Shire Horses Are Gentle Giants with a Farmer's Enduring Work Ethic

The Shire horse is a gentle giant. He is hard-working, calm, and easy to train. The Livestock Conservancy shares that the Shire was moved from Critical to Threatened as the global population estimate is now greater than 2,000. The United States has at least half of the world's Shire horses, and in addition to their traditional uses, Shire horses are finding popularity as mounts for jousting and Renaissance tournaments.

Have you met or better yet own a Shire horse? After you read the entire article, you'll be researching where to find one! The American Shire Horse Association reveals the origin of this beautiful horse breed.

What is a Shire horse?

Shire Horses

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The Shire is a farm horse. Farming developed a need for strong, docile horses that could work the fields in Yorkshire and Lancashire. 

"The Shire horse traces back to the "English Great Horse", and the Great Horse in turn to Flemish horses brought to England during the 12th century. These Flemish horses were noted both for their size and for colors and markings similar to what we think of as typical for the Shire. Such horses had been used both on the Continent and in the British Isles as war horses, but as England became a world power whose wars, when they occurred, took place far from the island, the Shire was used more in farming and commercial trade."

The Shire is known for its pulling power.

How tall are Shire horses?

The Shire horse is so large. They have a long mane, and furred feet.

Pet Guide provides this description.

"The head of the Shire Horse is lean and long, and the animal's eyes are large and docile, while the ears are sensitive, sharp, lean, and long. The neck should be long and in proportion to the rest of the body, as well as slightly arched, and the shoulders should be wide and deep."

The height of horses is also measured in 'hands' and check out the lifespan of this horse! Make sure you're prepared as this commitment is around 30 years.

  • Height: 16.2-21.2 hands (84.8")
  • Lifespan: 27.5 years

How much does a Shire horse cost?

This is one of the most popular questions asked on Google. We did a little research and discovered that the cost of a Shire horse varies so we recommend visiting sites like Equine Now as they have Shire horses for sale.

How much does a Shire horse weigh?

The weight range is 1,800-2,400 lb so don't let your Shire horse step on your toes! 

Another massive horse to consider is the Clydesdale.

We recommend visiting the Shire horse society as a resource for research. They have a section for horses for sale and publications that talk about the Shire breed. You can discover a lot about the farm work they do (cart horse), and why this breed of horse is so special. Just check out the feathering on this horse's feet!

Like all the famous draft breeds, this draft horse is also known as a warhorse and PetGuide shared that there is evidence that black Flemish horses with leg feathering were brought to England in the early part of the 13th century. Therefore, those horses also influenced the Shire Horse's development. This horse has so much history. The heavy loads they were known for carrying is remarkable.

The Shire Horse's coat should be silky. The typical colors include brown, gray, bay, and black, as well as chestnut, sorrel, and roan. White markings that are excessive, such as large white patches throughout the body, are not considered desirable for this equine breed. (Although we think the white markings are so attractive).

What about the largest Shire horse?

We looked at the Guinness Book of World Records to see if there was a giant Shire horse breed worth adding here as so many heavy horses have impressive height and length statistics.

One of the most famous Shires was a horse called Goliath. He measured at more than 19.5 hands high, he was the tallest horse in Great Britain at the time and, for eight years, was listed in "The Guinness Book of World Records." Goliath was known as a beautiful black horse with a huge personality.

What do you think about these Shire horses? Share your thoughts below.

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