The Paso Fino: All About This Unique Breed

The Paso Fino is a breed of horse from Puerto Rico who is prized for many things. Some of the main reasons why this breed is so desirable include:

  • This breed’s small size
  • The natural 5th gait
  • The admirable stamina and endurance of the breed
  • This breed’s smooth gaits

Because of these reasons, the Paso Fino is a breed of horse who has become very popular across both North and South America.

In this guide I will discuss:

  • What the Paso Fino is
  • Basic Information about the breed
  • How large they are
  • What colors they can be
  • The history of the breed
  • What the Paso Fino is used for and good at
  • The average lifespan of the breed
  • Fun facts on the Paso Fino breed

What Is The Paso Fino?

The Paso Fino is a warmblooded breed of horse whose origins land in the country of Puerto Rico. These small horses are known for being naturally gaited and are able to perform a unique 4-beat gait. This unique gait is mainly known as the Paso Fino and can be seen in 3 speeds: paso fino/classic, paso corto, and paso largo. This breed is popular all over the United States and other countries because of their beauty, small size, and smooth gaits.

Basic Breed Information

Height14 to 15 hands high
Weight1,000 pounds (455 Kilograms)
Country of OriginPuerto Rico
Acceptable Coat Colors/PatternsAny color or pattern

How Big are Paso Finos?

Paso Finos are pretty small compared to most other horse breeds. With most other horse breeds standing around 16 hands high on average, the Paso Fino only stands between 14 and 15 hands high. This means that some members of this breed are small enough to be considered ponies.

Because these horses are small and light in build, they aren’t very heavy. This means that they only really weight up to 1,000 pounds (455 Kilograms) on average.

What Colors & Patterns are Seen in this Breed?

The Paso Fino doesn’t really have any specific coat color requirements meaning they can be virtually any color or pattern under the sun. The coat colors and patterns that these horses can be include:

  • Black
  • Bay (can be blood bay, black bay, dark bay, and light bay)
  • Chestnut (can be sorrel, liver chestnut, light chestnut, or flaxen chestnut)
  • Gray (can be flea-bitten)
  • White or Albino
  • Buckskin
  • Palomino
  • Red Roan (strawberry roan is acceptable too)
  • Blue Roan
  • Bay Roan
  • Cremello
  • Perlino
  • Grullo
  • Dun
  • Overo
  • Tovero
  • Tobiano

The History of the Paso Fino

This history of this breed first begins in the country of Puerto Rico in the 1500s. It was during this century that the Spanish Conquistadors brought their Spanish horses to Puerto Rico. The first of these horses to reach Puerto Rico came there in the year 1509 by Martin de Salazar.

More and more of these Spanish horses came to Puerto Rico and other parts of South America during the years 1511, 1512, 1517, and 1524. Among these imported horses were 8 stallions

By the mid 1550s, selective breeding had begun and gaited horses were seen across South America. It is believed that the Paso Fino’s ancestors were crosses between the Spanish Jennet (now extinct), the Andalusian, and maybe the occasional Barb.

These horses were bred for agility, stamina, speed, and their smooth gait. In those days it was often necessary to travel long distances by horseback so having good stamina and a smooth, fast gait made riding through the country quite easy and effective.

What are these Horses Used for/Good At?

Cajamarca, Peru – February 8, 2016: Peruvian paso horse with costumed rider prances in parade in Cajamarca, Peru on February 8, 2016

These horses are used for a few different things. Though the official association and registry for the breed hosts a number of different competitions for the breed, there are only a few main uses for these horses.

The main uses for the Paso Fino horse include:

Pleasure Riding

Many people enjoy these horses just for general riding because of their bright personalities, fun gaits, and ability to be used for many different things.

Sometimes, people will just have horses to ride for fun and the Paso Fino is a great choice as a pleasure horse.


There are special shows held annually for the Paso Fino where horses and riders will show off their teamwork and ability to perform the 3 speeds of the Paso Fino’s gait.

Trail Riding

Because of the great stamina of these horses and the smoothness of their gait, these horses are a great choice when looking for a breed to use on the trails. Not only will an extra gait make riding these horses more interesting and fun, but you and your horse can practice this gait on the trails any time!

What is the Average Lifespan of a Paso Fino?

Because of their diverse lineage, the life expectancy of a Paso Fino is generally pretty long. On average, the Paso Fino will live for about 30 years with some healthy members of the breed living to be up to 40 years old!

Fun Facts on this Breed

  • The Paso Fino has no specific color requirements or guidelines
  • There are over 200,000 Paso Finos in the world
  • Some Paso Finos can be sold for over $100,000
  • They are sometimes called the smoothest riding horses in the world

Hailey Sipila

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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