History of the Breed

"The Horse Fair" by Rosa Bonheur 1835, measures 16.1/2ft x 8.1/4ft housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The Percheron horse originated in the small district of La Perche in north-western France. Here the Arabian horses, abandoned by the defeated Moors at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD, were crossed with the massive Flemish stock - native to the rich, fertile province of Flanders. From this cross came the Percheron type, which has endured for twelve centuries.

In the early 1800s the French Government Stud at Le Pin introduced further Arabian blood into the Percheron Breed, by mating selected mares with two of the outstanding Arabian sires then obtainable in Europe. All contemporary Percherons share this common heritage descending from the small genetic reservoir of foundation stock, which thus originated in La Perche. At the beginning of this century, only horses bred in this original area were entered into the French Percheron Stud book.

The Percheron Horse is essentially a draught horse of immense power, yet kind and gentle, massive, deep, short in his coupling, heavily muscled, strong in his top line, rugged and straight in his bone, with feet of reasonable size, of good quality hard blue horn and legs as clean and free from long hair. He is neat in his head and neck and well balanced throughout. There is unmistakable evidence of quality in general, with action straight and bold, with a long free stride.

Predominantly black or dappled grey, the Percheron still shows hints of its ancient Arabian ancestry. The Percheron has an innate intelligence and boldness of character, tempered with a gentle willingness to perform well under all conditions.

In Australia the Percheron was used in the dryer regions where it was favoured for its clean legs, hard feet and ability to withstand harsh conditions. Today in outback Australia, Percherons are still used over station mares to put size, strength and "toughness" into stock horses. The Percheron is a "good doing" breed. While almost twice the weight of the average light horse, good condition is maintained on similar rations. The Percheron´s foot is large in size, hard, dense and relatively deep at the heel; the type of foot that stays sound with little maintenance.

The Percheron´s quality coat, lack of feather and excellent feet ensures that this draught breed is almost maintenance free!

The Societe Hippique Percheranne was founded in France in 1883, and purebred breeding stock have been exported to Argentina, Australia, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Union of South Africa, the USA and the (former) USSR. Registered animals in these nations trace directly to the nucleus of foundation stock originating in La Perch. Today the Percheron is known throughout the world as a leading breed of draught horse. The American Stud Book was opened some eight years earlier than the French Stud Book.


Research indicates the first Percherons introduced to Australia were with a convict shipment, political prisoners, from Canada, and were in fact the first draught horses to come to this country. However, there is a suggestion that John MacArthur imported a Percheron stallion some time before.

Sale A/C Estate W. Cope & Other Breeders

Record of Sale at Auction by Pitt, Son & Badgery Ltd., Stud Stock Salesmen, Sydney, of horses, Account Estate W. Cope, "Cana", Werris Creek, NSW: show that horses purchased from this sale were bred in Australia prior to 1914; these horses were predominantly French breed imports. (Ref. RAS Sydney results 1920-1952).

The predominant exhibitor (W.Cope) 1937 to 1947 (excluding the war 1941-1946), appear to have shown Foxlow and Kadlunga breed horses. Research of RAS Sydney show results indicating that W. Cope had and bred Percherons prior to the commencement of World War I (1914).


As we have no documented evidence of E. Cope imports, one of the earliest registered Percheron horses imported to Australia, was purchased in France in 1913, from M. Louis Aveline, by the late Alex J. Melrose, Llooloo, South Australia. A colt, Larigot (F. 103962) foaled 12Apr1911, bred by M. Louis Aveline and two mares, Hanouaille (F.101434) foaled 15Apr1911 and Lesion (F. 100082) foaled 4Mar1911 arrived in South Australia in 1914, moving to "Kadlunga", Mintaro, in 1916. In 1924, two Stallions were purchased in England for "Kadlunga". A Canadian bred horse, Paragon (C.7046)(B30), following an impressive show career in Canada and England, 1st and Champion, Edmonton, lst Lethbridge, 1st Saskatoon, 1st Brandon, l st Calgary (twice) and 2nd at the Royal Agricultural Show of England 1920.

