Percheron Horse Breed Information, History, Size, & lifespan


The Percheron Horse is a horse breed developed in the Huisne river valley in France, which was previously known as Perche. Originally bred as a warhorse, the Percheron is known for its strength, intelligence, and work ethic, which makes it a historically popular breed.

Percherons horse are bred primarily in the United States, France, and Great Britain for draft work and as show horses, and are bred for food in France. Like many draft horses, Percherons suffered a steep population decline after WWII, but have since rebounded. More than 2,500 were registered just in the United States as recently as 2009.

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Is the Percheron Horse the Right Breed for You?
  • Suitable for Novice Owners: As a cold-blooded equine, like their European ancestors, they have a gentle disposition and tend to be larger than their hot-blooded and warm-blooded peers. Their easygoing demeanor makes them great for children. Typically they are meant to perform heavy work and are not suitable for sports besides hauling or pulling competitions at farm shows.
  • Generally Healthy: This breed is perceived as a generally healthy breed. With one known breed-specific health issues, owners have to watch out for “scratches” or pod dermatitis.
  • Multi-Talented: The Percheron is capable of performing various tasks very well. The most common ones are
    • dressage
    • endurance riding
    • general riding
    • jumping
    • racing
    • work

    . With a diverse set of abilities, this breed can accommodate the various needs of horse owners.

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Percheron Horse Breed Information


Origin France
Year Developed
17th century
Ancestor(s) Arabian; Spanish
Breed Development Percheron ancestry is largely unknown, but experts attribute much of its physical characteristics to the climate and terrain of the Perche province.
Blooded Horse Type
Horses from France



The Percheron has 5 common coat colors, which represent a more diverse set than other horse breeds.

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Percherons Horse History

Percherons Horse gets their name from the former province of Perche, part of what is now the Huisne River Valley. Although the origin of the breed is unknown, the Percheron is likely the combination of various breeds brought to the region by numerous wars and local stock.

Used by mounted knights of France, Percherons were later bred with imported Arabians as cavalry horses and exported from France all over the world. The first Percheron reached the United States in 1839, and nearly a century later made of over 70 percent of the country’s draft horse population.

After WWII, the Percheron and most other breeds of draft horse suffered drastic population declines as farming became more mechanized and was given “critical” status by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Today the breed is listed as a “recovering” species by the ALBC.

Percheron Horse Size and Life Expectancy

Height -: 19 hands
Weight -: 2,250 lbs
Life Expectancy-: 25 years
Height: The height for this breed is 19 hands. This approximates to 76 inches to the withers of the horse. The average height for horse breeds is 15.0 hands or 60 inches. Therefore, the Percheron is taller than most horse breeds.

Weight: The Percheron weighs 2,250 lbs, which is 1225 pounds heavier than the average horse breed.

Life: Most horse breeds tend to live between 25 and 30 years. Not surprisingly, the Percheron has a life expectancy in line with other horses.


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