Are you fascinated with furry horses and want to know more about them?
Then you’re in for a treat!
Below, we’re going to talk about some of the most unique horse breeds with long hair, hairy hooves, and a few with fluffy coats!
Just keep on reading.
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Horses with Hair on Their Feet
We’ve all seen horses with magnificent long manes and majestic tails.
But there’s something about horses with feathered legs that makes them irresistible.
These horses carry a gene that produces furry feet.
All horses have some hair on their lower legs, behind the fetlocks and pasterns.
But only a couple of breeds grow feathers. These hairs are so long that they surround the leg and might cover the entire hoof!
Before we see our top selection of horses with furry feet, let’s talk more about why some breeds have long hair and others don’t.
Why Some Horses Have Feathering?
The gene for feathering is related to bone density and thickness. This is why you see horses with denser bodies and large bones with more feathering.
That’s why draft horses are among the first breeds people usually think about when they hear about furry horse feet.
Draft breeds needed to work the land in harsh conditions, feathers provide warmth and protection from the environment, such as brambles, rocks, and rain.
18 Fascinating Horse Breeds with Hair on Their Feet
You’d be surprised to know that horses aren’t the only equine animals with furry feet. Some ponies also have the same long hairs as their large brethren.
But we’re focusing on horses this time and will take a detailed look at six of the most amazing horses with impressive feathering along the legs.
Clydesdales originated from the Clyde Valley in Lanarkshire, Scotland.
They were purposely bred when the local horses did not have the size and strength for farm work. The breed was started by the Duke of Hamilton in the 1700s, who imported Flemish stallions and allowed locals to use them on their mares.
These Flemish horses achieved the Duke’s goal, and they quickly became a popular draft horse breed, thanks to their strength, stamina, and temperament.
Scotland has a cold, wet climate and a rough landscape. Long feathers helped to protect the horse’s legs in this environment.
While their height of up to 18 hands and weight of 2.400 pounds is impressive, Clydesdales are gentle giants. They’re easy to train, have beautiful trots, hooves the size of frying pans, and often take part in parades.
Most black stallions you see on the screen is Friesian horse, which is no coincidence because these black beauties are intelligent and easy to work with.
Besides the luxurious, dense manes and thick flowing tails, Friesians are easy to spot thanks to their heavily feathered feet.
They’ve also got muscular hindquarters, thick necks, and stunning black coats.
In the past, Friesian horses were working animals, with their early ancestors used as war horses.
Nowadays, Friesians are an excellent choice for trail riding, dressage, and driving.
Friesians are gentle, love people, and don’t spook easy.
However, they’re also high maintenance and don’t do well in high temperatures.
Friesians stand between 16 to 17 hands in height and weigh up to 1,400 pounds.
# 3 Shire
If you think about England, when you hear the word “Shire,” you won’t be surprised that Shire horses come from Britain and its wet, cold climate.
Besides the feathered legs and large bodies, Shire horses are among the tallest horse breeds.
They can stand over 18 hands tall and have a weight of 2,000 pounds.
Shires have powerful hindquarters, broad shoulders, and gentle temperaments.
In the past, it was no problem for a Shire to even tow boats!
While Shires still pull carriages today for special events, they’re also great for pleasure riding and can excel in equine shows.
As a whole, might not be the easiest domestic horse to groom and maintain. Of all the breeds with hairy feet, they grow some of the longest, thickest feathers.
#4 Gypsy Vanner
Another horse with hair on its feet is the stunning Gypsy Vanner with its piebald (white and black) or skewbald (brown and white) coat colors.
The breed originates in England and Ireland. It was developed by the Romani people who lived there, hence the name Gypsy Vanner.
The Romani needed a versatile animal to pull their heavy wagons, but one that was smaller and cheaper to maintain.
Over time, they perfected the breed by crossing it with Clydesdale, Friesians, Shire, and Dales ponies.
Unlike most fluffy horse breeds, Gypsy Vanners are small in size with an average height of 14 hands and a weight of 1,000 – 1,700 pounds.
