|1.||a. one of the British counties|
|b. (in combination): Yorkshire|
|2.||(in Australia) a rural district having its own local council|
|3.||See shire horse|
|4.||the Midland counties of England, esp Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, famous for hunting, etc|
|[Old English scīr office; related to Old High German scīra business]|
draft horse breed native to the middle section of England. The breed descended from the English "great horse," which carried men in full battle armour that often weighed as much as 400 pounds. Shires were improved as draft and farm animals in the latter part of the 18th century by breeding mares from Holland to English stallions. In 1853 the first Shire was imported to the United States, but the breed never became popular there and was primarily bred to upgrade smaller farm horses
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