Clydesdale Horse

A Clydesdale is a large, strong horse with a broad forehead, a friendly face, and alert eyes. It is similar to the appearance of the Shire Horse. It’s a bit smaller though. The white, often large markings on the head and legs, including the hangings on the kettles, distinguish this breed.

Breed Characteristics and Appearance

Clydesdale – what kind of breed is it?

The Clydesdale is a cold-blooded horse.

What is special about Clydesdale?

Despite the size and weight, it has very impressive and elegant movements. It is agile and a real power pack.

How big is a Clydesdale?

This breed of horse can reach heights between 1.63 and 1.93 m.

What is the life expectancy of a Clydesdale?

A Clydesdale can easily live to be 25 years and older. However, this depends on factors such as the keeping, feeding, and the state of health of the horse.

Which coat colors are there in Clydesdale?

Most of the horses of this breed are bay, but there are also roan and black horses. They have white markings on both their heads and legs.

Traits of Temperament

Are Clydesdale also suitable for beginners?

Even if this breed has very friendly and gentle traits and is people-oriented, it can also have energetic moments. It is characterized by its high willingness to work and its temperament. This breed of horse can be a little too agile for an insecure beginner. We, therefore, recommend that you contact an experienced riding instructor if you are interested.

What are the behavioral and essential characteristics of a Clydesdale?

The breed is spirited yet lovable and friendly at the same time. The strong will to work and the people-oriented nature promise a lot of joy with this breed.

Origin & History

Where did Clydesdale originally come from?

The Clydesdale is a real Scot. This breed has its origin in the south of Scotland, where the River Clyde lies – the namesake of these horses.

What were Clydesdale bred for?

This breed of horse was bred in Scotland to do the heavy lifting. They were mainly used as draft and workhorses. They were later exported to other parts of England and other countries. In 1877 the breeding association, Clydesdale Horse Society, was established.

Care, Health, Diseases

What should you watch out for when caring for Clydesdale?

As with all other horses with hangings on their fetters, you should also give special attention to the latter with this breed. Because here too, of course, scum can occur. Otherwise, the care of fur, mane, and tail is just as much a part of it, as is regular visits to the vet and the farrier.

Are there diseases or hereditary diseases typical of the breed in Clydesdale?

Since Clydesdale is a large and heavy horse, musculoskeletal problems can arise quickly. It is therefore important to pay attention to the keeping and feeding of these horses. Due to the fetlock hangings, malignancies can also spread if they are not properly cared for.


What should you watch out for in terms of feeding times and the amount of feed?

These horses are among those working animals that would like to be challenged and encouraged. Just lingering on the paddock or the pasture means sheer boredom for them. The feeding should be adapted to the respective husbandry. If there is not so much work, the breed does not need concentrated feed. With regular and hard work, a small amount is enough. High-quality hay, straw, a meadow that is not too protein-rich, and a balanced addition of mineral feed should be on the feed plan instead.

How often should Clydesdale be fed?

The feed should be given throughout the day so that the horse’s stomach does not have to idle for too long. Once the grazing season has started, you should pay attention to the slow grazing and avoid exposing your Clydesdale to high-protein pastures. This means that in this transition period, feeding additional hay and straw is part of it.

Activities with the Clydesdale

What sports are suitable for Clydesdale?

The breed was bred for work and continues to seek employment today. It doesn’t matter whether you want to ride a horse-drawn carriage at a sporting level or just want to ride comfortably through the forest – it doesn’t matter. Clydesdale is happy to be there. But you can also work out various tricks and circus lessons with him.

How much exercise does Clydesdale need?

These horses belong to the class of workhorses, even if today they are increasingly used as riding horses or show horses and not always as pure draft horses. In spite of all this, you need a lot of activity and exercise. Doing nothing and standing in the pasture is boring for this breed of horse. If you want to buy such a horse, be aware of its urge to move and work.

Consideration before Purchasing

Where can you buy Clydesdale?

You can buy a horse of this breed from many breeders, including here in Germany. Think about beforehand what kind of animal you would like to have, whether it is a foal, yearling, or rather an adult horse. You can also buy a horse that is offered by a private individual. However, you should pay particular attention to possible diseases.

Where can you find a riding stake for a Clydesdale?

If you are looking for riding participation for your Clydesdale, take your time to look around. You will also find lovers for your horse who would like to work with him and who are aware of how to deal with a large, heavy horse.

Upbringing and Attitude

Is a Clydesdale right for me?

If you are a fan of draft horses, you will also love the Clydesdale: large and imposing, at the same time expressive with elegant movements. This breed loves to be kept busy and shows great dedication to work. It is very people-oriented and friendly, but it can also be a power pack.

How do I hold a Clydesdale?

Like other horses, the breed needs contact with fellow horses, a dry shelter or box that is sheltered from the weather, feeding adapted to its needs, and, of course, sufficient activity and exercise. If you keep your horse in an open stable, make sure it is stable and dry. Because your horse shouldn’t sink into the mud through the curtain.

How much space does Clydesdale need?

Like other cold-blooded animals, it needs a lot of space, whether in the box or in the open stable. There should be enough space. Likewise, the paddock and the pasture areas should be able to allow Clydesdale the necessary movement.

How do I transport a Clydesdale?

A Clydesdale cannot be transported easily. For this, you need a suitable trailer that is spacious and stable. Likewise, a towing vehicle is required that can and is allowed to pull such heavy loads, i.e. the weight of the horse and the heavy trailer.

Interesting, Worth Knowing, and Extras

Clydesdale in film and television

Did you know that in America this breed of horse can be seen in TV commercials? There this breed is used as a draft horse for the Anheuser-Busch brewery wagons with the Budweiser beer brand.

Why are Clydesdales so popular?

Just through its coat of paint and the beautiful hangings on the fetters, this breed makes an imposing and very beautiful impression. This breed is particularly popular in front of the carriage. It is also very popular with recreational riders because of its willingness to work, its temperament, and its friendly manner. This breed wants to work and be promoted.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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