Famous British Breeds: The Clydesdale Horse

December 12, 2019
It is said that a love of animals makes us better as a society. Learning about the animals that surround us only makes us love them more. So today, we want to tell you about one of the most famous British breeds in the world: the Clydesdale horse.

Getting to know some of the different breeds of horses can be a great way to help bring you closer to these fascinating animals, especially if you live in a city and aren’t used to seeing them on a regular basis. Today, we want to tell you about one of the most majestic breeds in the world: the Clydesdale horse.

Everything you need to know about the Clydesdale horse


Discovering the origins of a specific breed can help us understand a lot about their behavior and physical characteristics. But where exactly does the Clydesdale come from?

This breed comes from the Clyde Valley in Scotland, which is where it gets its name. Today, they are one of the most famous British draft horses. Although they were originally a cross between native British mares and Flemish stallions, they were later also bred with Shire horses.

In the mid-18th Century, workers carried out repairs on the railway lines leading to the Clyde Valley coal mines. This required special machinery, which was too heavy for the native horses to pull.

As a result, Scotland began to import Flemish horses, which were renowned for their strength and endurance. Breeders later crossed them with native mares, giving rise to the Clydesdale. Strong and majestic, they were ideal for work on the railway lines.

A Clydesdale horse.

While this is the most commonly accepted theory on the origins of the Clydesdale horse, there are others. For example, some believe that they’re descendants of another, similar breed. However, the idea that they’re descended from Flemish horses is by far the most popular.

Physical characteristics

Strong and athletic, the Clydesdale is a member of the draft horse family. However, they’ve retained that air of distinction and elegance that characterizes British breeds.

Measuring 6ft in height, these horses have an imposing presence. Though they aren’t overly muscular in appearance, they have extremely powerful limbs. While the lower half of their legs is white in color, typical coat colors include bay, chestnut, white, brown, black, and roan.


Draft horses require a laid-back, docile temperament, as they are often exposed to high-pressure situations, both physically and mentally. These are the traits that define the Clydesdale horse. They’re also famous for their good nature, bravery, and a great willingness to work.

What an excellent horse do they lose, for want of address and boldness to manage him!

– Alexander the Great

Clydesdales are born draft horses, completing their work good-naturedly. They always give their all, and do so without expecting praise or rewards. To that, you can also add a great sense of loyalty and faithfulness toward their owners.

The Clydesdale horse: health

The Clydesdale’s great strength and power is not only useful for its day-to-day work, but also makes it a healthy and hardy animal. They don’t get ill easily, and often live longer than other breeds.

Breed-specific traits

Strong but elegant, powerful but humble, long-lived but healthy, the Clydesdale horse is a really special breed. Another notable trait of the Clydesdale is that they’re champion draft horses, setting a world record in 1893 when two stallions hauled 128 tons of timber.

As you can see, nature never fails to surprise us. The more we find out about the animals of the world, the more awe-inspiring our planet becomes. The Clydesdale horse is no exception.