Rural Heritage Mule Paddock

Mule or Hinny?

by Betsy Hutchins

At first glance a hinny seems to be a mule, but on closer inspection the hinny is more subtly like a horse. The hinny's head and face are often more horselike; the ears are usually shorter and sometimes rounder than a mule's ears.

The hinny usually has a fuller tail and more horselike limbs and feet than the mule, and its body is more like that of a horse. In temperament, the young hinny favors the donkey, tending to be gentler and less nervous than the young mule. Hinnies are more likely to neigh like a horse than to bray. But, as with all equines, their voices are distinctive to the individual animal.

Neither the mule nor the hinny is simply half horse and half donkey, but is an individual animal with completely blended characteristics, plus a few new ones belonging only to itself and not found in either parent.


Betsy Hutchins was secretary of the American Donkey and Mule Society when she wrote this article for The Evener 1998 issue of Rural Heritage.

Subscribe Homepage Contact Us
rural heritage logo    PO Box 2067, Cedar Rapids IA 52406-2067
Phone: 319-362-3027    Fax: 319-362-3046

15 April 2012 last revision