Horse Breeds

Shire Horses: Horse Breed & Facts

hunting horse shire horse breeds facts

The Shire Horse is one of the most iconic horse breeds in the world. With their muscular build and tall stature, they are easily recognizable.

But what do you really know about them? In this article, we will cover everything from their history to their temperament.

We’ll also discuss some of the unique things about this breed, such as their large size and how they are used today. If you’re interested in learning more about the Shire Horse, then this is the perfect article for you!

What Is A Shire Horse?

The Shire horse is a British breed of draught horse. It derives from the medieval great horse, and today is still used for traditional farming and forestry work, as well as for drayage and some riding disciplines.

Shire horses are generally black, bay or brown in colour, although some roans can be found. They are usually 18 hands high or more, making them one of the tallest breeds of horse in the world.

Shires are known for their gentle nature and calm temperament, which makes them ideal working horses. They are also very intelligent animals, and can be easily trained to perform a variety of tasks.

If you’re looking for a big, strong horse to help you with your work, then a Shire might just be the perfect breed for you.

What Is The History of A Shire Horse?

The Shire horse is a British breed of draught horse. It was formerly used for agriculture and haulage, but is now kept mainly for show and as a working animal in forestry. The breed originated in the Middle Ages, and was refined in the 19th century by crossing with Clydesdale and Suffolk Punch horses. A full-grown Shire horse may reach a height of over 18 hands (72 inches, 183 cm) and weigh more than one ton (900 kg). It is always black, bay or brown in colour, although some roans have been recorded.

Shires are considered very docile creatures that are easy to handle despite their large size. They are also known to be intelligent animals with a good memory, which makes them easy to train.

Nowadays, the number of Shire horses has dwindled due to mechanization on farms and in industry. However, there are still a few thousand of these magnificent animals alive today, and their popularity as show animals and working animals has ensured that the breed will continue into the future.

What Are The Different Types Of Shire Horse?

There are three different types of Shire horse, which are the English Shire, the Clydesdale, and the American Shire.

The English Shire is the largest of the three and can be up to eight feet tall at the shoulder.

Clydesdales are slightly smaller, but they are still very large horses.

American Shires are usually between six and seven feet tall. All three types of horse have very similar build and appearance.

What Is A Shire Horse Usually Used For?

Shire horses are most commonly used for agricultural purposes, such as pulling carts or ploughs. However, they can also be trained for riding and driving.

What Country Does A Shire Horse Originate From?

The Shire horse is a British breed of draught horse. It was developed in the counties of Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in England during the 19th century from local draft horses.

Shires were exported to many parts of the world during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly to Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand, where they were used for farm work. They continue to be used for forestry and agricultural work in many countries.

What Are The Significant Features of A Shire Horse?

There are a few key features that make Shire Horses stand out.

Firstly, they’re one of the largest horse breeds in the world.

Secondly, they have very long legs in proportion to their body length.

Finally, they have extremely muscular hindquarters. This combination of attributes makes them incredibly powerful animals, capable of pulling heavy loads.

What Is The Disposition of A Shire Horse?

The Shire horse is a very gentle giant. They are known to be quiet, calm and easy to work with.

They are also known to be very good with children. This makes them the perfect family horse.

However, they do need a lot of space to roam and exercise.

They are not the kind of horse that can be kept in a small paddock or stall. They need to be able to move around and stretch their legs.

How Tall Is A Shire Horse?

The average height of a Shire horse is between 17 and 19 hands, or 68-76 inches. However, some have been known to reach heights of over 20 hands, or 80 inches. They are one of the tallest breeds of horse in the world.

How Much Does A Shire Horse Weight?

A Shire horse typically weighs between 1800 and 2000 pounds. Some of the largest horses in the world are Shires, with some individual animals exceeding 2500 pounds.

What Is The Diet Of A Shire Horse?

Shire horses are herbivores, meaning that they only eat plants.

Their diet consists mostly of hay and grass. However, they will also eat grains and other vegetables.

They need a lot of food to maintain their large size, so they must eat several times a day.

How Fast Can A Shire Horse Run?

The average Shire horse can run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. However, some individual horses have been known to reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

How Much Does A Shire Horse Cost?

The average price for a Shire horse is around $5000. However, prices can range from $3000 to $10000 depending on the horse’s age, experience, and training. If you are looking to purchase a Shire horse, be sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder.

