The donkey is frugal, (only on food quantity, not in terms of feed quality or attitude), patient, persevering brave, gentle and calm - in short, a friendly creature.
Many say the donkey is stupid and stubborn. Such stubbornness lies rather on the grounds that the donkey tries to have his way with the utmost determination. Again, this is on its origin and instinctive due to its intelligence.

The donkey, unlike the horse, has less faith in authority and needs therefore a lot of conviction, human sense and a good a relationship in order to cooperate with people. 


The first findings of donkeys come from archaeological records and ancient art. In the Egyptian tomb of King Tutankhamen, archaeologists found depictions of donkey hunts. Donkeys were used for many purposes in the ancient times. Not only were these animals hunted but they were also domesticated. They provided a means of transportation for agricultural goods and humans themselves. 

The domesticated donkey is believed to be the descendent of the wild ass, Equss africanus. More specifically,donkeys come from the Somali and
Nubian wild asses. The first captivity of the wild ass was in Egypt and western Asia dated back as early as 2800 B.C. to 2500 B.C. It was not until 1000 B.C. that the donkey became the common means of transportation through Egypt, Asia , and parts of Europe.

Donkeys even found their way to the New World through the voyage of Christopher Columbus. He aided in the migration of these animals when he brought  four males and two females to America. Once in the Americas, they were bred and produced mule offspring. The mules were used by the Spanish throughout their conquests. It was not until the gold rush thatdonkeys become increasingly important in America. During  this time, donkeys were used for hauling gold around the mountainous mines.

The domestication of donkeys continues to be important today. They are used for transportation of agricultural goods, building materials, and people all over the world.

Worth knowing

The life expectancy is with appropriate care about 35-40 years. In Switzerland, the average life expectancy is due to bad attitude and lack of knowledge, unfortunately, only about 16 years.
Fully grown and resilient is the donkey with about 4-5 years. With 8 years many donkeys are getting quiet in temperament.

Miniature donkeys          up to 105cm
Donkeys                       up to 120cm
Big ass                         from 121cm upwards


Donkeys need summer and winter a stable. It offers protection against rain, snow, heat, extreme cold and flies. The movement area in front of the barn should consist of dry soil, as the donkey is a desert animal. to Moist and soft ground can damage the hooves.
The hooves must be cared of. Regular cut (approximately every 8 weeks) by a  hoof carer is essential.
Coat and skin should be checked regularly for fungus and parasites.
At least 4 times a year a donkey should be dewormed.

The donkey can withstand the dry cold quite well. By contrast, it harms longer wet cold.
Donkeys are herd animals. They need contact with fellows. The herd provides them security and teaches them social behavior.


Donkey has a high need of crude fiber, which is covered with long-stemmed hay and straw, in addition to shrubs or branches and wood.
Also the demand for minerals is high - this can be covered with a lick and / or mineral supplement.
The digestion efficiency of the donkey is high because its origin lies in the southern countries and in the African countries.
Too much proteins (also grass) makes him sick, causing them to be bold and it gets metabolism - and hoof problems.


Reiten              -  1/5 des Körpergewichts des Esel   
Fahren             -   das zweifache des Körpergewichts 
Zucht              -   Bedeckung ab 3.Lebensjahr, dann alle 2 Jahre

The donkey = horse ??

The donkey is a different animal than the horse. Donkeys need a donkeyspecific attitude. Donkeys are more zebra-like than horse-like

Some differences between donkey and horse:

  Ø    The donkey has a complete different look and attitude. It drinks the water in a different way and reacts different in case of danger

  Ø    Its nutrition habits and its metabolism are different.

  Ø    The donkey has another blood count

  Ø    Donkey stallions have teats on the belly and a bigger penis than horses

  Ø    Donkey hoofs are smaller and have a thicker hoof wall and a steeper hoof angle

  Ø    The withers are low and the sternum protrudes further forward

  Ø    The basin has a different shape

  Ø    Donkeys have 31 and horses have 32 chromosomes pair

  Ø    Gestation lasts 365-370 days (horses 335-346 days)

  Ø    Donkeys are more durable, they get up to 45 or even 50 years with appropriate care!

  Ø    Donkeys have 5, horses 6 lumbar vertebra

  Ø    The donkey shows the pain less than the horse (donkey is quiet, horse rather unsettled)

  Ø    Donkeys are not authoritarians, they want to be convinced

  Ø    Donkeys do not lose summer hair in the fall, they will receive additional winter hair

  Ø    Wallows a donkey in the sand, he shakes afterwards its head, the horse the whole body

Earlier mules were especially often used for load transport through the Alps. A cargo handling was before the time of the tunnels and trucks without these animals unthinkable. 

The mule is a cross between a male donkey [jack] and a female horse [mare]
The hinny is also called a mule, but is crossed between a male horse [stallion] and a female donkey [jenny, or jennet]