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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Breeds of Livestock - Cleveland Bay Horse

Breeds of Livestock - Cleveland Bay Horse

Cleveland Bay

The English Sporthorse

The Cleveland Bay is the oldest established breed of English Horse.

In 1884, the Cleveland Bay Horse Society of Great Britain published the first volume of its Stud Book containing stallions and mares scrupulously selected for purity of blood, many of whose pedigrees traced back over a century. In consequence, Cleveland Bays have remarkable uniformity of size, conformation, soundness, stamina, disposition and color.

The Cleveland Bay is unique in its carefully maintained purity. While the warmbloods of France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Hungary and other European countries have produced a number of good individuals, their pedigrees are riddled with recent Thoroughbred, Arabian and other outcrosses. Registration in their studbooks carries with it no guarantee or even probability that their offspring will inherit their excellence with any consistency.

Early History

North Yorkshire, England, is famous as the cradle of two of the worlds leading breeds of horses, the Thoroughbred and the Cleveland Bay. In its fertile Vale of Bedale, from about 1660 to 1740, by breeding desert bred imported Arabian stallions to native British race mares, the D'arcys of Sedbury, the Darleys of Aldby, and other breeders evolved the race horse now known as the Thoroughbred.

The Cleveland Bay Horse Society of North America (CBHSNA) was established in 1885 to support the growing number of Cleveland Bay horses that were being imported to North America from England.   The Society continues its work today.

Current State

The Cleveland Bay horse is a breed of horse critically endangered with numbers in North America totally only about 200 pure bred horses.  The worldwide population of Cleveland Bays is expected to be about 500.

As far as utility, Cleveland Bays are versatile in their societal roles: they can be seen on the hunt field, in the show ring, pulling carriages and plows, on the dressage circuit, competing in Endurance competitions, eventing, western competition, as police mounts, working cattle, trail riding and more.



The Cleveland Bay Horse Society of North America

Linda Yaciw, Pouce Coupe, B.C., Canada Email:

Cleveland Bay Horse Society, York Livestock Centre, Murton, York, United Kingdom Y01 3UF Telephone: (01904) 489731, fax (01904) 489782


The Livestock Conservancy PO Box 477, 33 Hillsboro St, Pittsboro, NC 27312

The Cleveland Bay Horse Society of North America

Alan Cheese, UK


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Updated November 15, 1999


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