Breed Standard - Australian Draught Horse Stud Book Society Inc

The Australian Draught Horse has evolved over the years as a result of cross breeding the four recognized pure draught breeds (in Australia), and, in many cases, this is still being carried out today to produce heavy working horses. As a result, the Australian Draught Horse carries characteristics of these four pure breeds, and occasionally some light horse blood as well, as seen in the part-draughts. The purebred lines to be found in the Australian Draught today are: Clydesdale, Shire, Percheron and Suffolk Punch (as well as the more recent introduction of Belgians). The characteristics of these breeds can be found in virtually any combination in the Australian Draught, making many diverse types within the breed. Visual appearance or “type” of horse is not important provided the following qualities can be clearly seen:

HEAD The head should not be too large, with a distinctive muzzle; good broad forehead; a large, clear, docile eye; and alert ears of medium size. The jaw should be clean cut and show the horse’s head side on to have the characteristic shape of a draught horse. A stallion should have a masculine head, and a mare should be feminine in appearance.

NECK Medium length with neat coupling to the head; clean throat free of surplus fat and loose skin. Ewe necks undesirable. Stallions should be well crested.

SHOULDER The neck should mould into the shoulder in such a way that there is a distinctive collar bed. The shoulder should be well muscled and blending smoothly into the chest, wither and back area with a gentle slope.

CHEST The chest should be wide and full, showing good muscling, with the forelegs set well under the body when viewed from any angle. Narrow chest is undesirable.

WITHERS The withers should be in balance with the neck and back, and prominent enough to hold a back saddle firmly in position. However, an over-large or too high wither is undesirable.

CROUP / RUMP When viewed from the rear, the horse must give the appearance of a wide and well muscled hindquarter and hip. Mares in particular must have plenty of room for ease of foal carrying and birthing. The side view should show plenty of length from hip to tail set, and should be slightly rounded. A sloping croup (goose-rump) is undesirable.

HINDQUARTER / HIND LEGS The rear view should be broad and show a well muscled slope into the thigh and on into the gaskin. Both thigh and gaskin must also show a distinctive amount of muscle. The side view should show well-rounded hindquarters. A vertical line drawn from the point of the buttock to the ground should also pass through the point of the hock and fetlock. Hind legs should show no signs of any thickening or swelling, particularly around the joints. The pasterns should be of medium length with a slope of about 45 degrees. The legs must be set under the body, with hocks neither too straight nor too angled. The lower leg must be vertical with no suggestion of sickle hocks. Cow hocks are definitely not desirable. The hock joints must be strong and broad when viewed from the side; large, deep and well defined when viewed from behind. Cannons should be dense and flat boned with tendons clean, hard and distinct. Fetlock joints should be well defined, clean and strong.

FEATHER Legs should preferably have a light to medium amount of feather.

FRONT LEGS Forelegs should be straight and well set under the shoulder and chest, from both front and side views, without the suggestion of either calf or buck knees. They should be set in a straight line without being pigeon toed. Toe in or toe out are both undesirable, and the horse should not be tied in behind the knee. The same applies to front legs as for hind legs with no thickening or swelling; canons dense and flat boned, with tendons clean, hard and distinct. The pasterns should be of medium length with a slope of about 45 degrees.

FEET Again, due to the influence of the different breeds present, foot size will vary; but, as a guide, average to large feet of symmetrical shape are required. Heels must be wide and clearly defined, and soles must be concave (but not overly so). There should be a large, clearly defined frog, and the coronet must be wide and round in proportion to the leg. Black or striped hoofs are preferred.

COLOUR All solid colours are acceptable, including true red or blue roans. White legs acceptable on mares; stallions white to the knees and hocks. There shall be no pink pigment around the eyes; no predominantly white heads; no body flashes or white genitalia. Muzzles would preferably be solid coloured.

BARREL This should be deep through the heart; ribs round and well sprung with good depth carried well back. Back should be straight, with no roach back or sway back.

MOVEMENT The horse should show good action at the walk and trot. The hind foot should step onto the forefoot mark or beyond. The horse must have good length of stride. Hocks should be carried free, straight and parallel, with no rolling in or out. Front action should also be straight and correct. To test for stringhalt, the horse shall be turned in a tight circle and backed up.

HEIGHT Stallions to be 16 hands or above; mares and geldings 15.2 hands or above.

DISQUALIFYING POINTS Sidebone, ringbone, parrot mouth, hernias, stringhalt, cryptorchid, roach back, etc. One or two wall eyes; pink pigment around the eyes; white body flashes; white genitals.

Please remember that this applies to the breeding and classifying of horses. All horses are still welcome at all field days, shows, etc. and may still participate, especially in the many working classes available. Also, all horses are able to be recorded with the A.D.H.S.B.S.


Barry Schaefer Ph: 02 6775 2168