PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial
Published: December 6, 2009

The Andean is a common horse breed from Peru. It is mainly used as a riding and pack horse. The fully-grown animal is small, especially when compared to the Andalusian.


Physical Characteristics

Stading at about 12 to 13.2 hands tall (48-53 inches, 122-135 centimeters), the Andean is smaller than most full-size horse breeds and yet it has excellent musculature. Typical of small horses, the Andean has short and straight pasterns with compact and tough hooves. Its profile is slightly convex with a short neck, heavy-looking head, and broad forehead. Additionally, its ears are also short and small, which is probably due to the Andalusian influence.

The Andean, with its strength, great stamina, and well-developed sense of balance and agility, is capable of climbing up mountains at medium speeds with ease. In fact, the Andean can carry a 200-pound pack up steep slopes to 16,000 feet above sea level without becoming overly tired. It also has well-formed lungs and a thick coat to protect it from the cold.

The typical color for the Andean is chestnut. When compared with its South American Criollo cousins, the Andean looks rather angular, ccentuated by its broad, muscular back, rounded rump, and low-set tail. Nevertheless, its gait is typical of horses in the region. 


Personality and Temperament


Like most pack horses, the Andean carries heavy loads up mountains without complaint. This docile and undemanding animal is thus very suitable as a beast of burden.




Due to its place of origin, the Andean has the ability to survive even in cold temperatures and high altitudes. Furthermore, it is able to fend for itself and has developed the skill of distinguishing edible from poisonous vegetation and can thereby be left to feed on its own.


History and Background


Originating in the mountainous regions of Peru -- specifically the Andes mountains -- the Andean horse breed developed into an excellent pack and riding horse, capable of riding at altitudes over 9,000 feet above sea level.


There are three main types of Andean horses: the Peruvian Criollo, the Andino and the Morochuco. Despite similarities, however, it is distinct from the Peruvian Paso horse breed -- the national horse of Peru. Just like the South American Criollos, the Peruvian Criollo or the Andean exhibits the Barb and Andalusian influence on account of the Spanish expeditions and colonization efforts in the region. The Andean, however, is distinctly Tibetan.

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