The Percheron breed originated in France and was once the most widely distributed of all draft breeds. The name "Percheron" is derived from "Perche," the ancient name of its home district. Percherons were first imported into the United States in the 1840's, and by 1870 they were in great demand, particularly in the Middle West.
At least 90 percent of all Percherons are black or gray. The rest are bay, roan, chestnut, or brown. A mature stallion usually stands from 16.1 to 16.3 hands tall and weighs from 1,900 to 2,100 pounds. The Percheron is lively in action and is easily managed. It was originally used as a coach horse, but with the development of railroads it became a farm animal. In later years, during the 1930's, it became more of a general-purpose breed.