Shire

Shire horses are truly English taking its name from the counties where it was bred (Stafford, Derby, Lincolns and Leicester) all ending with the same word.



When Oliver Cromwell ruled the kingdom, the breed was called the “English Black”.

In medieval times, it was known as “the Great horse” and in 1884 was accorded the name of today.

The foundation stallion of the breed was known as the Packing ton Blind horse who was the first horse to be registered in the studbook in 1878.

They are big horses, standing between 16 – 18hh (1.6 – 1.8m) with some even taller.

The head is long and lean, with large eyes, set on a neck that is slightly arched and long in proportion to the body.

The shoulder is deep and wide, the chest wide, the back muscular and short with the hindquarters long and wide.


The coat colours of mares and geldings may be black, brown, bay, grey and roan. Stallions may be black, bay or grey. In the UK, stallions may not be chestnut, but the colour is allowed by the US registry.


Supreme heavy horses can achieve a massive girth size of up to 8ft.

The breed is extremely powerful pulling up to five times its own weight.

Shire horse

It boasts extravagant, heavy but also silky feathers that start just below the knee and hocks to fully cover its hooves.


The breed is an all-round workhorse, but sadly today there are not many working  horses, but they can still be seen in ploughing matches at agriculture shows and events.

These horses are often seen in the show ring and the breed is used for forestry work and leisure riding.

It was originally the staple breed used to draw carts to deliver ale from the brewery to the public houses.


Scroll down from this British animal for more horse and pony breeds.





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Equus - 1

Mesohippus - early equid - 2

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