Percheron Breed Description
|Height||15.2 to 17 hands high.|
|Weight||Percherons can be 1540 to 1985 pounds (700 to 900 kg), and the average is 1750 pounds (800 kg).|
|Colour||Percherons are gray or black, with a fine coat.|
|Head and Neck||The head is fine, with a broad, square forehead. The profile is straight. The ears are long and fine. The eyes are prominent and alert. The flat nose exhibits wide, open nostrils. The neck is long and arched, with a thick mane.|
|Shoulders||The shoulders are sloping, and the withers are prominent.|
|Body||The chest is broad and deep, with a prominent sternum. The back is straight and short. There is a lot of depth through the girth, and the ribs are well-sprung. The hindquarters are powerful, sloped and unusually long for a draft breed.|
|Hindquarters||The hindquarters are superbly muscular. Sometimes there is a flattening at the croup.|
|Limbs||The legs are clean and sound. The forearms are powerful and prominent. The thighs are muscular and clean. The knees and hocks are large. The fetlock joints are small and strong. The hoofs are good and strong, made up of hard, blue horn and of medium size. There is as little feather as possible.|
Percheron Breed History
The Percheron is a magnificent specimen of horse, and it originated in an area of France called Le Perche. The breed developed from the local heavy Flemish horses and the Oriental horses left by the Moors after their defeat in 732 A.D. More infusions of Oriental blood were made when the French Crusaders returned from the first crusade in 1099, bringing with them Arabian horses. In the 18th century, the Royal Stud at Le Pin made Arabian stallions available to breeders of Percheron horses in an effort to improve the breed.
The Percheron possesses courage, strength, good and sound limbs, and longevity. The breed has served as a carriage and farm horse. It has also been used as a war horse, and an artillery horse. From 1880 to 1920, the Percheron enjoyed world-wide renown. It was exported to North America, South America, and Britain and was used as a working horse, and as a genetic influence on other heavy breeds. By the end of the 1800s, breeders were more interested in a heavy draft horse than a carriage horse, and so the Percheron evolved into a larger, heavyweight animal.
Despite their great size, Percherons are active, showy and easy movers. Their stride is not as choppy as that of other heavy horses. Its action is stylish, long, free and comparatively low.