A Definitive List of the 19 Biggest Horse Breeds in the World

Horses are majestic animals that have roamed the Earth for thousands of years. They’re considered one of humankind’s friends and allies, as they are with us when we work, go to war, or even compete! Among the many horse breeds, though, a few stand out in stature and size. So, if you want to know more, check out this list of the top 19 biggest horse breeds!

Shire

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Shire horses are among the world’s tallest and biggest horses. They are also known to be descendants of the English great horse, which carried men in 400-pound armor. Shire horses stand around 68 inches or 173 centimeters and can weigh up to 900 kilograms or 2,000 pounds. The Shire horse is also the breed of Sampson, also known as Mammoth—the tallest and heaviest horse ever recorded, standing at 2.19 meters or 86.2 inches!

Clydesdale

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The Clydesdale horse is one of the biggest horse breeds in the world. It was bred for agricultural needs and heavy street haulage. Clydesdales can grow up to 72 inches and weigh over 900 kilograms or 2,000 pounds. Despite their size, Clydesdale horses are gentle giants that are easy to handle.

Percheron

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Percheron horses are more muscular than Clydesdale horses but slightly shorter. While Clydesdales typically stand at 18 hands or 72 inches, Percherons fall anywhere between 16 and 17 hands or 64 and 68 inches. They are, however, both gentle giants that are fantastic choices for horse riding. Strathorn Farm shares, “They’ve got discipline, level-headedness, and loads of patience, which means you’re in good hands when you’re up there in the saddle.”

Belgian Draft

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Belgian Drafts are expensive horses, costing anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. They are known for their height, ranging from 64 to 68 inches. Big Jake, a Belgian horse, was the Guinness World Record holder of the tallest living horse, standing at 82.75 inches. He sadly passed away at 20 years old last June 2021.

Suffolk Punch

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Suffolk Punch horses have a great work ethic. They’re hard workers with a gentle temperament and are not that costly to keep or care for. Another notable feature, however, is their height. After all, these horses stand at around 62 to 66 inches!

Dutch Draft

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The Dutch Draft is the heaviest of all Dutch horse breeds, making it the best choice for heavy haulage or traction. Because of this, they’re considered to be one of the best helpers when it comes to agriculture-focused tasks. These horses are also relatively tall and can stand at around 16 hands or 64 inches.

American Cream Draft

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American Cream Draft horses can easily be identified through their gold champagne coats. They were developed in Iowa in the early 1900s and are considered the only breed of draft horse developed in the United States of America. Like the Dutch Draft, these horses stand at 16 hands or 64 inches.

Lithuanian Heavy Draft

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These horses typically come in a chestnut color but can also be black or gray. They have strong muscles and are considered very powerful horses but still very calm and docile. Lithuanian Heavy Drafts measure between 60 and 64 inches and weigh around 900 kilograms.

Russian Heavy Draft

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These horses live up to their names, as young foals mature early and reach 250 kilograms. The Russian Heavy Draft is a purebred Russian horse, and milk from their mares is believed to have health benefits, especially for digestion, immunity, and appetite. Russian Heavy Drafts can grow up to 59 or 60 inches.

Vladimir Draft

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Vladimir Drafts originated from Vladimir, an area of the former Soviet Union. They are known to be a mix of Suffolk Punch, Shire, and Clydesdale horses, but later, they were considered a true breed. They are slightly shorter than other horse breeds, standing between 15 and 16 hands or 60 and 64 inches.

Dole Gudbrandsdal

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Dole horses were bred to work in agriculture, forestry, and transportation. However, today, they’re considered great sports and leisure horses, making them excellent driving and riding choices. They stand 14.1 to 15.3 hands or 57 to 63 inches.

Irish Draught

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Like the Dole, the Irish Draught horse was also primarily bred for farm use. However, because of its athleticism, it’s often cross-bred with sport horses like Thoroughbreds to produce the Irish Draught Sport Horse—an excellent horse for show jumping, fox hunting, dressage, and leisure riding. It is around 62 to 67 inches and weighs anywhere between 580 and 680 kilograms.

Ardennais

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This horse breed originated from Ardennes, now known as Luxembourg, France, and Belgium. It’s one of the oldest draft breeds, which supposedly roamed the world in the Paleolithic era. Ardennais stallions in France can stand to about 16 hands or 64 inches high. According to the Oklahoma State Breeds of Livestock, “For its size, it is an economical animal to feed.”

Comtois

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Comtois horses were bred to pull heavy loads and work on farms. They are very popular horses and are considered one of France’s most abundant heavy horse breeds. They grow to about 14.3 to 16.1 hands or 57.2 to 64.4 inches.

Boulonnais

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Boulonnais horses are widely popular as the majestic “White Marble Horse.” They are large and elegant but also highly energetic and lively. Though their necks and heads are short, they are still relatively large horses, standing at around 59 to 67 inches!

Jutland

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Jutland horses’ arched necks and low withers make them out to be compact horses. However, they are still relatively large horses that stand anywhere from 60 to 65 inches. They are also pretty heavy, weighing 650 to 800 kilograms. Jutlands are powerful, strong horses made to transport heavy goods and carriages in the olden days.

Friesian

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Friesian horses are incredibly well-built. They are famous for their high-stepping and brisk trot and willingness to learn. These horses are also highly energetic and intelligent, making them great competition horses. On average, Friesians stand 15.3 hands or 63 inches.

Australian Draught

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Australian Draught horses have a good temperament and are considered tough working horses. This breed is a mix of four purebred breeds: Shire, Clydesdale, Suffolk Punch, and Percheron. Like other horses on the list, Australian Draughts have an average height of 16 and 17.2 hands or 64 to 68.8 inches.

Fjord

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Fjord horses are relatively smaller horses compared to the ones on the list. However, they can reach 15 hands or 60 inches. Ancestors of this breed initially only stood at around 12 hands or 48 inches. But after cross-breeding them with Dole Gudbrandsdals in the 19th century, they were able to enhance this horse breed’s size and strength.

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Author: Karen Danao

Bio:

Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

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