Clydesdale breed back from the brink as Aussie numbers increase

The Clydesdale has been removed from the endangered list by the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia. © N Martin/Commonwealth Clydesdale Horse Society of Australia
The Clydesdale has been removed from the endangered list of the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia. © N Martin/Commonwealth Clydesdale Horse Society of Australia

The Clydesdale breed is now no longer considered rare in Australia, with numbers of the horses such that it has been removed from the endangered list kept by the Rare Breeds Trust.

There are now more than 3000 Clydesdales registered in Australia said Janet Lane, who undertook a horse census of rare breeds for the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia.

In describing the Clydesdale as a success story among rare breeds, Lane said other breeds had not been so fortunate. “So very sad some have got down in numbers. Heartbreaking emails from some breed bodies and studs as numbers fall. This is such an unusual event to find a horse breed increased.”

The Australian Clydesdale stallion Highgate Flash Benjamin. 
The Australian Clydesdale stallion Highgate Flash Benjamin. © Kerri Afford/Commonwealth Clydesdale Horse Society of Australia

She praised the Commonwealth Clydesdale Horse Society of Australia for promoting and keeping the breed safe and bringing it back into healthy numbers.

The trust would continue to monitor Clydesdale numbers, as well as 33 other breeds.

Clydesdales were first imported to Australia in the early 1800s, with the breed reaching prominence around 1855, and dominating other draught breeds in the years up to the first world war. The years 1950 to 1970 were “dark years for the horse” the Commonwealth Clydesdale Horse Society said, but since 1970 there has been a resurgence of interest in the Clydesdale horse in Australia.

The total number of horses registered in Australia since the start of registrations in 1924 up until August 1, 2016 is 9347 stallions or geldings and 19,068 mares.

The annual membership of the society is about 700 members distributed across five state branches.

The society marks its 100th anniversary year in 2018.

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