A beautiful Shire breed.
The Clydesdale is a breed of draught horse derived from the farm horses of Clydesdale, Scotland, and named after that region. Although originally one of the smaller breeds of draught horses, it is now a tall breed. Clydesdales are usually bay in colour, but roan, black, grey and chestnut also occur. Most have white markings, including white on the face, feet, legs and occasional body spotting (generally on the lower belly). They also have extensive feathering on their lower legs. The breed was originally used for agriculture and haulage, and is still used for draught purposes today. The Budweiser Clydesdales are some of the most famous Clydesdales, and other members of the breed are used as drum horses by the British Household Cavalry. They have also been used to create and improve other draught breeds.
The breed was developed from Flemish stallions imported to Scotland and crossed with local mares. The first recorded use of the name “Clydesdale” for the breed was in 1826, and by 1830 a system of hiring stallions had begun that resulted in the spread of Clydesdale horses throughout Scotland and into northern England. The first breed registry was formed in 1877. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands of Clydesdales were exported from Scotland and sent throughout the world, including to Australia and New Zealand, where they became known as “the breed that built Australia”. However, during World War I population numbers began to decline due to increasing mechanization and war conscription. This decline continued, and by the 1970s, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust considered the breed vulnerable to extinction. Population numbers have increased slightly in the intervening time, but they are still thought to be vulnerable. As of 2010, there are estimated to be around 5,000 Clydesdales worldwide, with around 4,000 in the US and Canada, 800 in the UK and the rest in other countries, including Russia, Japan, Germany and South Africa