Clydesdale horse, breed of draft horse developed in Scotland. It closely resembles the Shire horse, although it is not as heavy. The Clydesdale is characterized by its graceful, springy step. Initially imported by the United States from Canada, the breed became widely popular owing to its good disposition. It was particularly favored by merchants, who used it to spectacular advantage in the transportation of commercial goods. It is still retained today by horse buffs and private patrons. It averages about 16 hands (64 in./160 cm) high, weighs around 1,800 lb (800 kg), and is characteristically colored rich brown or bay. It has white markings on the face and on the legs, which have luxurious feathering around the fetlocks.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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