Purebred Peruvian Pasos are born with their ability to gait and show it off soon after they are born. Their gait is completely natural, and they are shown barefoot, which is a requirement for every show.
Pasos come in many colors: chestnut, black, brown, bay, buckskin, palomino, gray, roan or dun; with the solid colors, grays and dark skin considered most desirable. The mane should be abundant, lustrous and fine, either curly or straight. The Peruvian Paso presents a noble, arrogant appearance which makes him preferred for shows and parades. They are commonly seen in the famous Rose Parade!
The Peruvian Paso horse should have an appearance of energy, grace and refinement. Horses should have a well-developed muscular appearance without exaggerations. The head is of medium size with a straight or slightly concave profile; a small muzzle; oblong nostrils which extend easily; dark skin; dark expressive eyes set well apart; moderately marked jowls and medium length ears with fine tips curved slightly inward. The neck is of medium length with a graceful arch to the crest. It is slightly heavier in proportion to the body than with most light saddle breeds. The back is medium to short in length, strong and rounded. Loins broad and well muscled over kidney area. Croup long and wide, fairly muscular with moderate slope and nicely rounded. Tail is set low and viewed from the rear is carried straight, quietly and held close to the buttocks. Chest is wide with abundant muscling. Rib cage well sprung and deep. The barrel is deep and the underline is nearly level from the last rib to the brisket. Flanks are moderately short, full and deep. Quarters should be strong, of medium roundness and width. Shoulders long, very well inclined and well muscled, especially at the withers. Bones of the lower limbs should be well aligned and well articulated so that the long bones line up with each other correctly above and below the joints with the skin tight against the bone and strong, prominent tendons. Pasterns of medium length and springy but not showing weakness. Cannon bones are short. Slightly more angle to the hock than other light saddle breeds.
Peruvian Paso Horses are bred for brio. Brio is often translated as "spirit," but this does not capture the complexity of the term. Brio is a somewhat contradictory temperament, which combines arrogance, spirit, and the sense of always being on parade, with a willingness to please the rider. They have a zest for life and are curious about their surroundings, but they are not spooky.