The Altai has a head with a slightly dished profile, set on a relatively short neck. They have a strong back, a well-developed croup, and short cannon bones. They stand an average of 13.2 - 13.3 hands high, and their coat colors are chestnut, bay, black, gray, and sometimes leopard spotted.
Crossing Altais with other breeds usually results in larger, stronger horses that still retain the healthiness and easy management of the Altai. In the past, the Altai has been crossed with Lithuanian, Russian, and Soviet Heavy Draft horses.
The Altai has been influenced significantly by the harsh climate in which it was developed and the need for survival on only year-round pasture grazing. They were bred for the characteristics most needed by the mountain tribesmen and nomads, including strong cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular and skeletal systems. They are also surefooted over steep mountain trails.