Copyright The Columbia University PressThe Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press
Shire horse, a breed of draft horse native to central England. It is equal in weight to the Belgian horse and is usually slightly taller. Widely used as a war horse during the Middle Ages, it was well adapted to carry the excessive weight of armor worn by both horse and rider. The Shire was introduced to the United States in the late 1800s, but was never as popular as the Clydesdale or Percheron. It is similar in appearance to the former, with feathery fetlocks. It stands 17 hands (68 in./170 cm) high and normally exceeds 2,000 lb (900 kg).
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