6 Largest Horse Breeds in the World

Horse instructor train her large white horse at the farm
No matter their size or color, all horses are beautiful. But we cannot deny that there’s just something majestic about large horse breeds. With their impressive height and well-developed muscles, they’re nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Traditionally, large horses are used for labor-extensive tasks. Their intelligence and mild temperament also make them ideal for farm work. They also tend to have thick coats since most of these horses originated from colder regions.

Here are some of the largest horse breeds in the world:

1. Shire Horse

Average height: 17 hands (68 in. or 173 cm.)

Average weight: 2,000 pounds

Native to England, the shire horse is undeniably one of the largest horse breeds. In fact, a shire gelding once held the world record for being the tallest and largest horse.

Aside from their massive size, shire horses are known for their considerable leg hair (called feathers). They also have thick coats which are usually black, brown, gray, bay, or chestnut.

2. Clydesdale

Average height: 18 hands

Average weight: 1,800 – 2,200 pounds

If you’ve ever seen a parade in Scotland, then the Clydesdale horse breed would be familiar. The Clydesdale is a Scottish breed of draught horse. Aside from parades, they are also typically used in small farms and pulling competitions.

Their impressive stature makes Clydesdale very easy to spot. But they are more known for their signature white markings, feathering around the legs, and high-stepping gait.

Despite their size, Clydesdale horses are gentle, very trainable, and easygoing. That’s why they are recommended for riders of all ages and levels. Their calm demeanor together with their impressive size also makes them ideal therapy horses.

Landscape picture of white and dark largest horse at the farm

3. Belgian Draft

Average height: 16 to 17 hands

Average weight: 1,800 – 2,200 pounds

Like most large horse breeds, Belgian drafts are heavily built with thick muscles. They have short but very powerful legs with limited featherings and massive quarters with a characteristic “double muscling” over the croup.

Considered an old breed, Belgian drafts are descended from the Finnish “great horse”, a medieval warhorse. And thanks to selective breeding, they have managed to retain their characteristics over the years.

With their docile nature and high trainability, they are typically used in all manners of draft work. They are also gaining popularity as riding horses.

4. Dutch Draft

Average height: 15 to 16 hands

Average weight: 1,500 to 1,600 pounds

Even in pictures, there is no doubt that Dutch drafts are one of the largest horse breeds in the world. With their massive built and heavily feathered legs, they are one of the most recognizable draft breeds in the world.

If the Dutch Draft horses had been humans, they’d be those people who take part in muscle-building competitions. From their necks, chest, hindquarters, to their loin, every inch of the Dutch draft seems to be made out of pure solid muscles.

But like most draft horses, they have gentle and mild temperaments. They also have better stamina and can work for longer periods of time.

5. Percheron

Average height: 16 to 17 hands

Average weight: 1,900 to 2,100 pounds

Not much is known about the Percheron breed’s origin. But many believe that they are descended from Flemish draft horses, Barb horses of the Moors, and Arabian horses.

The earliest Percherons were originally bred as war horses and eventually as agricultural horses. Today, you can often see them pulling carriages and sleighs.

Known as gentle giants, they have a muscular built and docile temperament. This makes them a popular choice for equestrians who prefer riding large horses.

6. Suffolk Punch

Average height: 16.1 to 17.2 hands

Average weight: 2,000 to 2,200 pounds

As its name suggests, the Suffolk Punch breed originated from Suffolk in Eastern England. It is the only draft horse breed exclusively bred for farm work. Because of this, the breed retained much of its farm horse characteristics such as strength, stamina, hardiness, and a willing disposition.

Unlike most draft horse breeds, all Suffolk horses are chestnut in color. Some may have white markings but they are very rare. They have short, well-muscled legs and upright powerful shoulders.

The name “punch”, which is an old slang term for a jolly, solid, and hearty character, describes this horse perfectly.

Have A Horse In Coconut Creek?

Millpond Stables in Coconut Creek is your number one choice when it comes to horse care. Our horse boarding services are top notch, our all wood stables are maintained by expert staff. Take horse back riding lessons with seasoned professionals and ride your horse on scenic trails near our stables. Get engaged in the community with local horse shows and gatherings. Are your kids interested in horses? We offer an annual summer camp designed to teach kids how to ride and care for horses. Contact us today to sign up.


Judy Ponio is an author for Millpond Stables.

About The Author

Judy Ponio is a firm believer in the benefits of sharing knowledge for the betterment of us all. She loves to read and write about horse care, riding, and more.