Miniature Donkey

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Scientific name: Equus asinus

Other common names: Sicilian Donkey; Miniature Mediterranean Donkey; Sicilian Miniature Donkey; AMMD;American Miniature Mediterranean Donkey

The basics:
According to the National Miniature Donkey Association (NMDA), "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."

Please see the separate pages for the:

English / Irish Donkey
Mammoth Jack Donkey

Appearance / health:
The miniature Sicilian donkey is about 35 inches tall. They vary in body coloration, from black to gray, brown, white, or spotted, but the common characteristics occur in most animals, such as dark markings on the ears and throat, and white markings around the eyes, on the muzzle, on the belly and inner legs. The ears are large and long. The back is straight.

According to the Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University, "The hair ranges from flat to curly to long and shaggy and in texture from smooth to wiry. The hair coat is shed out much later in the summer than that of the horse and serves to protect the donkey from the weather and the flies. Almost all of these donkeys will have a "cross". The cross is a dorsal stripe of darker hair down the length of the back crossed by a shoulder stripe across the top of the body at the withers and showing down the shoulders. Most of the donkeys will have darker markings on the ears, the tip of the tail and around the feet. Some have "Garters" or stripes ringing the legs as well. A few of the donkeys have "collar button" markings, which are dots of black hair on the neck just below the place where the head joins the neck."

A donkey’s health is dependent on its habitat and nutrition. They are typically hardy and resilient but can suffer from health problems if overfed. Vaccinations, de-worming medications, and hoof care are essential in keeping the donkey clean and healthy. The care and monitoring of a veterinarian is recommended.

Behavior / temperament:
Donkeys have become popular as pets and companion animals, even as guard animals because of their high intelligence. They became notorious for being stubborn, although this stubbornness is said to be the result of their strong sense of self-preservation –- no one can force them to do something they perceive as a threat to their survival, especially going into water.

Sicilian Miniatures are known for their sweet, calm, and affectionate disposition. They are good-natured but will kick and bite when threatened. They emit a loud and persistent call referred to as a bray.

Housing / diet:
Donkeys are grazing animals and require pasture for food and fresh air. The recommended pasture area is an acre per donkey per month. Mammoth Jacks require slightly larger areas. A barn or similar enclosure must be available to shelter them from harsh climates. Donkeys do not like rain and snow because they easily chill and become susceptible to disease.

Donkeys are native to sparse deserts, therefore they require vegetation that is low in protein and high in fiber such as Timothy Hay or Bermuda Hay. A salt block should always be available for mineral supplements. Clean fresh water should also be available at all times. Treats like bite-size carrots can be offered sparingly. Donkeys enjoy eating and if allowed to self-feed will become obese and susceptible to various health risks.


affectionate, perfect rural pet, personalities, livestock guard animal, hardy animals, amusing


brays, intact males, hooves


short haired minis, longhaired coats, microchipped, low protein hay, parades, longer winter coat

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