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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Percheron: Facts You Won't Believe!

Discover interesting Percheron facts for kids here.

From the Perche province of France, the Percheron (Equus ferus caballus) belongs to the mammal class and the horse family. They are a horse breed of draft horses, that are also known as a draught horse and are best known for their muscular, large, strong body structure, and also for their intelligence, and ability to do intense physical work. Apart from this, the Percheron breed is also famous for its calm temperament and smartness. French draft breeds of the Percheron horse are among the most famous horse breeds in the world. Other animals such as donkeys and zebras come from the same family.

Percheron horses are primarily found in two colors (gray and black) and they are of two types, heavy draft and light draft. This horse breed is usually found on farms, in fields and grasslands, and is friendly in nature. They are well adapted to live around people. Percherons can be found in several European countries such as France and Great Britain, but they can also be found in the United States and in Australia. The chestnut and black Percheron horse is generally found in the US, while you are more likely to spot a gray Percheron horse in Great Britain.

Keep on reading to learn more interesting things about Percherons, and if you want to know more exciting information about different animals, check out our guides to deer and reindeer.

Percheron Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Percheron?

The Percheron is a large-sized horse, primarily a breed of the draft horse. Percheron horses are herbivores and are best known for their role as warhorses. Percherons originated in France, and today these horses are generally used for farm work, and can be found in two colors: gray and black.

What class of animal does a Percheron belong to?

Percheron horses belong to the Mammal class of animals.

How many Percherons are there in the world?

In France, where the Percheron horse originated, the number of French Percherons is quite low when we compare it to the United States. In the United States, there were more than 1050 Percheron horses during the last decade of the 20th century, while the number of Percherons rose to 2500 in 2009. The number of Percheron horses found in France was around only 800 during the same year.

Where does a Percheron live?

Percheron horses can easily be found in several European countries, primarily in France. The horse breed has also spread to different parts of the world such as the United States, Great Britain, and Australia.

What is a Percheron's habitat?

There is no specific Percheron habitat in the wild as they dwell in human-made habitats. You can find the Percheron horse breed in fields, pasturelands, and paddocks as they are very involved in farm activities today.

Who do Percherons live with?

They are basically domesticated animals as most Percheron horses live on farms or in stables with humans. For mating, male and female Percherons come together.

How long does a Percheron live?

The average lifespan of a Percheron is between 30 to 40 years while the average lifespan of other horses is 18 to 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction of almost all draft horses is controlled by breeders today and Percherons are widely used as a heavy draft so their reproduction is no different. The breeding of Percherons is controlled in the same as other draft breeds. A Percheron stallion is chosen by breeders to breed with a female Percheron to produce strong Percheron babies. Females go through a gestation period of around 11 months after breeding, and most of the time, a female Percheron gives birth to the single mule. The Percheron mule is also known as a foal. A foal takes around five to six months to detach from its mother and adapt to a proper Percheron diet. This period is known as weaning.

What is their conservation status?

Ever since their origin in the Perche province, Percherons have been one of the finest draft horses, and until the mid 20th century they were primarily used as war horses. After the Second World War, their number fell drastically, but thanks to several acts in countries like France and the United States, their numbers have been improving recently. As of 2013, the population of Percherons is one of the highest among all the draft breeds. Thus, the conservation status of Percherons comes under the category of Least Concern.

Percheron Fun Facts

What do Percherons look like?

People generally think Percherons horses are only found in two colors (gray and black), but in countries such as the United States, a wide range of chestnut color Percherons can also be found. The breed is best known for its muscular and large body. They have small ears and large eyes, and their legs and tails are very strong. Also, when seen in natural sunlight, their body looks brighter and shinier. Most Percherons have hair on their heads and many people think that the chestnut brown Percheron horse with its pale brown color looks the most attractive. Contrary to the common misconception, Percherons do not have feathers.

These rare Percheron facts might make you love them.

How cute are they?

Percherons are large in size, but horses of this breed are still very beautiful and cute. Their shiny coats with beautiful colors are certainly beautiful. Percherons are also very friendly in nature and are one of the most graceful animals on this planet. Domesticated Percherons also love to be around humans, making them even cuter! Have you ever been lucky enough to see a Percheron horse?

How do they communicate?

This draft horse, like many other animals, tries to communicate through its body language. Through body movements, facial expressions, and different sounds Percherons try to express their feelings to each other and to humans. It is also scientifically proven that horses are able to understand the feelings of humans and can try to understand what we are trying to convey to them.