The other was a French horse, Rhum (F. 133818)(B.53) foaled 16 Apr 1917, purchased from Mrs. R. Emmett 2 Feb 1924. lst Montagne, France, 1919 (from 8 entries in 2 year old class) l st. & Champion RAS of England, 1921, 1922, 1923. 1st & Champion Norwich, England, 1922 and 1923. In 1924, Kadlunga also imported the mares, Eastern Edwardine (B.468), foaled 6 Apr 1922, and Eastern Elysium (B.645), foaled 8 May 1922. Bred by R.E. Parker. On 11Dec1925, the French Mare Reveuse (B.210), foaled I5 Apr 1917, and filly foal, foaled 28Oct1925, Kansas, by Lasso (F.103951), were purchased from Mrs. R. Emmett, London, by Mr. F.B.S. Falkiner, "Foxlow", Bungendore, NSW. She was later sold in 1925, with filly foal at foot to "Kadlunga". Then followed Histon Grey Friar (B.493), foaled 28 Mar 1930,bred by Chivers & Sons Limited, Histon, Cambridge, England, Junior and Senior Champion RAS of England, and Champion Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney Royal Agricultural Shows in 1937.

In 1939. (Millhills) Magister (F.204377), (B.68S), Grey, foaled 4 Dec 1934, bred by M. Huard, Montagne, France, Champion RAS of England, 1938. On 24 July 1950, Histon Diplomat (8.1331), foaled 1 May 1946, bred by Chivers & Sons. Lime Silver Crest (B.1646) (A.1(M) Vol. 1) (the 1st entry in the Australian Stud Book), foaled 2 Apr 1963, bred by H. Garner and Sans, Willingham, Cambridgeshire and purchased from Mr. R.G. Peacock, Whymondham, Norfolk, was imported in 1967. Champion three and four year old at the British Percheron Horse Show, 1966 to 1967, and Champion three year old, British Royal, 1966.

Royal Agricultural Show (Sydney)

The Sydney RAS Show held Percheron classes from 1920 to 1952, excluding World War II. No further classes were held until 1976, and then only for one year. They were re-introduced again in 1989, with the Led Mare Class, 11 entries, being the largest class of Percherons on record.


The "Foxlow Percheron Stud" was founded in 1923, by the purchase of six mares and a horse from Mrs. Emmett's Stud in England. They were selected by the late F.B.S. Falkiner, when in England.

The mares included Suisse (F.139272), (B.2 1 0), Reveuse (F.128548), Polacre, Grayling, (B.238) Unienne and Tremblaie, and the stallion Grayling Utility. He remained at "Foxlow" for two seasons before being sold. He was followed by Kadlunga Quo Vadis, No. 62, by Paragon (imp) in 1933, and Foxlow Lord Rhum, by Rhum (imp) (F.133818) (B.S3) from the French-bred mare (B.210) Reveuse (F.128S48).

Mr. Falkiner commissioned the Canadian Percheron Society to purchase some mares for the "Foxlow Stud". Among these were Blanche Kesako (C.14112), Monarch´s Beauty and Winne Gena, shown to Junior Champion Yearling. Blanche Kesako (C.14112) was an outstanding mare in North America, being the winner of five Grand Championships and 25 Championships in Canada and USA, including Grand Champion Mare at the Royal Winter Fair Toronto, Canada, in 1930,´31 and ´33.

Upon arrival in Australia, all these mares were mated with Foxlow Lord Rhum and have all foaled to him. This season, 1937, Blanch Kesako dropped a colt foal by, him Mr. Falkiner wrote. Correspondence to Mr. F.B.S. Falkiner from the British Percheron Horse Society, 10th September, 1925, states: "Presumably, all Australian-bred stock presented for registrations in those early years were treated in this way." A number are recorded in Volume 1 of our Stud Book.

Agricultural Department of New South Wales

From copies of the Department's Livestock Register received from Wagga Wagga, NSW, there is record of the sale of the horses to Newstead South Pastoral Co., lnverell, NSW, together with various private sales including Griftith Viticultural Nursery and numbers sold through Younghusband Ltd. (agents), Wagga Wagga.

The records reveal extensive use of imported and Kadlunga bloodlines as well as out crossing to Arabian Stallions, to produce workhorses for riding and harness. Light Horse Men have told us that Walers were also bred at Wagga Wagga from Percheron bloodlines.

