This paper applies an extension of classical averaging methods to hybrid dynamical systems, thereby achieving formally specified, physically effective and robust instances of all virtual bipedal gaits on a quadrupedal robot. Gait specification takes the form of a three parameter family of coupling rules mathematically shown to stabilize limit cycles in a low degree of freedom template: an abstracted pair of vertical hoppers whose relative phase locking encodes the desired physical leg patterns. These coupling rules produce the desired gaits when appropriately applied to the physical robot. The formal analysis reveals a distinct set of morphological regimes determined by the distribution of the body’s inertia within which particular phase relationships are naturally locked with no need for feedback stabilization (or, if undesired, must be countermanded by the appropriate feedback), and these regimes are shown empirically to analogously govern the physical machine as well. In addition to the mathematical stability analysis and data from physical experiments we summarize a number of extensive numerical studies that explore the relationship between the simple template and its more complicated anchoring body models.