The British Percheron Horse is essentially a heavy draught horse possessing great muscular development combined with style and activity. It should possess ample bone of good quality, and give a general impression of balance and power.
Grey or black, with a minimum of white. No other colour is eligible for entry in the Stud Book. Skin and coat should be of fine quality. Colour will tend to lighten in older horses.
Stallions must not be less than 16 hands 2 inches in height at the age of two. Mares should not be less than 16 hands 1 inch. Width and depth must not be sacrificed to height at maturity.
Wide across the eyes, which should be full and docile; ears medium in size and erect; deep cheek, curved on lower side, not long from eye to nose; intelligent expression.
Strong neck, not short, full arched crest in case of Stallions; wide chest, deep well-laid shoulders; back strong and short; rib wide and deep, deep at flank; hind quarters of exceptional width and long from hips to tail, avoiding any suggestion of goose rump.
Strong legs and full second thighs, big knees and broad hocks; heavy flat bone, short cannons, pasterns of medium length, feet of reasonable size, of good quality hard blue horn. Limbs as clean and free from hair as possible.
Typical of the breed; straight, bold, with a long free stride rather than short snappy action. Hocks well flexed and kept close.
Stallions – 18 to 20 cwts.
Mares – 16 to 18 cwts.
One of the most docile and good-natured of any breed, yet in no way showing any sign of sluggishness or dullness. In stables, or out in the dense town traffic, nothing appears to upset them. This placid nature makes it possible to switch from the environment of the farm to that of the busy town, with the minimum of risk or delay, an often-troublesome period with some other breeds.
Owing to the almost lack of feather and the type of skin, the Percheron can be adequately cared for by the less experienced men we must accept today, with much less risk of galls, itchy legs and poor coats, than would be the case with many other breeds. Their docile nature makes them extremely good to handle.
The hoof of the Percheron is of good hard blue horn and very little foot trouble is experienced. The legs too have plenty of good quality bone and despite the body weight usually maintained, stands up very well indeed to the hard roads and permanently studded shoes.
As a worker they are willing and genuine almost without exception, and capable of working good loads continuously without undue strain. A pair will take up to 2 tons net load (almost 4 tons gross) on the old type of dray with iron tyres, or even a little more on the modern rubber tyred type, averaging 2 loads a day up to 5 miles radius and still maintain good condition. The ability to do his work and maintain condition is, it is thought, due to two inherent factors; firstly a very strong constitution and secondly their temperament, which denotes an almost lack of nervous tension.