many of these horses were brought in with the settlers, and then crossbreeding began to occur. Eventually, this led to a new breed.

This horse is well known throughout Australia, where it is the dominant draft breed. Many are unlisted, so the exact number of horses around today is difficult to know.

This horse is relatively large, although smaller than many of its ancestors. It can stand between 16.2 and 17.2 hands and weighs between 1,300 to 1,900 pounds. Larger horses are acceptable.

Despite their relatively smaller size, they are just as powerful as some of the other horses on this list. They are also very gentle and docile, which makes them easy to work with. Many people say that they are a pleasure to have.

8. american cream

american cream horse

The American Cream Draft is the only draft horse developed in the United States that still exists. Everything else is now extinct. Even this horse is still a rare breed to this day.

They are best known for their champagne gold color, which is where they get part of their name. This coloring is produced by placing the champagne gene above the chestnut color gene. For this reason, this breed has champagne gold and chestnuts, depending on whether the horse gets the champagne gene or not. This breed usually only has yellow eyes.

The breed first appeared in Iowa in the early 20th century. They started with a mare named Old Granny, who was cream in color. The breed struggled to gain traction during the Great Depression. However, several breeders worked to improve the breed, and a breed register was created in 1944.

Since agriculture became mechanized, this breed is no longer popular. The registry has been dormant for decades. However, it was reactivated in 1982. The breed has continued to thrive since then, although they are still considered critical.

  • See also: Kiger Mustang
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9. Heavy Draft Russia/Ardennes

The Russian Heavy Draft is a Russian horse breed. It was bred originally in the Russian Empire during the second half of the 19th century. After the Russian revolution, its name was changed to Russian Ardennes. It is often shortened to “Ardennes.”

This breed was one of several draft breeds being developed at the time. However, it is an older breed in general and smaller than most other draft breeds today.

This little horse is quite strong for its size. It also has a high milk production and is sometimes used in the production of whiskers. In some countries, horses are also raised for meat.

10. Lithuanian Heavy Draft

This design horse was created during the 19th and 20th centuries. As the name suggests, they were developed in Lithuania, where you will still find them today. They are mostly used for heavy draft work, as you can probably guess. However, they are sometimes used for meat production as well.

Currently, this species is almost extinct. There were only 1,000 horses left less than 20 years ago.

This horse usually stands 15 to 16 hands tall. They are not as big as some of the other breeds on this list, although they are still quite strong. They come in a variety of colors too, including bay, chestnut, black, gray, and roan. They have strong and sturdy legs and are quite muscular.

11. Soviet Heavy Draft

As the name suggests, this horse was developed during Soviet times in Russia. This horse originally came from the Belgian Brabant and was developed for heavy work and agriculture in the Soviet Union. It was recognized as a breed in 1952.

It is one of several breeds that were all developed simultaneously, including the Russian Heavy Draft, which is often confused with this horse.

The Soviet Heavy Draft was known for its free-walking style. They can have a straight or convex profile. Their necks are relatively short, while their bodies are broad and muscular.

They are mostly used for draft work in agriculture, although they are occasionally seen in industrial work. They are also reliable dairy and meat producers, which are used in several countries. Females have a lower fertility rate of only 65%, although foals are easy to care for and grow quickly. They have a decent level of lactation.

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Featured Image: Studio10-27, Pixabay