Glossary of Terms

Do you know how to speak donkey yet? Take a moment to farm-iliarize yourself with these key words to help guide you in your journey of learning and loving all things donkey (and mule)!

Ass: Short-handed reference to the scientific name used to refer to all subspecies of donkeys. See Taxonomy 

Donkey: An English slang word that become popular around the 1800’s. Likely derived from the Flemish word ‘donnekijn’. Most authorities consider that the word comes from the dun (gray-brown) colour and the suffix ‘key’ meaning ‘small’. Thus ‘ a little dun animal’, a ‘dun-key’

Burro: Spanish word for donkey

Jennet or Jenny: A female donkey

Jack: An intact male donkey (ie. Capable of reproducing) Gelding: This is the term used when a jack is castrated or ‘gelded’.

Mule: The name of the animal that is produced when a jack breeds with a female horse (mare). Sterile in 99.9% cases

Hinny: The name of the animal that is produced when a stallion (intact male horse) reproduces with a jenny. Sterile in 99.9% cases.

Molly: The term used to describe a female mule.

John: The term used to describe a male mule.

Foal: This term is used for a baby equid (<12 months old), including donkeys, horses and mules

Pace: The collective name for a group of donkeys. Also called a herd or a drove

Livestock guardian: an animal (typically a dog, donkey or llama) which is placed with a herd of livestock (typically sheep, goats, poultry, cattle) with the express intent to protect them from predation (typically dogs, coyotes or foxes. Sometimes bears or mountain lions)

Taxonomy: Branch of science concerned with the technical classification of plants and animals. This includes assigning a 7-part scientific name (usually latin words) to help identify animals that are genetically similar (ie. horses & donkeys, cats & lions) The taxonomic classification of donkeys is as follows:

Domain: Eukaryotes (classifies all plants, animals, fungi)

Kingdom: Animalia (classifies all animals)

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia (classifies all mammals)

Order: Perissodactyla (classifies herbivores who have odd-toes and molars; includes rhinos and equines)

Family: Equidae (including all horse-like animals including those who are extinct)

Genus: Equus (classifies donkeys, horses and zebras)

Species: Asinus (domesticated donkey, burro, or ass)

               africanis (African wild donkey, burro, or ass)

Spotted: the term for a donkey with multiple patches of colors most commonly, white and brown.

No-light-points (NLP)- The term used to describe a donkey with darker pigmentation around the muzzle, ears, rings around the eyes, belly and sometimes inner legs (ie. their ‘points’). This is a recessive color pattern for donkeys, meaning it is typically more rare. Most donkeys you see will have light points (ie. white)



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