Top 9 British Horse Breeds You Should Learn About

Great Britain is one of those countries where you are going to find a lot of different horse breeds. Most of these horses are found in various other parts of the world but there are some which are only found in the UK. In this article, we are going to cover some of the most common types of horse breeds you can find in Great Britain. Here they are.


This is a kind of horse you can choose to keep as pets or use in horse racing. Its multipurpose usability makes it an interesting breed. However, because it is a hot-blooded animal, it is preferably used for horse racing more than companion animals.

Height: 15.2 to 17 hands

Weight: 800 – 1000 pounds

Cleveland Bay

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Originating from Yorkshire, England, this is a muscular horse. It is known for being the oldest established breed of English horse. It is quite rare to be found today. 

Height: 16 hands to 16.2 hands

Weight: 1400 – 1500 pounds


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Originating from the North of Scotland, the Shetland is a wonderful horse breed. It is one of the most loved animals ever. Its popularity grew profound because of Queen Victoria’s fondness for this animal.

Height: 7 hands to 11.5 hands

Weight: 400 to 450 pounds


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Eriskay is a pony breed hailing from the Western Isle in Scotland. This grey-colored ancient breed is one of the rarest horses you can find today. 

Height: 11 hands to 13 hands

Weight: 700 to 800 pounds


The Hackney is mostly known as a breed of carriage horses. There elegant high steps make them a good carriage horse. 

Height: 14.2 hands to 16.2 hands

Weight: 900 to 1,000 pounds

Suffolk Punch

Suffolk Punch

This draught horse breed gets its name from the county of Suffolk in East Anglia. It is one of the strongest horse breeds in England. It was developed in the 16th century and rose to popularity in the 20th century.

Height: 16.1 – 17.2 hands

Weight: 1980 to 2200 pounds


One of the most popular ponies in England, Exmoor is believed to be consistently pure-bred. The breed was close to extinction during the Second World War. But, with efforts from the local breeders, it grew in number over the years.

Height: 11.3 to 12.3 hands

Weight: 700-800 pounds

New Forest


The New Forest breed is an ancient horse breed native to the British Isles. There have been references of this breed sharing its ancestry with the Celtic-type Asturcón and Pottok ponies which were very ancient horses.

Height: 11.5 to 12 hands

Weight: 600 – 700 pounds

That was the list of the most popular British horse breeds you can find today. There are a lot of other horse breeds in Britain that are not yet popular. Keep visiting our website for more information on horse breeds from Britain and all there places around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions about British Horse Breeds

What is the most common breed of horse in the UK?

The most popular breed of horse in the UK is nowadays the Thoroughbred (13.7% of horses), coming from a tradition with direct links to Edward III, King of England, who developed a breed called the ‘Great Horse’ that later became what we call today the Modern Thoroughbred racehorse. Although there are more than 3,000 breeds around the world, only 15 breeds account for 85% of all horses sold worldwide: Arabian (almost 10%), Clydesdale (6%), Tennessee Walking Horse (5%), and Shire (4%). The other breeds are Quarter Horse or Paint Horses at less than 1%.

What horses are native to England?

British Spotted Pony, Cleveland Bay, Dales pony, Dartmoor pony, Exmoor pony, Fell pony, Hackney horse, Hackney pony, Lundy pony, New Forest pony, Norfolk Trotter, Old English Black, hire a horse, Suffolk Punch, Thoroughbred, Welara are horses native to England.

What are the best horses for English riding?

Clydesdale, Percheron, The American Paint Horse, Morgan are the 4 best horses for English riding.

How much did a horse cost in the 1800s in England?

The average cost of a horse in the 1800s ranged from $10-$15, and saddles were around $20-$50.

Are horses native to Scotland?

The Highland Pony is the ancient, proud breed of horse that can still be found roaming in many remote regions of Scotland.

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