A scale of points for the breed has been carefully drawn up and amended as necessary to meet modern requirements. For instance, a great characteristic of the Shire years ago was the wealth of hair, or feathers, on the legs. Today the demand is for a cleaner legged horse, with straight fine, silky hair.
The following sections outline the standard of points:
Breed Standard Points for Stallions
A good Shire Stallion should stand from 17.0 hands (173cms) upwards, and weigh from 900kg (18 cwt) to 1,100kg (22 cwt) when matured, without being overdone in condition. He should possess a masculine head and a good crest with eloping, not upright, shoulders running well into the back., which should be short and well coupled with the loins. The tail should be well set up and not what is known as ‘gooserumped’. Both head and tail should be carried erect. The ribs should be well sprung, not flat sided, with good middle which generally denotes good constitution. A Stallion should have good feet and joints; the feet should be wide and big around the top of the coronets with sufficient length in the pasterns. When in motion, he should go with force using both knees and hocks, the latter should be kept close together. He should go straight and true before and behind.
A good Stallion should have strong character.
17 hands (173 cm) high at maturity. Average about 17.2 hands (176 cm).
Large, well-set and docile in expression. Wall eyes not acceptable.
Slightly roman nostrils, thin and wide. Lips together.
Long, lean, sharp, and sensitive.
Clean cut and lean.
Deep and oblique, wide enough to support the collar.
Long, slightly arched, well set on to give the horse a commanding appearance.
The girth varies from 183 cm (6 ft) to 244 cm (8 ft) in stallions from 16.2 (168 cm) to 18 hands (183 cm).
Short, strong and muscular. Should not be dipped or arched.
Standing well up, denoting good constitution (must not be flat).
Wide across the chest, with legs well under the body and well enveloped in muscle, or action is impeded.
Long and sweeping, wide and full of muscle, well let down towards the thighs.
Round, deep, and well sprung, not flat.
Should be as straight as possible, down to pastern.
Of flat bone 28 cm (11 inches) is ample, although occasionally 32 cm (12½ inches) is recorded – flat bone is heavier and stronger than spongy bone. Hocks must be broad, deep, and and set at the correct angle for leverage.
Deep, solid, and wide, with thick open walls. Coronets should be hard and sinewy with substance.
Not too much, fine straight and silky.
Modification or Variation of Stallion Breed Standard Points for Mares
A Mare should be on the quality side, long and deep with free action, of a feminine and matronly appearance, standing from 16 hands (163 cm) and upwards on short legs; she should have plenty of room to carry here foal.
Black, brown, bay, grey, roan.
16 hands (163 cm) upwards.
Long and lean, neither too large nor too small, long neck in proportion to the body, of feminine appearance.
Large, well set, and docile in expression. Wall eyes are acceptable except for animals Grade A and B register.
Long and slightly arched and not of masculine appearance.
152 cm (5 ft) to 214 cm (7 ft) (matured) according to size and age of animal.
Strong and in some instances longer than a male.
Short, with short cannons.
23 cm (9 inches) to 28 cm (11 inches) of flat bone, with clean cut sinews.
Modification of Variation of Stallion Breed Standard Points for Geldings
A Gelding should be upstanding, thick, well-balanced, very active, and a gay mover; he should be full of courage and should like and be able to do a full day’s work. Geldings weigh from 850 kg (17 cwt) to 1,000 kg (22 cwt).
As for Mares.
16.2 (168 cm) hands and upwards.
From 183 cm (6 ft) to 229 cm (7ft 6 inches).
23 cm (10 inches) to 26 cm (11 inches) under knee, slightly more underhock and broadside on, of flat hard quality.
Information courtesy of the Shire Horse Society Australia