There are many different donkey breeds across the world, and you must have certainly come across the term ‘mammoth donkey’ at least once.

So what exactly is a mammoth donkey? and how are they different from commonly found standard donkeys?

Let’s jump deep into the topic and find out.

What is a Mammoth Donkey?

The mammoth donkey, also known as the American mammoth donkey is a donkey breed developed in the early days of the United States for agricultural use. During the late 1700s and early 1800s, George Washington and Henry Clay were gifted and purchased a small number of donkeys of European breeds such as Catalonian, Andalusian, and Majorcan from Spain. Crossing these different breeds together created a large donkey that is known today as the mammoth donkey. The breed registry was established in the year 1888 and a second registry was created in 1908, and the two were merged in 1923.

The earlier breed requirement for height was 14 hands for males and 13.2 hands for females. This was due to a decline in the number of animals during the 1950s. However, during the 1980s when the breed (number of animals) started to incline, the height requirements went up and males are now expected to stand at 14.2 hands and females at 14 hands. But in reality, some have been known to be taller than this.

The weight of a mammoth donkey can range from 900 to 1200 pounds. They are sturdy and tall and have quality bone structures. Their ears are especially long, measuring on average 33” from tip to tip.

For mammoth donkeys, black used to be considered the only acceptable color.  However, there has been a color change acceptance and that sorrel is now accepted as well.

Difference between a mammoth donkey and a standard donkey

The difference between a mammoth donkey and a standard donkey is mostly due to their size, but there’s also a breed difference. While the standard donkey isn’t a breed as such, it can be classified more as a ‘type of donkey’.

Over the years, most breeds of donkeys haven’t been kept up as they have with horses. Standard donkeys typically come in three different sizes. They are usually classified as small standards (36.01-40″), standard donkeys (40.01-48″), and large standards (48.01-56”). Whereas the mammoth donkeys start at about 56” and typically go up from there.

Riding a mammoth donkey

In the earlier days, the main purpose of the mammoth donkey was to help develop draft mules for agricultural use. In recent years, people have realized how hardy and sure-footed the mammoth donkeys are and they have started using them for riding.

They are great animals for riding as they don’t tend to be spooky and are known for their surefooted ability around poor terrain. They also make great trail riding animals for the same reasons. Mammoth donkeys not only make good riding animals but are also great for pulling buggies or wagons.

How much land is needed for a mammoth donkey

A mammoth donkey will need an acre of land to be able to graze. Since they are herd animals, they do best in a herd group with at least one other donkey. However, they also will be companions with cattle, goats, horses, and ponies. Care must be taken though that the donkey doesn’t hurt any of its smaller companions, such as goats, ponies, and even dogs.

Mammoth donkeys also need to have some sort of shelter from the rain, wind, snow, and harsh sun. Three-sided shelters work well in most areas.

Cost of a mammoth donkey

The purchase price of a mammoth donkey can vary not only by location but also by how well the donkey is trained, along with if the donkey is registered or not.

Breeders of mammoth donkeys are a great place to find them and they typically offer donkeys that are registered. Pricing for them from a breeder will also depend on if the donkey is a baby freshly weaned from its mother, or if it’s an older donkey that is perhaps trained to ride and has had success in riding.

A person can also get on different websites such as or and shop for different mammoth donkeys or get an idea about the pricing. The average registered mammoth donkey will cost about $4,000, but some have sold for much, much more.

Mammoth donkeys can also be bought from local auction events based on your location and availability.


The mammoth donkey has been around for many years, and while it isn’t the oldest donkey by any means, it has been an extremely important donkey for the American agriculture industry. In more recent years, it has become commonly a great riding donkey as well, known to be able to carry its rider over poor terrains due to its sure-footedness and hardiness. It isn’t a spooky animal, which makes it great for riders of all experiences, and it has also become popular among trail riders. The mammoth donkey isn’t overly big or tall like the name implies, but is taller than most other donkeys.


  • Julianna R

    Julianna is an ardent animal lover who has multiple experiences dealing with farm animals. She has worked as a pet care specialist and loves animals that come in all shapes and sizes. She is a writing enthusiast too and loves to tell her stories to the world through her words.

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