They have dense and muscular bodies, well-rounded hips, and broad chests. Gypsy Vanners are strong, kind, athletic horses. They make particularly good trekking horses.
READ MORE: 11 Breeds of Beautiful White Horses
#5 Ardennes Horse
Ardennes horse comes from the Ardennes region which includes parts of Luxembourg, France, and Belgium, though they have an ancient history.
They have ample amounts of feet hair to protect them during the freezing and damp winter months.
The Ardennes is one of the oldest draft horse breeds in Europe.
Their wide shoulders, sturdy frame, and thick legs make them perfect for pulling heavy objects. You will notice that they are one of the bulkiest horse breeds.
Ardennes are easy to distinguish from other horses with hairs on their feet because they’ve got small ears and very thick necks.
#6 Swedish Northern Horse
Originating from Sweden, a cold, hilly, and harsh place, the Swedish Northern Horse has heavily feathered feet but a slightly lighter body than other hairy breeds.
Descending from the Scandinavian horses, the North Swedish Horse is a younger breed than the rest on our list, established in the 1920s.
In general, these Northern horses have compact bodies with short legs and necks.
They’ve got a muscular frame and a long stride, which makes up for their smaller stature.
Like most cold-blooded horses, the Swedish horse is calm, docile, and people-orientated. They excel at many equine events and make ideal farm animals.
Moreover, the Swedish Northern are hardy, healthy horses not prone to any serious diseases.
#7 Vladimir Draft Horses
You probably have never heard of the Vladimir Heavy Draft horse. It is not well known outside of Russia, where it originates.
They look very similar to Clydesdale, which is no surprise as imported Clydesdales were bred with local horses to create the breed.
Vladimir draft horses are not as tall as Clydesdales but have more robust bodies with larger chests. While they have a good amount of feathering, it is not as lush as the Clydesdales.
#8 Dutch Draft
While the Dutch Draft comes from the region of Europe where most draft breeds originate, it is lesser-known. They come from the south of The Netherlands.
It is one of the newest drafter breeds and was developed after World War I. These are huge horses, and not dissimilar in their body shape to the Ardennes from which it descends.
They have impressive hairy legs and stand on average at 16 hands tall. They commonly have grey, roan, and bay coat colors.
The Percheron is a French draft horse that is one of the most popular heavy horse breeds in the United States.
Compared to the other draft breeds on the list, the Percheron has much less feathering. However, that doesn’t exclude them from our horse breeds with a feather list.
Percherons stand between 16 and 17 hands tall. They have incredibly powerful bodies and kind temperaments.
#10 American Cream Draft
American Cream Drafts are one of the most unique horses with hairy hooves. Like the Percheron, they only have light leg feathers.
The breed is quite rare and is the only American-developed draft horse. What makes this breed so interesting is its color. The ideal horse has a golden coat with a nearly white mane and tail.
They stand from 15 to 17 hands tall and weigh up to 1,800 pounds.
#11 Australian Draught Horse
As the name suggests this breed originated in Australia. It comes from selective breeding of the Clydesdale, Belgian, Shire, Percheron, and the Suffolk Punch.
You will find Australian Draught horse breeds in all colors, but too many white markings are not desirable. They are on average tall horses with heights ranging from 16 to 17.3 hands.
#12 Belgian Draft
The Belgian Draft is a tall, heavy workhorse that can stand up to 17 hands tall and weigh a jaw-dropping 2,000 pounds. Most are chestnut with flaxen color manes and tails, though roan is also common.
As far as a horse with feathers, the Belgian Draft has fewer than most of the breeds on this list, though it is not uncommon to find a horse with long hair on its legs.
#13 Icelandic Horse
The Iceland Horse does not have particularly long feathers, but he can definitely be classed as one of the most fluffy horse breeds.
It is a small horse that is only 13 to 14 hands tall. They are extremely hardy and can survive in the sparse, harsh environment of Iceland. These horses are kind but lively and confident.
In the winter they turn into a very fluffy horse breed with a special double coat, and thick tails, and manes.
