The old-style Canadian Horse somewhat resembles the foundation-style Morgan, having large and expressive eyes, well-structured head and delicate ears. Their build is very muscular, compact and stout, with a naturally animated gaits. They are known for having a heavy and wavy mane and tail, good bone and good feet (all reminiscence of Andalusian and Barb ancestry). They are considered to have soundness, hardiness and endurance. They are willing horses and easy keepers.
Most Canadian Horses are black; bay, chestnut and brown are less common. There are a very few individuals that carry the cream gene and are called "ash white." Their height ranges on average from 14 to 16 hands and they can weigh between 1000–1400 lbs.
Unlike most breeds, there is a set naming system that is used to identify individuals. First comes the prefix, the farm or breeding establishment of which the foal was born into, followed by the sire's name, and lastly the given name for the foal. However, each year a different letter is assigned, and it is by the year's letter that the foal is named. Some older horses do not fall under this naming strategy, but it is now mandatory in naming registered offspring coming from purebred Canadian lines.