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Home > Horses > Miniature Donkey: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Miniature Donkey: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

a miniature donkey standing on the grassy field

Height: 26–36 inches
Weight: 250–450 pounds
Lifespan: 30–35 years
Colors: white, brown, chocolate, sorrel, ray-dun, black
Suitable for: Families with large yards or hobby farms
Temperament: Friendly, intelligent, even-tempered

If you have the space, you have more options available for pets. As long as your town allows it, you can even expand your shortlist to include miniature donkeys. This breed opens up more possibilities because of its small size. Their temperament makes them ideal for families, people who own hobby farms, and children. They are gentle enough to play nice with everyone.

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Miniature Donkey Fouls


It doesn’t matter whether you’re considering getting a Poodle or a miniature donkey, you must research your choice before bringing home a new pet. Remember that rescue organizations for dogs and donkeys exist for a reason. Prospective owners didn’t do their homework and ended up with mismatched pets.

It’s possible that you will need a permit if bringing home a mini donkey, as well as the necessary space. These things often aren’t necessary when bringing home a dog or cat. Nevertheless, it’s essential to think about the financial investment. You’ll likely find that many pets are comparably priced based on the typical factors of lineage, breeding stock, and pre-breeding health screenings.

We recommend sticking with a buyer who undergoes the latter precaution. Miniature donkeys are relatively healthy. After all, their hardiness is one of the things that made these animals so desirable for agriculture. It comes from being a species that endures harsh conditions. Adaptability is baked into their DNA.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Miniature Donkey

1. It’s Called the “Miniature Mediterranean Donkey” for a Good Reason.

You’d think that donkeys only come from Africa or other arid areas of the world. However, these animals have a global presence. The Miniature Mediterranean Donkey hails from the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia.1 They made it across the pond in the 1920s. The rest, as they say, is history.

2. The Miniature Donkey Doesn’t Fit the Typical Stereotype.

Many people think donkeys are stubborn and cranky. Meeting a miniature donkey will shatter that image. They are probably one of the sweetest and gentlest animals you’ll ever encounter. That’s part of what makes them so popular. And aren’t they just so darn cute?

3. The Miniature Donkey Makes an Excellent Therapy Animal.

This fact doesn’t come as a surprise, given our last one. Miniature donkeys make excellent therapy animals because of their disposition and small size.2 They’re easy to transport to different facilities. They’ll also likely make everyone’s day with a visitor people probably won’t expect.

Miniature Donkeys
Miniature Donkeys (Image Credit: Paul F. Kisak, Wikimedia Commons CC 4.0 International)


Temperament & Intelligence of the Miniature Donkey

The miniature donkey is an intelligent animal. This intelligence was a vital trait for staying aware of their surroundings and the presence of potential predators. Thus, donkeys are more likely to assess and act than flee as a defense mechanism. It’s as if they know they must fight when limited options exist. Many theorize this trait made them appear stubborn when they were merely holding their ground.

Are These Animals Good for Families?

Selective breeding brings out the best in domesticated animals for specific jobs. The miniature donkey isn’t necessarily a pack animal. After all, it can only carry 20% of its weight.3 A child may not have a wide window for when they can ride one. Nevertheless, this animal is an excellent choice for families who have no plans on riding it and just want to welcome it into a family that will treat it right.

Does This Animal Get Along With Other Pets?

Early exposure and socialization are essential for any pet. That also applies to the miniature donkey. There are several factors to bear in mind. Burros usually live in small, loose groups without the hierarchy you see in other animal species.

Male donkeys are territorial and will probably disrupt the harmony of the farm. They may even get rough with other pets and livestock. They typically breed once a year, making the spring through early fall the most likely times for conflict. We suggest supervising time with other animals to ensure no one gets hurt.

a miniature donkey eating grass
Image Credit: JACLOU-DL, Pixabay


Things to Know When Owning a Miniature Donkey

Let’s delve into the everyday matters that can affect how well your miniature donkey fits in with your lifestyle and family life. Its size alone will push up your annual expenses. Veterinary care is imperative, although it may cost more since you may have trouble finding a vet.

Food & Diet Requirements

Roughage forms the main component of a Miniature donkey’s diet. The typical recommendation is 2.5% to 3% of dry matter based on the animal’s weight. That could come from whatever grasses grow in your pasture or commercial hay pellet diet. If you stick with the latter, you can plan on going through a 50-pound bag every 2–4 weeks, depending on the animal’s weight and activity level.


As you can imagine, donkeys need tons of space to run and graze. Don’t plan to stick your mini donkey in a small pet and think that they’re getting enough movement throughout the day. They require at least half an acre to graze, but more is preferable.

Miniature donkey
Miniature donkey at SF Zoo 2 (Image Credit: BrokenSphere, Wikimedia Commons CC 3.0 Unported)


Young animals are more malleable than older ones. Gentleness is the key to the game. Training goes smoothest with individuals that have experience with handling pets, even if they aren’t donkeys. It helps to understand how an animal views its world and responds to reinforcement.


Grooming depends on the texture of the Miniature donkey’s coat. Regular brushing is an excellent way to bond with your equine friend and monitor the health of its skin. You should also check its ears and trim its hooves as necessary. You probably won’t have to get shoes for your animal. However, it’s essential to keep up with its routine care to keep it healthy.

Health & Conditions

Miniature donkeys are hardy and relatively free of health issues. That comes from an origin in harsh environments where survival depends on these traits. Regular veterinary care is essential for preventing disease and other health conditions from affecting your animal’s quality of life, though.

Minor Conditions
  • Lice
  • Colic
Serious Conditions
  • Hoof abscesses
  • Besnoitiosis
  • Botulism


Male vs Female

Males and females are comparable in size, so you won’t have issues with weight differences between the sexes. The main things to consider are variations in the temperament of the animals.

The males are more territorial, which can make them more aggressive toward other donkeys, animals, and people. After all, donkeys can bite if provoked.

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Final Thoughts

The Miniature donkey brings together the desirable traits of this animal in a small and more manageable size. That opens up several avenues for inviting this equine friend into your home.

They are gentle and friendly, a characteristic that selective breeding has honed. They are sweet pets and will bond with their owners. Their relatively long lifespans make them lifetime pets that many will appreciate. So, if you’ve got the space for one, why not bring them home and give them the love they deserve?

Featured Image Credit: Gregory Johnston, Shutterstock

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