While there are over 30 breeds of donkeys recognized worldwide, most donkeys in North America are not bred to any specific standard; in other words, most donkeys we encounter are essentially ‘mixed breeds’. Instead, it is more common to classify donkeys by their size.
The concept of ‘breeds’ is something humans have created over thousands of years. It’s all about selecting specific traits to differentiate the species.
Interestingly, donkeys haven’t undergone as much selective breeding compared to horses, cats, and dogs, mainly because society hasn’t valued them in the same way. This lack of attention has led to significant issues like backyard and in-breeding, impacting the welfare of donkeys in North America and contributing to the prevalence of ‘mixed’ breeds.
In North America, donkeys are classified based on size rather than traditional breeds. Mediterranean Sicilian miniature donkeys and the American mammoth jack are among the most popular breeds in North America. We have miniature, standard and mammoth donkeys at the DSC!