Rural Heritage Mule Paddock

Four Kinds of Donkey

by Paul & Betsy Hutchins

Donkeys range in size from 300-pound minis to American Mammoth jackstock, which may be as big as draft horses and capable of handling similar work. Mammoth jacks are often crossed with draft mares, most commonly Belgian or Percheron, to produce draft mules.

miniMiniature Mediterranean Donkey—Originally imported from Sicily and Sardinia and colloquially referred to as Sicilian donkey. A miniature must be less than 36" at the withers to be registered as miniature by the American Donkey and Mule Society.

Standard Donkey—Most donkeys in the world are in this size range. Often called burros, they stand between 36.01" and 48" at the withers and are further divided into:

  • Small Standard—36.01" to 40"
  • Standard—40.01" to 48"
  • Large Standard—48.01" to 54" (jennets) and 48.01" to 56" (jacks)

Mammoth or American Standard Jack Stock—This breed is the largest donkey in the world. Jacks must stand 56" or more, and jennets must be 54" and up. The correct name for this breed is American Standard, but the common name is Mammoth, which helps avoid confusion with standard donkeys.

American Spotted Ass—Donkeys of all sizes can have pinto or spotted coloring. The term American Spotted Ass is a trademark for asses registered with the American Council of Spotted Asses, which is attempting to establish foundation stock for this breed.


Paul and Betsy Hutchins are co-founders of the American Donkey and Mule Society
and co-authors of The Definitive Donkey. If you have photos of standard donkeys, mammoth jack stock, or spotted asses working in harness, please contact

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23 March 2003
25 October 2011 last revision