The Budweiser Clydesdales arrive in New Orleans for carnival season

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - The world famous Budweiser Clydesdales have made it to New Orleans just in time for carnival season.

The first thing people notice when they meet a Clydesdale is obviously the sheer size. Clydesdales have to be six feet tall and weigh 2,000 pounds, but that’s just a start.

"They have to have this nice solid coat of bay, they have to have the white blaze down the face and of course the four iconic white stockings that they have," says Budweiser Clydesdale handler Chris Wiegert.

All the horses are 5-year-old geldings, or fixed males, and as you can imagine they have to have an even temperament for large crowds.

The handlers say they are the gentle giants of the horse world, capable of pulling 4,000 pounds apiece.

Historically, a six-horse hitch delivered the first case of post-prohibition Budweiser to president FDR as a "thank you" for repealing Prohibition.

But it wasn't until the 1950s that a much smaller, but just as iconic new member was added to the team: the Dalmatian.

"Dalmatians are historically a carriage dog and would sit on top of the wagon and guard the beer while the driver went inside," says Wiegert.

In the early days of brewing, Dalmatians were bred and trained to protect the horses as well. They would also run ahead of the team, letting everyone know these working beauties were well on their way.

The Clydesdales will be here now through the end of Mardi Gras, and you can catch them at Horses, Hops and Cops - the annual NOPD Mounted Division fundraiser - from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Feb. 20 at the NOPD stables in City Park.