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June 9, 2023

Sampson Was a Shire Horse and He Was the Tallest and Heaviest Horse Ever Recorded

The biggest horse in history was a Shire horse named Sampson, who stood at a towering 21.25 hands (7 ft 2.5 in, or 2.19 m) and weighed 3,360 lb (1,524 kg). With his impressive measurements, Sampson was both the tallest and heaviest horse in history.

Photograph of Sampson, also known as Mammoth, the tallest and heaviest horse on record, circa 1850. He was a Shire horse gelding foaled in 1846 in Toddington Mills, Bedfordshire, England.

Foaled in 1846 in Bedfordshire, England, Sampson was renamed Mammoth at the age of four when he already stood 7ft 2 in. Had he not been gelded at one and a half years old, this famous giant could’ve reached even more extraordinary heights.

There’s a good chance that Sampson’s name might forever remain in the Guinness World Records as the biggest horse that ever lived. However, some equines have since come close to his impressive size.


  1. There is no way that photo is from circa 1850. The men's clothing looks like it's from around 70 or 80 years later (i.e. the 1920s or '30s). I'd expect that a website that focuses on vintage photographs would be administered by people who can estimate an image's age pretty accurately by looking at clues within the shot (e.g. clothing, vehicles, technology, architecture, decor, etc.).

  2. According to comments on this image on Reddit, it's a different horse entirely!




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