The Argentine Criollo is the result of selective breeding of the baguales, feral horses of the Pampas region of Argentina, by the gauchos of the region for a robust and useful horse. Today this horse is the national horse of Argentina and is a great source of pride for that country.
The Criollo is found in a great variety of colors. In Argentina and Chile horses of tobiano coloring are excluded from registration. These colors do, however, exist in the Criollo and are recognized in Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. Many Argentine breeders favor the gateado (dun, translated as "cat colored"), which is said to be the color of the very toughest horses. A great majority of Criollo horses are either dun or lobuno (grullo), with dorsal stripe and zebra stripes on the legs. Curly coats are also frequently found in Criollo herds.
The Criollo is a strudy, thickset horse with heavy muscling and stands between 13.3 and 15.3 hands. The neck is short and strong, the croup is sloped in Barb fashion, and the tail is carried close to the buttocks whether at work or rest. The mane and tail are thick. The head of the modern Criollo has a straight or a slightly concave profile, whearas, some twenty years ago this horse was always found to have the typical convex-shaped Barb head.