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Percheron Horses

A Rare Breed of European Origin

Percheron Horse. Lithograph circa 1880
Percheron Horse. Lithograph circa 1880

      The Percheron heavy horse, originally known as the Norman Percheron, is one of the best-known European horse breeds. It originated in the district of Perche, to the north and west of Normandy in France.

      The breed never achieved the popularity in England of the Clydesdale and Shire heavies, and although quite a number were imported into Britain – especially in the late 1800s – they were believed not to have the strength and stamina of the British breeds.

Pinzgauer bull (Owned and photographed by Murray AndersonAnderson)
Percherons recently imported into New Zealand by Carolyn McCree of Quayside Carriages   (Photo courtesy Carolyn McCree)

      However, the Percheron found favour in the United States as a heavy draught animal, but a good deal of its popularity there is believed to have been due to its predominant grey colour.

      The Percheron is more like the Suffolk than other British heavy breeds, especially in the lack of feathering on its heels.

      Towards the end of the nineteenth century large numbers of Percherons were exported to a wide range of countries throughout the world, but only a few were brought into New Zealand.

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