Clydesdale horses

Clydesdale horses originated in the Clyde Valley in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Crossing Flemish stallions to the local mares created the breed.

The breed was founded between 1715 – 1720 to produce strong draught horses to work in the fields, and for hauling coal in Lanarkshire along with heavy hauling in  Glasgow, from the mines.

Today, Clydesdales are still used for draft purposes, including agriculture, logging and driving.

They are also shown and ridden, as well as kept for pleasure.


Clydesdale horses

Clydesdales and Shires are used by the British Household Cavalry as drum horses, leading parades on ceremonial and state occasions, as they are strong and splendid to look at.

These Scottish horses were related to the Shire having been crossed in the 19th century but are lighter in build.

The height varies from 16.2hh – 18hh (1.65 – 1.80m), with some males much larger, standing taller than 18 hands.

With typical colours being brown, bay, grey, black or roan with large markings of white on face, legs, and on the underside of the belly can often be seen.

Many buyers pay a premium for bay and black horses, especially those with four white legs and white facial markings.


The breed has a straight or slightly convex facial profile, broad forehead and wide muzzle.

It is well muscled and strong, with an arched neck, high withers and a sloped shoulder.

The breed has a very distinctive high stepping action and is by far the best mover of the heavy breeds.


picture horses  - What a splendid sight!

“Cow hocks” (hocks that turn inwards, close together) are a characteristic of the breed and not seen as a conformation fault.

Due to its popularity, the Clydesdale can be found in Europe, Australia, Russia, South Africa, Japan, Canada, USA, and New Zealand.

In Australia, the breed is often referred to as the “breed that built Australia”.

The Clydesdale was instrumental in the creation of the Gypsy Vanner horse, developed in Great Britain.

The Clydesdale, along with other draft breeds, was also used to create the Australian Draught Horse.


Scroll down from Clydesdale horses for more heavy horse breeds.




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