The head of the Suffolk Punch shows more breeding and quality about it than that of any other heavy horse, a very conspicuous feature being the eye, which is full of expression, yet mild and intelligent-looking to a degree. The neck is powerful and well formed, and the crest beautifully turned. The head-piece is well carried, the shoulders, which are very long, lie rather forward, this being desirable for the purposes of draught. The chest is wide and deep, the girth of the middle-piece being very considerable, whilst the body as a whole is long and substantially built.
The back is very strong, the hind quarters long and heavy, and close-coupled with the loin; the legs standing well under the body. The forelegs - a very essential point, for however good an animal's top may be, he will be worthless if he has not legs and feet to carry him - must be short, flat, and possessed of plenty of hard bone, big at the knees and free from feather, whilst the pasterns are short and powerful, with little hair on them, the feet being of a good size and truly shaped. In height the Suffolk should stand from 15 hands 3 inches to 16 hands 2 inches at the shoulder, as if he is smaller he will lose power, and if bigger he is likely to be deficient in that symmetry and compactness which are so characteristic of the breed. So much space has already been devoted to the question of colour that it is unnecessary to refer to that question again, beyond remarking that it is imperatively necessary that it should be chestnut of some shade or other, but preferably the deeper ones, and the less white the better. In general appearance the Suffolk Punch is very happily described in the Suffolk Stud-book as being long, low, and wide, and this summary of his outline cannot possibly be bettered.
Considerable importance, and very properly too, is attached to the action of their horses by the breeders of Suffolks, who for the most part are united in decrying the presence of a high-flying action in a heavy horse. In the words of the official description of the variety, which cannot possibly be improved upon: "The Suffolk horse is an excellent mover, with a smart, quick step, a true balance all round at the trot, and a capital walker". As may naturally be supposed, an ultra-high flashy action is not desired, and it is naively added that "a horse weighing a ton bending his knee up to his throat latch, and striking the granite with his feet like a sledge-hammer, is not an exhibition that the Suffolk farmer has any delight in". In fact, a Suffolk that is heavy enough for the largest dray is seldom if ever called upon for an exhibition of speed and high action; even if he is only up to ordinary railway delivery-van work he is never likely to be wanted to go more than seven or eight miles an hour, and this class of animal will never scale a ton. As Mr. Hume Webster alleges, there can be no doubt that the old variety of Suffolks were famous not only for their nimbleness of action but for the honesty of continuance with which they would exert themselves at a dead pull. He also added, with pardonable pride - for in his lifetime he was a most enthusiastic admirer of the Punches - that the Suffolks of his day (1891) did not belie those great qualities of their ancestors. They are good drawers, and will continue to tug again and again at a dead pull without any need of the whip. The pure-bred Suffolk needs no whip, but at a signal from his driver will be almost down on his knees in a moment, and will not be beaten by any reasonable load.
No doubt the weight and size of the modern Suffolk have been increased to meet the requirements of the market, but they still continue to retain the activity and action which distinguished their ancestors in the past. With so much to recommend them, therefore, it is not surprising that, in spite of the obstacles that oppose them owing to the established pojjularity of other heavy breeds, the Punches are steadily, though perhaps slowly, making headway amongst agriculturists both at home and abroad. The parcels delivery companies, which require active yet powerful wear-and-tear animals of robust constitutions for their trade, are always glad if they can get possession of any of the lighter specimens of the breed. Whether the Suffolk will ever reach the position of the most favoured heavy horse is perhaps a matter of considerable doubt, but to those who require for their work a fast, active, good-tempered, and good-constitutioned draught-horse, there is no gainsaying the fact that they might do far worse for themselves than by giving a chance to the handsome and long-lived Suffolk Punch, whose antiquity alone may commend him to their consideration.