Where Can You Buy A Shire Horse From?

If you’re looking to purchase a Shire Horse, there are a few options. You can find several reputable breeders across the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

There are also a number of private sellers that occasionally have horses for sale.

However, it’s important to do your research before making any purchase, as there have been cases of people being scammed when buying horses online.

When looking to purchase a Shire Horse, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, these horses are bred for work and they need plenty of exercise. If you’re not planning on using the horse for work, you’ll need to make sure it has enough space to run and roam.

Secondly, Shire Horses are known for being gentle giants. They’re generally very docile and easy to handle, but there are always exceptions to every rule.

Finally, these horses can live a long time, so you need to be prepared for a long-term commitment.

What Diseases And Illnesses Does A Shire Horse Commonly Suffer From?

Shire horses are relatively healthy animals, but like all horse breeds, they are susceptible to certain diseases and illnesses. The most common health problems seen in Shires include:

Respiratory Problems

Due to their large size, Shires are prone to developing respiratory issues such as heaves (a chronic cough) and recurrent airway obstruction (RAO).

Joint Problems

Because of their size and weight, Shires are also at risk of developing arthritis and other joint problems as they age.

Hoof Problems

Due to their heavy build, Shires sometimes have difficulty growing strong hooves that can resist cracking and breakage. Regular hoof care is essential for this breed.

How Long Does A Shire Horse Usually Live For?

The average lifespan of a Shire horse is around 18 years, although some have been known to live into their early twenties. They are a hardy breed and generally healthy, although like all horses they can be prone to certain health conditions such as laminitis.

What Coat Colors Do Shire Horses Come In?

Shire horses come in a variety of colors, including black, bay, and brown. They can also be gray or chestnut. However, the most common coat color for Shire horses is black.

When Is The Mating Season For A Shire Horse?

The Shire horse’s mating season generally falls between late February and early May. However, due to the fact that they are such large animals, they do not breed as frequently as other horse breeds. In fact, a female Shire horse will only produce one foal every two to three years.

What Are Some Other Names For A Shire Horses?

The Shire horse is also sometimes referred to as the English Shire horse or simply the Shire.

What Are Some Tips For Looking After A Shire Horse?

If you’re thinking about getting a Shire horse, there are some things you need to know about how to look after them.

First of all, you need to make sure that you have enough space for your Shire horse. They need a lot of room to move around, so if you’re keeping them in a small paddock or stable, they’re not going to be happy. Make sure they have plenty of room to exercise and roam around.

Secondly, Shire horses need a lot of hay. They’re grazing animals, so they need a lot of fresh grass to eat. If you’re not able to provide them with enough hay, they’ll start to suffer from malnutrition.

Thirdly, Shire horses need their hooves trimmed regularly. Their hooves grow very quickly, and if you don’t keep on top of it, they can start to get painful cracks and splits. This can lead to infection, so it’s important to make sure that you’re keeping their hooves in good condition.

Lastly, Shire horses are very sensitive to cold weather. If you live in an area where it gets cold in the winter, you need to make sure that your horse has a warm shelter to go into. They’ll also need a lot of bedding to keep them warm and dry.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to keep your Shire horse happy and healthy. They’re a beautiful breed of horse, and they make great companion animals.

What Are Some Alternative Breeds to A Shire Horse?

So, you’re thinking about getting a Shire horse. But maybe you’re not sure if it’s the right breed for you. Here are some other breeds that might be a better fit:


If you’re looking for a similar build to a Shire horse but with slightly less hair, the Clydesdale is a good option. They’re also known for being gentle and good-natured.

Belgian Draft

Another large draft breed, Belgians are known for their strength and versatility. They can be used for everything from farming to pulling carriages.


Another popular draft breed, Percherons are known for their intelligence and willingness to please. They make great working horses and are also often used in dressage and other English riding disciplines.

So, there you have it! A few alternative breeds to the Shire horse. No matter what breed you choose, make sure you do your research and find a horse that’s right for you.


About Thomas Sloan

Thomas is an expert horse breeder and specialist with over 30 years of experience in the Equine industry. He knows the subtle in's & out's of Equine care. Spending most of his time discovering new breeds, new training techniques and new horse care products.

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