Goonoo Goonoo & Cherokee

The Peel River Land & Mineral Company, "Goonoo Goonoo", Tamworth, and Mr. Lionel DeLandelles (a once Patron of the Association), "Cherokee", Rockhampton, Queensland, also maintained breeding programmes - the latter on "Kadlunga bloodlines. Following Mr. DeLandelles death, Mrs Alison Goode (his daughter), is carrying on the families' Percheron breeding tradition in conjunction with Dr. Ross Steven's "Lassawade", and her own "Guatama" Prefix.

Commonwealth Serum Laboratories

The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, in 1958, imported two stallions, Ambrose Irresistible (B.1574) and Helpringham Pathfinder 2nd (B.1548); they have since drawn their stallions from local stock. Preferring the Percheron temperament above any other heavy breed, they have a considerable number of horses in both their breeding program, and for the production of Anti venene for the treatment of venomous snake and spider bites.

Northern Territory

In 1959, the Australian Agricultural Company (AA Company), imported Pinchbeck Silver Crest (B.1 577) to the Northern Territory. While both "Kadlunga" and "Newstead" record large numbers of colts, particularly, being sold to the Territory and northern Western Australia over the years, Mr. John Melrose once said, that at one time, a line drawn through the Tropic of Capricorn would indicate a boundary above which the majority of Kadlunga's colts had been sold at that time.


First recorded purchase by J.S Anderson, "Newstead South Pastoral Company", Inverell NSW, was Kadlunga Trump No. 96, in 1937 although it is understood that "Newstead" had Percherons prior to this. Then followed purchases from "Foxlow", with the imported mare, Monarch's Beauty, Foxlow Lady Elvina (R.29), Foxlow Lady Doll (R.34), Foxlow Bluebelle No. 63, Foxlow Cloud No. 68, Foxlow Storm No. 67, Foxlow Hail No. 01 and Foxlow Dusty No. 02 (both unbranded foals), Foxlow Lady Pearl (R.14), Foxlow Lady Unity (R.3), Foxlow Lady Blake (R.4), Foxlow Lady Kesako (R.7), and FoxIow Lady Larue (R.8) Note BPHS Reg. On 13th May 1952, the complete acquisition of the New South Wales Department of Agriculture's Percheron Stud at Wagga Wagga further expanded Newstead's breeding strength.

This purchase included the imported stallion Kilham Commando (8.012), bv Birdsall Gracchus (B.699), from the French mare (B1511) Impenne. together with the imported mare {B.2I97}, Kilham Jou Jou, bred by Sir Alfred L. Goodson, Bart, England, with foaI by Kilham Commando, State Viking (R47), and the imported Mare ( B.23561) Histon Madeline 3rd, together with State Noaomi No. 02, State Yvonne No.103, State Ruth No. 104, and State Zenith. 105.The above indicates the invaluable contribution these imported blood Percherons have made to the Percheron breed in Australia. After the death of the Anderson brothers, "Newstead" was dispersed at Auction in December, 1975.


Since 1978 a number of stallions and some mares bred in the United Kingdom, Canada, France and USA have been imported, some are listed for the reader's benefit. To Kadlunga -- Hales Argo (B.1708) (A.57(M)) - black - 7/3/1975-Sire: Raylon's Maverick (B.1665) - Dam: (B.3167) Garners Zillah - Reserve Junior Champion Stallion British Percheron Horse Show 1977.

To Mr. & Mrs D. Dridanm -- Hales Chiron (B. 1718) (A.40(M)). He sired the dam of the 1993 Supreme Champion Exhibit, Wibregin Captain Starlight - A.134(M) V01. 3 by Pinchbeck Highlight (imp.) (B.1703)(A.45(M)) at the Gatton Clydesdale & Heavy Horse Field Days. The biggest Draught Horse Exhibition in Australia, this was the first time that the Supreme Exhibit (judged by the five judges of the various competing breeds) had gone to a Percheron.

