Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Clydesdale (Clyde)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Clydesdale is a Scottish draft horse breed, named after the Clyde Valley where it was created (an area known today as Lanarkshire). Clydesdales are known for their appearance, which is similar to that of the Shire horse, as well as for the distinct white sabino markings they have on their legs and bellies.

The Clydesdale was created in the beginning of the 18th century, when large Flemish stallions, which were imported to Scotland, were crossed with the local Lanarkshire mares. The result was a larger and stronger horse, which was capable of working in agriculture, hauling coal, and pulling carriages. Because of the breed's success, Clydesdale horses were imported to nearby England and, in the 19th century, to the USA as well.

During the second half of the 20th century, when mechanizations replaced the usage of draft horses, the numbers of Clydesdale horses dwindled dramatically, and the breed became rare. However, as years passed by, the breed regained its popularity, this time as a horse for recreational riding, for ploughing and pulling contests, and for pulling beer wagons, the latter being their most famous form of usage, especially in the USA where the Anheuser Clydesdales are located.

Clydesdale horses are similar in appearance to Shire horses, though there are some differences between the two breeds. One difference is that Clydesdales have a straight to slightly convex profile, while Shires have a convex profile. In addition, Clydesdales are shorter on average than Shires. Furthermore, Clydesdales can have excessive sabino patterns, unlike Shires. Finally, Clydesdales are expected to be slightly cow-hocked, while Shires are not.

Ever since they were created, Clydesdale horses were meant to work in teams. Therefore, breeding programs focused on breeding Clydesdales with similar appearance, both in terms of colors and markings. Clydesdales mostly come in the colors of bay or brown, with black and grey found to a lesser extent. Chestnut color also exists in this breed but is extremely rare. Some Clydesdales appear to be roan, but are probably polygenic sabinos. Clydesdale horses stand between 16.1hh and 18hh.


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