The Belgian horse is no exception to these commonalities. Belgians can range from “average horse” height to towering 18 and sometimes 19 hands tall. So, how do we define the average height for draft horses, especially Belgian horses?
The smallest a horse can be is 14.2 hands tall, and it’s onwards and upwards from there! The title of the “tallest horse in the world” is heavily debated and overall unclear, but horses have been recorded as at least 20 hands tall in the past.
The average height for a draft horse is between 16 and 17 hands. So, sure, a little bit taller, but arguably not so much as would be expected by a nickname like “gentle giants.” But, not all draft horses fall into this 16-17 hand range.
The average height of a Belgian horse is about 16 hands. The range of heights of the Belgian breed is 15.3 hands- approximately 18 hands. The breed is a perfect example of draft horses not needing to be massively tall in order to be “giants.”
The biggest reason for the variants in Belgians’ heights is breeding. Different Belgian breeders want to use their horses for different things or sell their horses to people who want to use them for different things. So, naturally, they try to produce horses of different heights for different purposes.
Gentle giants? Absolutely. Tall giants? Maybe sometimes. Belgian horses are some of the favorites of the draft breeds for their kind temperaments and docile personalities. They are also on the shorter end of the draft horse spectrum.