Genetically related to other Atlantic horse breeds, it is generally believed that the Garrano is one of the ancestors to the Galician Pony and the Andalusian. Recently, the breed has had infusions of Arabian blood, implemented by the Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture. This has refined the breed, but the ponies have also begun to lose some of their primitive features.
The ponies are used for riding and light farm work. The military used them for pack purposes, and they are also good in harness.
The ponies are strong and hardy, and very sure-footed with the ability to travel over steep and difficult terrain. For their size they have great speed and are used in trotting races.
The pony now has some Arab-type traits, especially in the head which is fine, with a concave profile, although it can be heavy. They have a long neck set on a straight shoulder. The body is short and compact, the hindquarters muscular, and the tail low-set. They have a deep and wide chest, hard hooves, and broad joints.
The pony is usually bay, chestnut or brown in colour and stands between 10 and 14 hh.
Horse breeds thought to originate wholly or partly within the Iberian peninsula.
Some have complex or obscure histories, so inclusion here does not necessarily imply that a breed is predominantly or exclusively Iberian.