The History of the Miniature Donkey
Donkeys are the smallest members of the equine family, which also includes horses, zebras, and mules. Since their domestication over 4000 years ago, they have been an important part of human civilization and culture.
Miniature Mediterranean 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.
Purebred Miniature Donkeys in the Mediterranean area are rapidly disappearing as the small donkeys are being mixed with larger breeds. For this reason, Miniature Donkeys in North America have global genetic value. Fortunately, numbers in the U.S. and Canada are strong and are increasing since the first Miniature Donkeys arrived in the United States in the early 1900’s.
The Personality of the Miniature Donkey
From the moment this appealing, long-eared foal is born, its mission is to give love and thrive on attention. They are without a doubt the most adorable, soft & cuddly creatures on earth.
A miniature donkey is affectionate, extremely comical and a joy to own. They are by nature people loving. They truly care for his or her family and are like the family dog. They are playful and will develop lasting bonds with humans. They enjoy people about as much as people enjoy them and tend to greet their owners with displays of affection and attention getting wiles. They will nudge you and nibble on your clothing and “talk” to you with brays, snuffles and snorts.
They learn quickly and are easily trained, due in part, to their willingness to please. They are not so flight oriented that they will hurt themselves or others when startled as is the case with other equine. That intelligence at times makes them appears stubborn. Quite the opposite is true. They simply do not wish to put themselves in harms way.
They make especially good pets and companions. Completely trustworthy around children, the elderly, and the handicapped, Miniature Donkeys (when mature) are easily trained to pull carts and to be ridden by small children. They are companionable with other livestock and become quite attached to their herd mates, as well as their owners. Miniature Donkeys are very popular because so many people realize and value their unique qualities.