The Suffolk Punch

Learn all about the rare Suffolk Punch breed of draft horse.

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Suffolk Punch Horse Breed History

The Suffolk Punch is the oldest of Great Britain’s heavy breeds, dating back to at least the 16th century. The early breeding may have been influenced by the Norfolk Roadster, Norfolk Trotter or Norfolk Cob, and the breed’s size may have come from Belgian draft blood.

Suffolk Punch horses in harness
Bucklesham Plough Day by Amanda Slater on flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

All modern Suffolks can trace their male line back to Thomas Crisp’s Horse of Ufford, born in 1768. Many farmers bred their mares so many times that the stallion’s influence on the breed was permanent.

The Suffolk Punch was imported to America in the 1800s to fill the huge demands of the agriculture industry.

Suffolk Punch Characteristics:

The Suffolk Punch breed exhibits seven different shades of “chesnut” (the preferred old-style spelling).

Mares are 16.1 to 16.2 hand high and stallions are 17 to 17.1 hands high. The Suffolk is a small draught horse, around three-fourths of a ton, and is without feathered legs.

The word punch was an old slang term to describe a jolly, solid, hearty character, which describes the Suffolk perfectly.

Suffolk Punch horses pulling a plow
Photo by suffolkpunches on flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

For more information:

Further Reading

This breed profile was originally published on December 15, 2006.

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