#14 Dales Pony
The Dales is one of Britain’s Mountain and Moorland breeds. They are hardy, strong, and intelligent. Most stand around 14 hands tall.
Most Dales ponies are a dark color, primarily black with no white markings on the legs. They have a medium amount of feathering on their legs and grow especially thick winter coats that help protect them from England’s wet climate.
#15 Fell Ponies
Like the Dales, Fell ponies are a Mountain and Moorland breed. They emerged to survive in the harsh, barren landscapes of northwestern England.
It is quite similar to the Dales, but has more pony-like features and is not as big. They are sturdy, sure-footed, and athletic.
They are an adorable long-haired horse that grows a beautiful mane and tail. Most Fell ponies have black hair or dark bay coats and stand 13.2 hands tall.
#16 Welsh Cob (Section D)
The Section D Welsh Cob is the largest pony that falls under the Welsh pony breed. They are impressive horses with long hair and a medium amount of feathers.
To be considered a Section D, the pony must stand over 13.2 hands. They are powerful and can have mixed temperaments. Some ponies are suitable for novice riders, while others are far too spirited.
Every color is acceptable except for piebald or skewbald. They have active, high stepping gaits, silky feathers are preferred.
#17 Shetland Pony
The Shetland Pony, from the Scottish Shetland Isles is not a horse with feathers as such but merits a place on our list because of its impressive fluffy coat! It is possibly the king fluffy breed!
These mini ponies grow one of the fluffiest winter coats of all horse breeds, a necessity for its survival in the harsh environment of the Shetland Isles. They are clever, cute balls of furry hair!
#18 Kerry Bog Pony
If you’re looking for unusual long-haired horses take a look at the rare Kerry Bog Pony. This pony grows a mane that many people would certainly be envious of.
This is a mountain and moorland pony breed that originates in Co. Kerry, Ireland. They were used to help haul peat from the region’s peat bogs.
The far southwest or Ireland has a wild, mountainous environment with very wet winters. They are intelligent horses that stand between 10 to 12 hands tall, are hardy, athletic, and intelligent.
How to Care for Horses with Hair on Their Feet?
Long haired horse breeds, while cute, require extra grooming care. Feathers trap moisture close to the skin and form an ideal environment for fungi and bacteria to thrive.
Prevention is always the goal, as skin conditions can be difficult to treat and you might even have to shave off all the beautiful hair to deal with them.
Tips on How to Care for Horses With Furry Feet
- Keep the feathery area as clean as possible.
- Use a gentle shampoo and brush the hairs to prevent mats.
- Use a detangler to brush feathers and prevent tangles.
- Inspect the legs and feet daily to make sure that there are no injuries or swellings.
- Dry the feathers well to avoid the build-up of moisture, some people use a blowdryer.
- Consult with a vet if you notice hair loss, crust, or dry scales. Pastern dermatitis is prevalent in draft breeds.
Check this video for a quick recap:
Most furry horses have an even temperament, calm demeanor, and a people-orientated disposition.
They’re versatile, hardy horses, that can thrive in harsh conditions and manage hard work.
However, they need more care to ensure their skin and coat stay healthy. Some of the breeds listed here don’t do well in high temperatures.
Which one is your favorite? We’d love to know!
- About the Dales Pony – Dales Pony Society. www.dalespony.org/about-the-dales-pony/.
- “Ardennes Horse: Breed Profile.” The Spruce Pets, www.thesprucepets.com/ardennes-horse-full-profile-history-and-care-5080181.
- “Breeds of Livestock – Vladimir Heavy Draft Horse — Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science.” Afs.okstate.edu, afs.okstate.edu/breeds/horses/vladimirheavydraft/index.html/. Accessed 29 July 2021.
- “Kerry Bog Pony Co-Operative Society.” Kerrybogpony.ie, kerrybogpony.ie/breed. Accessed 29 July 2021.
- “Meet the Magnificent Shire Horse.” The Spruce Pets, www.thesprucepets.com/learn-about-the-shire-horse-breed-1886127.
What do you think about these horses with hair on their feet? Which one is your favorite? Share your opinion in the comment section.
Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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