How big is a Percheron?

This draft horse is one of the biggest among all draft breeds at 61-73 in (155-185 cm) tall. In terms of height, Percherons are almost two times the height of a miniature horse and in terms of weight, French Percherons are three times the weight of a zebra. Whilst Percherons are very big horses, they are not the largest. In fact, Shires (a British breed) is often understood to be the largest horse breed. They belong to the family of draught horses and have held the positions of both the tallest and the heaviest horse breed.

How fast can a Percheron move?

The Percheron draft horse is one of the fastest breeds of horses, as well as being immensely strong. Percherons can run up to 50 mph (80 kph) and have an average speed of between 9-12 mph (15-20 kph). Stallions found in the Arabian region are the fastest among all horses.

How much does a Percheron weigh?

Almost every Percheron of this breed is large in size and is very strong but the weight of Percherons varies from place to place. For example, the French breed weighs around 1100-2600 lb (500-1200 kg) whereas breeds found in Great Britain and the United States weigh around 2000-2200 lb (910-1100 kg) and 1900 lb (860 kg) respectively.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Males of this species are generally known as stallions whereas females of the species are called mares.  

What would you call a baby Percheron?

We call a baby Percheron a Percheron foal.

What do they eat?

Percherons are herbivores like all other breeds of horses. Percherons are bred for performing heavy farm activities, therefore their breeders also often add supplements such as vitamins and beneficial grains to their diet in order to enhance the health of Percherons.

Are they dangerous?

Due to the large size of Percherons, they can be very dangerous if not trained properly. As Percherons are very large, they can cause harm and injuries to those riding the horse. To prevent injuries and aggression, owners of large breeds like the Percheron need to train and treat these horses properly.

Would they make a good pet?

For experienced horse owners who are looking for a strong, muscular breed of horse, a Percheron can be a good pet. Percherons are also exceptional riding horses as they belong to a draft breed. Whilst beginners will need to learn a lot about horse care before they can own Percherons, these horses can be a great option for beginners to ride as the horses are very docile in nature and have a calm temperament.

Did you know...

In various countries, Percheron horses are widely seen at different tourist destinations. For example, in Disneyland, Paris, a huge population of Percherons attracts tourists.

In the United States, one of the most popular horse teams in the Tournament of the Road Parade consists of many Percheron horses.

As well as in both world wars, Percheron horses were also used in the Boer War.

The Percheron horse breed has great stamina and a calm temperament and can be found in different regions of Australia.

A French Percheron horse ranges from approximately 16 to 19 hands.

When it comes to the history of the Percheron, there are multiple beliefs and opinions about the origin of the breed.  Shreds of evidence or Percheron history have been found from the 17th century showing that antecedents of the Percheron breed were present in the Huisne river valley. Primarily, these horses were used for heavy lifting such as farm work, pulling public coaches, and hauling agricultural and forest goods. Percherons have also served largely as war horses in different parts of Europe during the First World War. With the coming of the 20th century, the export of Percheron horses started taking place. They were transported to the United States and to Great Britain where they began to be bred more intensely. In the third decade of the 20th century, half of the population of draft horses were Percherons in the United States. However, their numbers came down after the Second World War. The population of the Percheron horse is increasing steadily today, and their numbers in the United States are quite satisfying.

Are Percherons bigger than Clydesdales?

Like Percherons, Clydesdales belong to the family of draft or draught horses. They are a Scottish breed and are said to have originated from the River Clyde Valley. In the third decade of the 19th century, Clydesdales was first recorded here. Both Percherons and Clydesdales are of the same descent but their size varies. During the early decades of the 20th century, Clydesdales were smaller than Percherons. However, after a few decades, through specialized breeding (thanks to an increased demand for draft horse breeds), a slight increase in the size of Clydesdales was seen. Today the average weight of Clydesdales is 1873 lb (850 kg) whereas a Percheron weighs around 2205 lb (1000 kg), meaning that Percherons are typically bigger Clydesdales.

Are Percherons good riding horses?

Yes, Percherons are exceptional riding horses as they belong to a draft breed. As well as being good riding horses, Percherons are incredibly strong. A Percheron can carry more than 350 lb (158 kg) quite easily.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the mountain goat, or the plains zebra.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our horse training coloring pages.  

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