Canadian Horse

The Canadian is an interesting breed of horse that is specific to Canada.

They are used for everything from farming to riding, and they are known for their hardiness and strength.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Canadian Horse, or if you’re thinking about getting one yourself, then this is the article for you!

Canadian Horse Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Canadian horse:

Height (size) 14.0 – 16.0 hands high
Colors Most often black, but they can also be dark brown, bay or chestnut
Country of Origin Canada
Common Uses Mounted police, English and Western riding disciplines, light draft work, trail riding

Canadian Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The Cheval Canadien, also known as the Canadian Horse by those who speak English, can trace its origins all the way back to the stables that belonged to King Louis XIV of France.

It was common knowledge that the equestrian facilities in Paris, the capital city of the Sun King, were among the best in the world.

The king sent his horses as presents to many other heads of state as well as to the many colonies and battlegrounds around the world.

The new French colony of what is now known as Canada received three shipments of stallions and mares from King Louis XIV between 1665 and 1670.

It is believed that Norman and Breton stock were the ancestors of these horses, which were selected from the King’s Royal Stud and were among the finest horses he had owned.

The colony’s horse population grew quickly.

The number of horses in 1679 was 145. In the year 1688, there were a total of 218 horses. The number of horses in 1698 was 684.

Farmers back then mostly rode their horses to church and to social events with neighbors, while younger folks enjoyed racing their horses as a pastime.

During winter, the horses were used for pulling sleighs.

Heavy agriculture labor was mostly done by oxen.

Because of the frequent wars between England and France, communication with the English in the south was strictly prohibited, and the Appalachian mountains posed a significant physical barrier to any outside contact.

Because of this, numerous horse generations were bred in isolation.

New horse blood was imported in great quantities from the British Isles and the United States after the English conquest of New France in 1760.

These horses were bred with the native Canadian horse, which led to the development of new and distinct types in Lower Canada.

At the beginning of the 1860s, thousands of horses from Canada were shipped to the United States so that they could be used by the Union Army in their fight against the Confederacy in the American Civil War.

Many of these horses were used to develop new types of roadsters, such as the Saddlebred, Standardbred, Missouri Fox Trotter, and the Morgan.

The pure Canadian horse nearly went extinct by the end of the 19th century because so many were shipped to the United States and the West Indies.

In the year 1886, a stud book was established as an effort to preserve the breed.

In 1895, veterinarian Dr. J.A. Couture created breeding standards for the Canadian Horse and formed the Canadian Horse Breeders Association.

Although the Canadian Horse was once again nearly lost for good during World War II, diligent breeders were able to bring the species back from the brink of extinction.

The current population of these horses is believed to be approximately 6,000.

The genetic diversity discovered in studies conducted in 1998 and again in 2012 was striking for such a small breed.

In May of 2002, the Canadian government officially recognized the Canadian Horse as a national symbol.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names


“Cheval Canadien”


Intelligent, easy to train, very reliable

Physical Characteristics

Nicely-built horse, small but robust.

The eyes are bright and the ears are small.

Their hooves are very hard.

They have long, wavy manes and glossy dark coats.

Because of their ability to pull unusually large loads for their size, they were perfect for transporting logs through the woods as well as large wagons packed with people, grain, or hay.

They have incredible stamina and can work at a steady pace for many hours.


Most often black, but they can also be dark brown, bay or chestnut

Height (size)

14.0 – 16.0 hands high






1000 – 1400 lb (450 – 640 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Mounted police, English and Western riding disciplines, light draft work, trail riding


Excellent immune system, not prone to colic or founder

Popular Traits




Country of Origin



Norman horses, Breton