What Is A Percheron? All About The Breed

The Percheron is a majestic and strong horse native to France. This breed is known all over the world for its hardiness, strength, and kind temperament. There are many things that this breed succeeds in as well including pulling and riding, but what else can this breed do? How can one identify this breed?

What Is The Percheron Horse?

The Percheron is a coldblooded breed of horse found primarily in La Perche, France. This breed has lived in France for as long as anyone can remember and it is believed that the Percheron has been in that area since the Ice Age. The Percheron gets its name from the La Perche region and sadly, not much is known about the exact roots of the breed. Percherons are most commonly seen pulling carts, wagons, plows, and carriages, though some are beginning to be used for riding.

How Big Is The Percheron Horse?

The Percheron, like most other draft breeds, is a large and heavy horse. On average, this breed stands between 15.2 and 17 hands high and can weigh up to 2100 pounds!

Though the top weight of this breed falls at 2100 pounds, it is more common to see them weigh in at around 2000 pounds.

What Color Is The Percheron Horse?

This breed, unlike most breeds, is very seldom seen in bay or chestnut. The two most common colors for this breed include black and gray.

Percheron horses can be flea bitten gray or completely gray depending on their genetics. It is not uncommon to see one of these horses as a dapple gray.

A Percheron foal can be born as bay, black, or chestnut, but it is most likely that the bay ans chestnut foals would fade out into gray.

The History Of The Percheron

The Percheron breed, like many of the breeds around today, has vague and unclear origins, however, there are a few things that have been uncovered about this breed’s past.

The Percheron is a French breed that originated in the La Perche region of France. The breed eventually got its name from this region. Scientists and researchers have been able to uncover proof of there being a horse quite like the Percheron living in this region since the last Ice Age.

Sometime in the 700s AD, it is thought that Arabian blood was introduced into the breed. In the years after the first introduction, Arabian blood has continued to be mixed back into this bloodline. Because of the constant introduction and reintroduction of Arabian blood, this breed is of the most elegant draft breeds in the horse world.

In the late 1700s, the Le Pin stud in France imported several Arabian stallions to their facility to breed them with Percheron mares. One of the most influential Arabian stallions to cross with Percheron horses was the stallion named Gallipoly. This Arabian sired the famous Percheron stallion named Jean le Blanc.

How To Identify The Percheron Horse

The Percheron is a highly identifiable breed because of its general appearance. This breed can be identified by its:


The Percheron’s head is definitely a trait that they inherited from the Arabian. They have a slightly noticeable dish in their face as well as a fine muzzle, wide nostrils, and other delicate facial features. Also like the Arabian, the Percheron is very expressive and has bright intelligent eyes.


The neck of the Percheron is another way to identify this breed. Usually, the Percheron has a strong and heavy neck set on well sloped and strong shoulders. Though their neck may be thick and strong in appearance, it is also arched making it seem more elegant than another horse’s neck.


The average Percheron has short strong legs that are made up of very hard and straight bones. Unlike other coldblooded breeds, Percheron horses have clean legs with minimal feathering.


As I mentioned before, Percheron horses will only really come in gray and black. It is really rare to see a Percheron of another color. Sometimes, this breed will be white meaning they have pink skin rather than black. This isn’t rare to see in this breed.


Percheron horses are very heavy horses which is not uncommon to see in the coldblooded type, but they are, on average, shorter than other draft breeds. Some other draft breeds can get up to 20 hands high, but the Percheron stands just over 16 hands high on average.

What The Percheron Excels In


There are truly two types of Percheron horses. One that is bred heavier for labor, and one that is bred lighter for riding. The Percheron horses used for farm work are the heavier versions of the Percheron because they are needed for harder labor pulling plows, carts, and wagons.

Percheron horses make great farm horses as they are strong, willing, work great in teams, and have tremendous stamina.

Carriage Pulling

Heavier Percheron horses make excellent carriage horses. Their immense strength makes them one of the top choices of carriage horses around the world.

These horses are commonly used in parades and parks as well as cities for carriage horses.


Lighter bred Percheron horses are becoming more and more popular as riding horses both in and outside of France. Sometimes, Percheron horses are seen as mounted police horses as well. Typically the horses used for riding are the smaller horses found in this breed. The riding horses of this breed are around 16 hands high and weigh around 1,900 pounds as compared to the heavier work horses that stand up to 17 hands high ans weigh up to 2,100 pounds.

Percherons that are used to be ridden are most commonly ridden in the English style of riding for pleasure and aren’t often shown. Percheron horses aren’t often ridden in the western style, though some do excel in western sports.

How Long Do Percheron Horses Live?

The lifespan of the Percheron horse is a little less than that of an average horse. Typically, a Percheron might live to be between 25 and 30 years old as comparted ot the 33 years old of an average horse.

Percheron horses live longer than their cousin the Clydesdale as well as the Clydesdale is only expected to reach 20 to 25 years of age.

FAQs On Percheron Horses

Are Percheron horses expensive?

typically yes, Percheron horses are pretty expensive. This is because they are such highly demanded and difficult to find.

On average, a Percheron might cost between $5,000 and $15,000 depending on their age, training, and pedigree. Some Percherons may sell for more or less, this is just an average.

Are Percherons good with children?

Percheron horses are known to be gentle giants and are usually great with children, though this depends on the horse and their temperament and personality.

Hailey Sipila

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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