Breed Information

From about the 14th century, thoroughbreds were bred in the area which is today England. The breeding technique applied here highly benefited from the support of the reigning monarchs, who strictly determined the resultant breed and who excluded small horses from breeding. The entries in today’s stud book date back to the first official shire horse stallion called Balze, which was born in 1770.

The sudden industrial revolution entailed a high demand in work horses. In the 19th century, the breed slowly declined due to the rise of trains and steam engines.

In about 1850, local breeding in Scotland induced a split that resulted in the Clydesdales.

After the Second World War the shire horses became almost extinct. Only thanks to a few English breeders who were pronouncedly tradition-minded and above all thanks to the commitment of English breweries, which did not want to give up their representative horses, did the new development of breeding begin in the 1960s. It prevails to this day.

The entire global breed is being managed by the Shire Horses Society in England and in cooperation with its subsidiaries in many countries the world over. It is particularly impressive to see how on the annual Shire Horse Spring Show in Peterborough and on the numerous country-shows all over the country English breeders enthusiastically and proudly demonstrate their devotion to breeding and preserving this tradition in English culture.