The term ‘miniature donkey’ is quite obvious. You can guess it is some type of donkey that is small or mini when compared to other donkeys. In this article, we are going to look at what is a miniature donkey and what makes it different from other donkey breeds.

What is a miniature donkey?

Miniature donkeys are also known as Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys. They average 32-34” with a maximum height of 36”. They make great companion animals. They are originally from the Mediterranean area of North Africa and Italy, more specifically the islands of Sardinia and Sicily.

They come in many different colors and markings, including but not limited to chestnut, spotted, cream, gray, brown, and black. They were originally used to turn grinding stones for grain inside of the peasants’ houses. They would be blindfolded and attached to the grain mills and walk endless circles grinding the grain. They were also used to help carry water from village wells as well as pack supplies into mountains. The miniature donkeys typically weigh between 200 – 400 pounds. They can carry about 50 pounds, more or less depending on their size.


What is the difference between a miniature donkey and a standard donkey?

The major difference between a miniature donkey and a standard donkey is in their size. Standard donkeys usually come in three different sizes; small standards (36.01-40″), standard donkeys (40.01-48″) and large standards (48.01-56”). The miniature donkey is shorter than 36” in height. Anything above the 36” is then considered a standard donkey.

Miniature donkeys as pets

The miniature donkey is a domesticated breed that is very friendly and loyal. They tend to form attachments to their caregivers just like a cat or dog. They typically have thick coats that make great for petting and rubs. They are gentle, extremely trainable, and very curious.

Being that they are naturally friendly, they are known for giving hugs. The National Miniature Donkey Association promotes the use of miniature donkeys to be used as therapy animals for sick, elderly, and handicapped people. They can be seen taken around children’s hospitals and nursing homes so that people and kids can pet them.

How much land does a miniature donkey need?

A miniature donkey will need approximately a large backyard to be able to graze. However, they are herd animals and do better with other donkeys, horses, goats, sheep, or even cattle. In this case, you may need a larger area than just a backyard for your donkey. Sometimes, donkeys will try to hurt other animals that are smaller than them, such as goats, and will need to be monitored until it is known that they won’t hurt their smaller companions. Since donkeys don’t have a waterproof coat, they need to have some sort of shelter from the rain, wind, snow, and harsh sun. A three-sided shelter works for most areas in the United States.

Miniature donkey-mother and baby

Price of a miniature donkey

The purchase price of a miniature donkey can vary depending on how the donkey is trained, registered or not, location, age, gender, and size. Cuteness can also play a huge role in pricing.  Prices will range from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand. Some people luck out by going to auctions and they can find a miniature donkey for cheap, and the donkey still has training. However, sometimes there is a high demand and other people are also bidding on the donkey and the prices go very high.

Another great resource to find miniature donkeys are breeders or people who breed donkeys. These donkeys will most often be registered and their base pricing may be higher. However, they often breed for certain things like temperament, genetics, size, and perhaps even color. Pricing will vary, as a freshly weaned baby off its mother will have a very different price versus a donkey that is perhaps trained to pull a buggy or even ride (for kids).

To get a better idea of the pricing in your area, visit websites such as and, and maybe you’ll find some great deals as well.

An average registered miniature donkey will cost about $1,000, however, some have sold for much more. A healthy, female donkey that is ready to breed will be usually more expensive than a retired, gelded male.


Miniature donkeys are cute, cuddly, friendly, and make great pets. They are apt for children to ride if they are big enough and trained correctly, however they aren’t big enough for adults to ride. They are overall easy keepers and have a great personality that is docile and even-tempered, which makes them great for taking to show kids at schools as well as even nursing homes for the elderly. They’re small enough to care for in a backyard (if just one) but still are a livestock and will enjoy being out with other animals such as ponies, goats, other donkeys, etc. These donkeys are the perfect size for being a pet and will still have the great personality of a standard donkey.


  • Surej S

    Surej is an avid animal lover and our associate editor at Donkey on Farm. His favorites are donkeys, cats and cows.

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