What is the Largest Horse Breed in the World?

Horses have long been man’s trusted companions, providing support in war, transportation and heavy farm work. Large breed horses tend to have calm dispositions with gentle personalities.

The largest horse breeds are well-known for their impressive strength and gentle temperaments, typically featuring strong muscles with up to 2,200-pound weight limits.


Shire horses are majestic large-barreled draft horses with 19 hands or more that typically stand up to 19 hands in height and weigh 3,300 pounds or more. Yet despite their massive size, these peaceful horses make great partners for riders of any experience level.

This impressive breed was initially developed from cold-blooded, heavy English horses of medieval period that were specifically bred for war, needing to carry knights wearing full armor. Subsequently, during the 17th century Dutch engineers hired to drain fens in eastern England brought Friesian and Brabant horses with them that were then crossed with English “Great Horses” breeds to create what we now refer to as Shire horses.

In response, breeders created an extremely tall and muscular dog breed with broad shoulders and coupled loins, short backs, and no “goose rumpedness.”

Traditionally, these massive horses were employed for pulling brewer’s drays (carts loaded with beer) between brewing facilities and public houses, road transport, coal transportation and garbage collection services. By the 19th and early 20th centuries however, mechanization of agriculture and transportation led to less need for these massive horses; their popularity as show horses offsetting this loss.

Today, Shires can often be seen competing in dressage, driving, harness racing and jumping events. Additionally, they’re an ideal mount for beginner riders and children.


Clydesdale horses are the largest horse breed in the world. Originating from Scotland, these large animals were once used extensively in farm and industrial work; often growing over 18 hands tall and weighing 2,200 pounds. Although famous thanks to Budweiser beer commercials featuring King LeGear Clydesdales, their sheer size has contributed to a decline in their numbers as more farms opt for mechanization instead of keeping these magnificent beasts as labor animals.

Clydesdale horses are well-known for their elegant appearance and incredible strength, making them popular choices at parades and other events. You’ll often see these majestic giants sporting black, chestnut or roan coats, sporting white markings on their legs, as well as having an obvious blaze or bald face. While generally calm animals, Clydesdales require regular exercise to maintain optimal health.

The Belgian Draft horse breed was once an indispensable element of American agriculture, serving knights-in-shining-armor in battle, hauling cargo around, and providing sleigh trips around the globe. Due to its massive size and gentle disposition, new riders often prefer it over larger horses which may require mounting blocks before getting on board.


The Belgian is one of the largest horse breeds worldwide, known for their impressive strength and gentle temperament. These powerful beasts thrive under human care and training, eagerly wanting to please their handlers while being easy to train. Not only are these majestic horses powerful; but their vast power comes coupled with calm patience that loves work – which explains their popularity as draft horses and parade mounts.

Belgian horses were originally bred for farm work, much like Clydesdales. They have thick bodies and large feet, usually sporting chestnut, red sorrel or bay hues. Along with their sturdy build and calm temperaments, Belgians make great riding horses – as well as being popular choices for carriage work or showing.

Although they possess strong work ethics, these animals require extensive training in order to remain healthy and content. If left without regular exercise and attention they could quickly become bored and restless; additionally a diet rich in antioxidants would support both health and performance.

As with other horses, Belgians are susceptible to genetic diseases such as Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa (JEB). This condition causes newborn foals to lose their skin when born – genetic testing is therefore key in order to minimize its presence. Interbreeding between carriers should also be avoided to keep this disease at bay.


Fjord horses are known for being calm, friendly, and durable – perfect companions for horseback riding. Notable features of this breed include their distinct looks and expressive eyes; however, what endears people most to them is their people-orientation: these horses thrive with human contact while remaining intelligent enough to train well.

Even though they may appear small, Fjord horses have proven themselves adept at performing at an exceptional level in dressage competitions. Furthermore, these versatile horses can also be used for pleasure driving and cattle work; sturdy enough to carry adults across rocky terrain without issue.

The Fjord Horse is a short, compact breed with deep bones and an ample heart girth. Their head has medium size with either a dished or straight forehead; small ears that are alert. There are five recognized colors of their coat: Brown Dun, Red Dun, Gray Dun or “Uls” Dun and Yellow Dun.

The Fjord horse is protected and regulated internationally through Norwegian Fjord Horse Association (Norges Fjordhestlag). Additionally, international standards of breeding practices and studbooks are overseen by Fjord Horse International; this organization works to expand use of this breed worldwide while working to preserve genetic purity of breed while upholding traditional characteristics – all this while making sure only approved stock is bred.

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