18 Tall Horse Breeds That Stand Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

There are some truly majestic horse breeds out there, but we think those that are especially large are even more impressive. If you’ve ever wondered which are the tallest horses of them all, you’ve come to the right place. This list reveals 18 of the tallest horse breeds that stand head and shoulders above the rest.


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The Shire is a classic horse breed that first originated in England. This beautiful beast is famous for being the tallest horse in the world, reaching incredible heights of up to 2.19 meters, or 21.25 hands. Its huge size and strength make it commonly used for pulling heavy loads.


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We’re staying in the UK for our next entry. The Clydesdale is native to Scotland, especially Lanarkshire, and is frequently used in commercials and parades. This stunning steed is famous for both its huge size and distinctive white feathering around its hooves. They typically reach heights of 16 to 18 hands.


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The Percheron is a breed from the Huisne river valley in France. These horses are known for their strong work ethic and exceptional intelligence, as well as their impressive size and stature. Percherons typically measure up to 19 hands tall and are usually used for farm and hauling work.

Belgian Draft

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As the name suggests, the Belgian Draft is native to Belgium and is a popular choice for heavy draft and farm work. They are known for their incredible strength, stamina, and size, with most of them measuring around 16 to 17 hands tall. Despite their huge size, Belgian Drafts are surprisingly relaxed and docile.

Dutch Draft

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The Dutch Draft originates from the Netherlands and is especially common in Groningen and Zeeland. It is famous for being one of the heaviest draft breeds and usually reaches heights of around 16 hands. Like the Belgian Draft, despite being incredibly strong and large, the Dutch Draft is very calm in nature.

Suffolk Punch

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The Suffolk Punch is known to be Great Britain’s oldest native horse breed. According to the Suffolk Horse Society, these beautiful horses originated in the 16th century or potentially even earlier. They’re also one of the UK’s tallest breeds, measuring about 16 to 17 hands tall.


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The Oldenburg is named after the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg in Germany, where the breed first originated. It is famous for its agility, versatility, and strong athletic ability, as well as its impressive size. Oldenburgs typically measure around 16 to 17 hands tall.

American Cream Draft

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According to The Livestock Conservancy, the American Cream Draft is the only draft horse breed that originated in the United States. But these guys give Americans a lot to be proud of, with a beautiful distinctive cream color, amber eyes, and a calm demeanor. American Cream Drafts are also impressively tall at around 16 to 16.3 hands.

Australian Draught

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As the name suggests, the Australian Draught was developed in Australia for carrying heavy loads and helping with farm work. These majestic horses are incredibly resilient, strong, and hardy, making them a perfect fit for the job. Their height typically ranges from 16 to 17.2 hands.

Russian Heavy Draft

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The Russian Heavy Draft originated in Russia and is known for its speed, strong, muscular build, and amiable nature. They’re typically used for farm work, and they are known to reach heights of up to 16 hands.


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According to Oklahoma State University, the Ardennes is one of the oldest European draft breeds in the world. These hardy horses originated from the Ardennes area, located between France, Luxembourg, and Belgium, and are famously good at navigating difficult terrain. Most Ardennes measure about 15 to 16 hands tall.

North Swedish Horse

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The North Swedish Horse is commonly used as both a riding and a draft horse, but it is also used in harness racing, agriculture, and forestry. Originating in Sweden, these beautiful creatures are famous for their good health, stamina, and versatility. Most measure between 15.1 and 15.3 hands.

Italian Heavy Draft

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The Italian Heavy Draft, also called the “Cavallo Agricolo Italiano da Tiro Pesante Rapido” in its home country, is famously strong, fast, and agile. Standing at 15 to 17 hands tall, Italian Heavy Drafts are renowned for their fast trotting and usefulness in agricultural work. 


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The Breton first originated in Brittany, France, and is famous for its versatility and muscular build, which makes it a popular choice for harness competitions and agricultural work. They typically stand at around 15 to 16 hands tall.


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The Jutland is a beautiful breed that usually measures about 15 to 16 hands in height. Originating from the Jutland peninsula in Denmark, this horse is known for its strength, calm nature, and majestic presence. It is often used in ceremonial roles and beer wagons.

Polish Draft

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The Polish Draft, also called the Polish Heavy Draft, is renowned for its strength and resilience in even some of the harshest working conditions. They’re typically used for agricultural roles and forestry work. Like other draft breeds, they usually stand around 15 to 16 hands high.

South German Coldblood

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The South German Coldblood boasts impressive pulling power and a calm, steady disposition. As you’d expect, they originate from southern Germany, where they are regularly used for agricultural work and heavy drafts. These powerhouses usually stand at about 15 to 16 hands tall.

Hungarian Draft

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The Hungarian Draft, known locally as the magyar hidegvérű, was bred in Hungary for farm work. They are renowned for their calm dispositions, strength, and endurance and usually measure around 15.2 to 16 hands high.

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