Unleash the Beast: Clydesdale vs. Regular Horse

Clydesdale vs. Regular Horses: Discover the Distinct Differences and Choose the Right Breed. Explore the unique characteristics, temperament, usage, and health of Clydesdale and regular horses in this comprehensive comparison guide. Find out which horse breed suits your needs and preferences. Plus, get answers to FAQs about these magnificent equines.

Unleash the Beast: Clydesdale vs. Regular Horse


Today, I want to take you on a marvelous journey; a trip inspired by the noble steed that has served mankind loyally for centuries: the horse. Our focus will be on understanding the uniqueness of two specific horse types - the mighty Clydesdale and what we commonly call the 'regular' horse. The adventure promises to be packed full of intriguing details and fascinating facts. So, let's saddle up and dig into this treasure of knowledge!

Background Information

Clydesdale Horses:

These giants trace their lineage back to the charming, green valleys of Clyde in Scotland. Back in the 18th century, a desire to create a muscular, robust horse perfect for heavy-duty tasks led to the birth of this breed. An average Clydesdale tower is tall, standing between 16 to 18 hands high and tipping the scale at 1800 to 2300 pounds. Their sizeable and iconic feathered lower legs, coupled with their inviting bay or chestnut coats marked by eye-catching white accents, distinguish them in any crowd.

Regular Horses:

In contrast, when we use the term 'regular' horses, it refers to a multiplicity of breeds. Each breed demonstrates unique attributes that make them special. From serving as valuable companions to man throughout history to being highly versatile in their adaptations for racing, riding, and labor, regular horses have woven themselves intricately into the tapestry of human life.

Physical Characteristics

Clydesdale Horses:

Physically, the Clydesdale undeniably commands any space it occupies. Its imposing size and strength set it apart as a leviathan among horses. Feathering at their lower legs and their iconic bay or chestnut coats etch an unforgettable image in anyone's mind.

Regular Horses:

Regular horses, on the other hand, present a diverse palette of physical characteristics. Depending on the breed, size and color can range widely, but on a general scale, they tend to be smaller and carry less bulk than Clydesdales. Breeds such as the agile Thoroughbred, exotic Arabian, and multi-talented Quarter Horse play parts in this varied spectrum.

Related: All About Grulla Horses: Facts, Traits, Temperament & Behaviour

Temperament and Behavior

Clydesdale Horses:

Peeling back the layers, we reveal the temperament and behavior of our equine subjects. Clydesdales charm everyone with their amiable personality. Their cooperative, cool character makes them a delight around the farm or as a carriage horse. Many a horse lover has fallen for their kind nature.

Regular Horses:

In the case of regular horses, their temperament swings over a wide arc, changing from breed to breed. While the Thoroughbreds exhibit spirited energy—a trait that lends itself excellently to racing—the reliable Quarter Horses are often calm and collected, making excellent choices for a variety of equestrian disciplines.

Usage and Work

Clydesdale Horses:

Clydesdales have built their reputation on the tilled lands of farms and the hustle of industrial spaces. The beasts of burden they once were have now given away to roles that see them performing at shows and pulling carriages. They hold a special place in modern times, where farming has become more mechanized, yet still offers a role to these mighty workers.

Regular Horses:

The 'regular' horse, on the other hand, has proven itself to be a Jack of all trades—be it flying over obstacles in show-jumping, gliding in dressage, or simply providing company on trail rides. Some breeds have tuned their talents for the high-stakes world of racing, while others are happier working on a ranch herding cattle or providing companionship in therapy.

Health and Care

Clydesdale Horses:

When it comes to size, Clydesdales are in a league of their own. They are massive! With heights up to 18 hands and weights over a ton, they dwarf regular-sized horses. All that bulk does make them prone to issues like joint problems and obesity though. You have to be vigilant about their diet and exercise to keep a Clydesdale healthy. Regular checkups with the vet are a must too.

Regular Horses:

For regular horses, health needs depend a lot on the particular breed and what the horse is used for. In general, you want to stay on top of vaccines, dental care, hoof trimming, and nutrition. And don't forget about exercise! It keeps their body and mind in shape.

Popularity and Breeding

Clydesdale Horses:

Clydesdales definitely have star power. People go nuts over them at parades and shows. And there are special breeding programs focused on maintaining the purity of the breed.

Regular Horses:

Regular horses have strength in numbers and diversity. So many different types have been developed all around the world for different jobs. And breeders keep innovating and crossing lines. There's a regular horse for just about any need.


1. What's the difference between a horse and a Clydesdale?

When someone asks what makes a Clydesdale different from other horses, I explain that they are a specific breed known for their size and strength. All Clydesdales are horses, but not all horses are Clydesdales, just like how all Golden Retrievers are dogs but not all dogs are Golden Retrievers. Clydesdales have very typical physical traits like large hooves, arched necks, and luxurious leg feathers. Other horses come in all shapes and sizes for different jobs.

2. Are Clydesdales good riding horses?

Another common question is whether Clydesdales are good riding horses. Well, their sweet temperament and striking appearance make them appealing mounts. However, those same qualities that make them great for pulling wagons or plowing fields, like their towering height and muscular build, also make them less suited for activities like jumping or galloping. They definitely have the strength to carry riders, but their bulk makes them best matched to leisurely trail rides.

3. What breed of horse is bigger than a Clydesdale?

If Clydesdales aren't the biggest horses out there, then what breeds can beat these gentle giants in size? From my experience, Shire horses can rival Clydesdales in both height and weight. Percherons and Belgians are also big contenders, literally, when it comes to massive horse breeds. But there's no definitive winner; the largest individual horses can appear in various breeds.

4. Are Clydesdales the strongest horses?

Lastly, people want to know if Clydesdales are the strongest horses around. There's no doubt they are incredibly powerful and well-suited to pulling heavy loads. But other draft breeds like Belgian and Shire horses are also known for their mighty strength. When it comes to horses, the strongest one depends on its individual conditioning and the specific tasks it needs to perform. Though Clydesdales show impressive strength in competitions and on farms, I can't say they are the strongest across all situations.


To sum up, Clydesdales and regular horses illustrate the amazing variety in the horse world. Clydesdales are the gentle giants, treasured for their looks and laidback attitude. Regular horses come in all shapes and sizes, with finely tuned traits to match their roles. For companionship, work, or sport - horses can fit the bill. It comes down to choosing the right breed for your specific needs and wants. That special horse is out there waiting.

Additional Resources

For those eager to delve deeper into the world of Clydesdale horses and regular horses, numerous resources are available:

  1. Clydesdale Breeders of the USA
  2. The American Quarter Horse Association
  3. The Jockey Club (Thoroughbred Racing)

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