Horses — Canadian


Horse and Cattle Barn, Canada Agriculture and Food Museum


In 1665, the King of France sent horses from his own stables to the people of his North American colony. This was the introduction of the Canadian horse into Canada. During the following century, the breed increased in number. It became an invaluable ally to the settlers in their efforts to survive and prosper in their new home. The harsh conditions of North America made the Canadian smaller in size than its ancestors.

The Canadian horse distinguishes itself as a breed with great strength, endurance, resilience, intelligence, and good temper. These qualities, combined with its size, explain why the breed has the nickname “The Little Iron Horse.”

On average, the Canadian horse stands from 14 to 16 hands high at the withers (1.4 to 1.6 metres or 4'6" to 5'4"). It weighs from 450 to 650 kilograms (1000 to 1350 pounds). The majority of Canadian horses are black, but brown, bay, and chestnut are also common. In 2002, the Government of Canada passed the National Horse Act of Canada. This Act recognizes the Canadian as the national horse of Canada.

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