To Mrs. E Russell - The above result was repeated in 1994 by Lime Headline (B. 1733) (A.46(M)), foaled 10 May 1976, by Fen Admiral (8.1673), from (B.313 5) Pinchbeck Treasure, bred by Mr. R.W. Peacock, Whymondham, Norfolk and (B.3279). Harbridge Violet - A.98(F), foaled 20Apr1979, from the French Mare, (B.3216) Graceiuse, and bred by Mr. E.T. Sampson, Ringwood, UK., purchased by Mr. & Mrs. J. Russell of Chatsworth, Victoria. The first foal from this mating, Carngham Joker, was purchased and is being used by Kadlunga. Mrs. Russell's main breeding program, now based at Tenterfield NSW, has been to produce an outstanding line of Percheron Warmblood Competition Horses, by Lime Headline, and from mares by Lime Headline, which are consistently winning in the competition field.

To W. Grant - Pinchbeck Highlight (B.1703) (A,45(M)), Junior and Reserve Champion Senior Stallion at the British Percheron Horse Show 1977, and Champion of All England at the British Royal Show 1978, where he was presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, imported by Mr. W. Grant, Lilydale, Victoria. Sold on to Sir Reginald Reid, of Patrick Stevedoring fame. This stallion was purchased from the Reid Estate by David Lamb, Warwick., Queensland. who in turn (just prior to his death), sold the horse together with a number of "Kadlunga" and "Newstead" bloodline mares to Mr. & Mrs. J. Jansen, Alpha, Queensland. After several years this entire "Airspeed Stud", with the exception of one stallion Airspeed Highlight Ten and one mare Airspeed Fleur De Lyswith went to J. & J. Lamb (together with the majority of the 3J's progeny, bred by Mr. & Mrs. Jansen) was purchased by R.G. & E.D. Park, Jackson, Queensland, in 1985. The mating of Pinchbeck Highlight (imp) (B. 1 703) A.45(M) and Airspeed Candy Calliope No. 14 (A.114), by Hales Chiron (imp) (B.1718) - A.40(M) produced Wibregin Captain Starlight A.143(M), 1993 and 1994, Gatton Clydesdale and Heavy Horse Field Days, Supreme Champion Exhibit.

To N. Burgess - B.3273 Garner's Evita (imp) - A.64(F) Vol. 1, foaled 13 April 1979, was imported by Mr. Neale C. Burgess, King Island, Tasmania in 1981. Bred by S.H. Garner, Willingham, England, she produced a colt and two fillies. In January 1994, Mr. Neale C. Burgess, imported Lime Black Jack - foaled 29Jun1991 - Black - Sire: Lime Claude (B.771) from (B.3266) Hutige (imp. Fr.) - Dam: Udelle (imp. Fr.), bred by R.W. Peacock, Whymondham, Norfolk. His sire, a Champion of All England at the British Royal, was used as the model for the BPHS 75th Anniversary Plaque. Lime Black Jack's 75% unrelated French bloodlines will help to further broaden our very limited genetic pool in Australia. In 1995, Mr. Burgess imported the colt Common Ground Major Degas, 274105, A.205(M) from USA, by Silas Degas 266213 from Prince's Belle 254097, this black colt carries a wealth of classic American bloodlines.

To R.G.& E.D. Park - Hermes (F.278293)(8.1700) - A.29(M) Vol. l. foaled 20May1973, bred by M. Georges Pirard, En Valais, France, was purchased from Mr. R.W. Peacock, Whymondham, Norfolk, in 1978 by R.G & E.D. Park, Niangala, NSW, and now of Kamilaroi, Jackson. Queensland. He was shown successfully in the United Kingdom and was the first French bred Sire to come to Australia in 40 years.

His daughter, 8.3246 Lime Black Beauty, was exported to Canada in 1978, and his grandson from this mare, Lime Mr. Black, was shown to Grand Champion Stallion at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Toronto, Canada in 1983 as a three year old. The colt, Kamilaroi Reveille No. 126 A.184(M) by Armley Emile from Kamilaroi Jou Jou A.99(F) (by Hermes), was Junior Champion Exhibit at Gatton, 1993 and 1994, then Supreme Champion of the Breed in 1995. The consistent show records of many of Hermes' progeny indicate the value of this importation of unrelated bloodlines.

