What is a Miniature Donkey?

Sheri Cyprus

The Miniature Donkey is a breed of donkey native to Sardinia and Sicily. It's the smallest size of donkey available and is known for its comparative ease of training and gentle nature. Grey-dun, or light and dark shades of gray, is the most common color present in the Miniature Donkey, but other colors are possible.

Miniature Donkeys are sometimes employed to guard against coyotes.
Miniature Donkeys are sometimes employed to guard against coyotes.

Grey, sorrel, black, brown, white and spotted, or pinto Miniature Donkeys are fairly common. Pure black donkeys are rare. Black donkeys mated with other black donkeys may still never produce pure black offspring since gray-dun is so dominant in the breed. Miniature Donkeys may have points, or certain areas of color, around the eyes and on the muzzle. The points may be either light on a dark background or dark on a light background.

The Miniature Donkey is often said to be friendlier and gentler than larger donkey breeds. They are also easier to handle due to their smaller size. The Miniature Donkey is popular in petting zoos or as show donkeys. Miniature Donkeys can be trained to pull a wagon and they sometimes guard in groups to protect birds or smaller farm animals from coyotes.

Donkeys are herd animals that are known to get along well with dogs or other farm animals. The Miniature Donkey shouldn't be raised alone as they are social animals. They do well in a comfortable barn shelter with clean hay, a salt block, a good diet and a supply of fresh water. Most Miniature Donkeys, or "Mini Donks" as they're sometimes affectionately called, eat grain. However, pure alfalfa is usually too rich and difficult for them to digest.

Most Miniature Donkeys have few health problems if they're well cared for and treated with patience and kindness. The Miniature Donkey is known to be quite easy-going as long as it is well socialized. "Mini Donks" should have veterinarian-recommended vaccines and have their hooves trimmed about four to six times a year.

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