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Northern California

Miniature Donkey Breeders

             EST: 2001


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Miniature Donkey Info and facts


The History of the Miniature Donkey

Miniature donkeys originated in the Mediterranean area of Northern Africa in ancient times and more recently from the Islands of Sicily and Sardinia off the west coast of Italy. Over time the distinctions between the two island populations blurred and they are now considered one breed properly called Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys. They are simply referred to as Miniature Donkeys in North America.

Purebred Miniature Donkeys in the Mediterranean area are rapidly disappearing, as the small donkeys are being mixed with larger breeds. For this reason, the Donkeys in North America have global genetic value. Fortunately, numbers in the U.S. and Canada are strong and are increasing since the first Donkeys arrived in the early 1900's. Approximately 2,179 animals were registered in 1995 and the current population is estimated between 17,000 and 20,000 in the U.S.

General Information

The Miniature Donkey is a compact, well-proportioned animal with a sweet, sociable disposition. At maturity (3 years), it is able to pull a cart or carry a pack as it did in its native Sicily and Sardinia.

Maximum height of 36" at the withers measured at 3 years has already been established by the Miniature Donkey Registry. A minimum height of 30" is strongly recommended by NMDA.

While most of an individual's mature height is attained during its first year, a Miniature Donkey is not considered mature in height and strength of bone until three years.

Breeding age for females start at 3 years.

Life span is 35-40 years.

Jack--Intact Male

Gelding--Castrated Male


Foal--Baby donkey



Donkey (& Burro) Vital Signs

Temperature Pulse
Beats Per Minute
Per minute

Adult: Median 98.8 F
Range 97.2-100

Young: Median 99.6
Range 97.8-102.1

Adult: Median 44
Range 36-68

Young: Median 60
Range 44-80

Adult: Median 20
Range 12-14

Young: Median 28
Range 16-48

The "median" value is basically the midpoint of what would be considered the normal range.

A young donkey is generally considered to be an animal which is under 2 years old.