To R Carbery -- Prince Patrick Du Mordhief (C.20726) - A.101 (M), bred by Cameron Shantz, Plattsville, Ontario, Canada, was imported as a six year old, in 1985, by Ross and Ann Carbery, Vicarys Winery, Luddenham, NSW. He was shown successfully in Canada, 1974, 1st Stallion Foal and Reserve Junior Champion, Canadian National Exhibition. 2nd Detroit International. 1981 Royal Winter Fair, Reserve Junior Champion. 1st - Get of Sire and 1st - Get of Dam. 1982 Canadian National Exhibition Grand Champion Stallion (the Reserve Champion, Confetti was later Grand Champion at the World Percheron Congress 1983). Also in 1982 - Senior Champion, Detroit International and Great Lakes International. 1984 ´ 1st Breeder's Group Detroit International. His most prominent progeny in Australia being Carbery Estate Benefactor from Carngham Rosie. First owned by Mr. R Statham, Stanthorpe, Queensland, and now shown and worked extensively by Mr. & Mrs. T. & C. Kohler, Pittsworth, Queensland and Carbery Estate Gambler, also out of Carngham Rosie, owned and shown by C.S. & M.A.Watson of Dungog, NSW. 1st Royal Easter Show 1998.

Shananagn Floralena (C.27910 ) (imp) - A.130(F) also bred by Cameron Shantz, was shown as a foal in Canada before being imported as a yearling by the above breeders. 1984 Royal Winter Fair - lst Filly Foal (27 entries) and lm Michigan State Fair. 1987 Import Donamerr's Miss Ashlea (C.28387 )(imp)- A.144(F) - foaled 13Nov1985 - Black- - Bred by Donald "Fribbling, Uxbridge,Ontario, Canada. 2nd Yearling Filly 1986 World Percheron Congress, St. Paul, Minnesotta (39 entries). Her maternal half sister was Grand Champion Mare at the Congress.

1987 the above breeders also imported Donamerr's Miss Beckylea (C.28632) - A. 145(F) - foaled 22/4/1986 - Grey - bred by the same Breeder. Purchased as a foal, she was unshown in Canada. Her dam is also the dam of the Grand Champion Mare at the World Percheron Congress, St. Paul, in 1986, while her sire was Grand Champion Stallion at the World Percheron Congress, Calgary 1983. Her breeding is a combination of the top two bloodlines found in North America today.

Since the importation from Soder Farms Inc., Wisconsin, USA, of Northwood's Midnight Satin A. 187(F) by Blackholm Duke C.2140b from Daleview Cher 253924 USA, more recent imports from the USA include two outstanding colts JP Commander Stargate 1996 (now deceased) and JP Commander Starship 1999.

To Cobigan - The French bred Trappeur F.284647, who was Champion of all England at the Brittish Percheron Show 1994, and Champion Percheron at the Royal Norfolk Show in 1995, is by Projecteur F.282290, who himself was Champion Mature Percheron Stallion of France at the 1993 Percheron Breed Show, from Lorraine F.280578, bred by M. Georges Pirard, En Vallee, France, was purchased in England from Mr. R.W. Peacock, Norfolk, by Miss Christine Perry for the Perry Family, Kyogle NSW, in 1996. Also shown successfully in Australia, his first Australian foals were due in the 1997/98 season.


In 1936, "Kadlunga" exported a four yearold stallion Kadlunga Renown No. 72, to R. Burke, Ngatea, New Zealand, followed by two mares, Kadlunga Stella Na.85 and Kadlunga Tonga No. 94 in 1937 and the colt, Kadlunga Templar No.88 in 1939, to Winifred F. Lysnar, New Zealand. The colt Kamilaroi Envoy No.2 - A.44(M)) Vol. 1, foaled 6Nov1979 by Hermes(imp) B.1700 - F.278293 - A.29(M), was exported by R.G. & E.D. Park, to Mr. R. Harrop. Taranaki, New Zealand, in 1981 and Kamilaroi Fairlane No.3 A.72(M)) Vol. 1 by Cherokee Lc Silver Cloud - A.18(M), was purchased by Mr. & Mrs. R. Johns, Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1983.

The colt Newstead Valiant No.68 foaled in 1964 was exported to Fiji, by Newstead. From 1994 to 1997 carriage horses have been exported to Korea, Taiwan, & Malaysia.

