Equus caballus ShireHorses forweb1


  • Equidae

Common Names

  • Shire Horse


  • Captivity: 25-30 years
  • Highest recorded: 61 years


  • Height at shoulder: Average 5.7 feet


  • The Shire horse breed originates in England


  • In the wild: Wild grasses
  • At the zoo: Timothy/alfalfa hay daily with grain, treats, and fresh produce as enrichment or reward.

Special adaptations

  • Draught horses are known for their potential as beasts of burden.

Interesting facts

  • Shire horses were a highly used horse throughout Europe up until World War I and II. After these wars improvements in mechanization caused demand for these horses to drop, a population of 550,000 in 1939 to a population of around 5000 in 1972, near extinction.
  • They boast a proud heritage in the middle ages. The “Great War Horses” these horses are descended from are said to be those that Roman armies of antiquity and English heavily armored knights of the middle ages rode into battle. These knights in full plate armor often weighed in excess of 400lbs!

Conservation status

  • CITES –Appendix I
  • IUCN –Not Evaluated


  1. Appendices I, II, and III of CITES. (February 5, 2015) Accessed January 2016. http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php
  2. Cotebrook and Country Park Shire Horse Centre. Shire Horse History. Accessed March 31, 2016.http://www.cotebrookshirehorses.co.uk/p/207/Shire_Horse_History
  3. Encyclopedia of Life. Horses. Accessed Feb 2016. http://www.eol.org/pages/328648/details
  4. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (2015) Accessed January 2016. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search
  5. Oklahoma State University, Breeds of Livestock – Shire Horses. Accessed March 31, 2016.http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/horses/shire/

**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.