In 2005 Cobigan Draught Horses exported a stallion Cobigan Gasto to N.Z. The purchaser, also a member of the PHBAA, Ms. Carolyn McCree of Tahanini, Auckland.

Imported Frozen Semen

In September and October 2011, Ballara Farm Percherons in association with Kamilaroi and Jotunheim, imported two shipments of frozen Percheron semen from French stallions Tom de Prainville, Oscar 566 and Terkasso du Vairais. This is the first time that French Percheron semen had been imported into Australia. The first foal sired from this semen was by Tom de Prainville and was a colt, Ballara Prainville born on 10 September 2012 and out of Lasswade Pamela A.272(F). Fiona Sheehy of Jotunheim followed up with another colt sired from Tom de Prainville and born on 28 October 2012. Foals from Oscar 566 and Terkasso du Vairais should also be on the ground during the 2012/13 breeding season. The Association has purchased limited breeding doses of Oscar 566 and Terkasso du Vairais and this semen is available to members - please refer to the Frozen Semen section for further information.

Pure Bred Percherons

There are two main types of Pure Bred Percherons, Traditional (French and also known as the Agricultural type in North America) and the Hitch Percheron which was developed and bred in North America. The latter type are taller and finer than the Traditional French Percherons with some stallions reaching over 18 hands in height. Our members are breeding both types which are entered into the Stud Book as A registered Pure Bred.

Upgraded Percherons

With the limited number of purebred females available in the years following the foundation of the Association, some members commenced a "Grading-Up" programme using light or draft horses over a Pure Bred (A registered) parent to produce a first cross or Appendix B registered horse. The offspring from these matings was put back over a Pure Bred to produce a second cross or C registered Appendix horse. Some thirty years later and with further crossings we now have sixth crosses or G registered horses on the ground. D registered females (7/8) and E registered males (15/16) and above are entered into the Stud Book and are eligible for showing in Pure Bred classes.

Percheron Warmbloods

A number of members are "Out-Crossing" with light horses to produce "Percheron Warmblood Competition Horses". With increasing number of these horses winning throughout this country, the Association has established a Register for "Percheron Warmblood" horses, listing competition horses of this type, to give them identity and further promote the Percheron Breed.

Police Work

The South Australian Mounted Police Division, in conjunction with "Kadlunga", have in the past established Percheron Warmblood (Percheron /Thoroughbred Cross) horses working in the troop. Of excellent type, their classic action and ability, coupled with their exceptional temperament and acceptance of the stress of Police work, they were consistently performing ahead of other breeds.

Both Victoria and New South Wales Police (Mounted Sections), have used Percherons for Drum and Vaulting Horses respectively, with horses donated by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, the White family and "Kamilaroi". Now both Queensland and NSW are seeking bay or brown Percheron Warmbloods to use within the Troop.

Stock Work

In Northern Australia, Percheron and Part Bred Sires are used extensively for crossing with stock horse mares to add stamina, weight and bone to horses working under the harsh, sub-tropical climatic conditions. While in the Falkland Islands, the Association has a contact who reports that the proven cross for their working horses is Percheron over light horses (principally Criollo) but in totally contrasting, sub-antarctic conditions.

Working Competition

Draught Horse Pulling Competitions became popular, with Percherons winning the major prizes wherever they've competed. The record being held by Newstead Punch, pulling 3410 lbs. being 2.77 times the horse´s weight.

Driving Competitions

While the heavier up-graded stock are in great demand for harness work within the Tourist Industry, Percheron Warmblood horses are making a name for themselves in Competition Driving. Brian & Nola Higgins won the 1994 and 1995 Queensland Combined Driving Champions with a pair of part-bred geldings, and went on to win the NSW 1995, Victorian 1995, 1996 Championships, and the Australian 1996 Championship; while the 1994 Australian Champion Pair of Harness Horses were two half-bred mares owned by Mr. R. Oakley and driven by Garry Rollands.


With the current interest in Vaulting, it is noteworthy that three horses of Percheron content competed successfully to Championship level at the Australian Championships. With the current interest in Vaulting, it is noteworthy that there are a number of horses of Percheron content competed successfully to Championship level at the Australian Championships.


Carriage operators in the tourist industry find the Percheron temperament, strength and ability to retain condition, a commercial advantage.