Home of The National Miniature Donkey Association
The perfect gentle pet for children.
The National Miniature Donkey Association is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989. The Association's goals are to protect and promote the Miniature Mediterranean breed and to provide an educational forum for owners and breeders on donkey care and management. NMDA publishes a bi-annually magazine, the ASSET, which is included with membership.
Miniature Donkey jennets are devoted mothers
Imagine the perfect pet — imagine 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, affectionate, soft & cuddly creatures in the animal kingdom.
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 herdmates, as well as their owners. Miniature Donkeys are very popular because so many people realize and value their unique qualities; they are also a good financial investment — an investment you can love!
Are You Considering Buying a Miniature Donkeys
Or have you just purchased your first pair?
For more information, read our advice for several things you need to know to be sure you and your new equine will get off to a good start.
Miniature Donkeys Origins
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.
Register Your Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys
The Miniature Donkey Registry (MDR) was created in 1958 by Mrs. Bea Langfeld of Omaha, Nebraska and contains the most complete record of Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys in the world. Mrs. Langfeld gave the responsibility of administering the MDR to the American Donkey and Mule Society (ADMS) in 1987 when she could no longer oversee its day to day operations. Please contact ADMS for information on how to register your animals.
The Miniature Donkey Registry
Leah Patton, Registrar
c/o The American Donkey and Mule Society
P.O. Box 1210
Lewisville, Texas 75067
NOTE: As of August, 2010 the MDR now requires either microchipping or DNA prior to registration as a form of permanent identification.
NMDA Microchip Placement Recommendation: At the base of the left ear near the poll.
Miniature Donkeys Do Not Make Suitable Livestock Guardians
The article Livestock Guardians is educational as well as a "warning" ... download Miniature Donkeys As Livestock Guardians? (pdf).
Help for Donkeys
There are many wonderful organizations that rescue and care for donkeys and they need your support! The Internet is a great source of these registered charities, as are all the donkey and mule associations.
List of Donkey Sanctuaries and Rescue Organizations »
Care & Management
Miniature Donkeys require a small amount of grain, good quality hay, a mineral salt block, and fresh, clean water.
Access to pasture for grazing and exercise is preferable and should be a consideration. They should always have shelter from rain, snow, wind, hot sun, and flies! It should be dry and draft-free. Fencing need only be four feet high, woven wire is considered a safe and popular choice. Donkeys can withstand cold temperatures as long as they have shelter and are fed properly.
Miniature donkeys are "herd" animals. To avoid undue stress and loneliness, it is strongly recommended they not be kept singly but with another Miniature Donkey or other animal as a life-long friend.
Facts & Figures
Life Span: 25 - 35+ years
Weight: 200 - 350 pounds at maturity
Height: Average 32" - 34" at the withers, maximum 36"
Gestation: 11-1/2 - 13 months
Birth: Single baby, averages 20-30 pounds at birth. Foals are up and nursing within 30 minutes and are weaned between 5-6 months of age.
Reproduction: Male donkeys are referred to as "jacks," female donkeys are "jennets," and baby donkeys are called "foals".
Jennets should not be bred until they are physically mature at approximately 3 years of age. They have heat cycles every 18-21 days throughout most of the year.
Miniature Donkeys are remarkably hardy and healthy. They do require preventative vaccinations, should be wormed regularly, and have their hooves trimmed every 2-3 months.
Miniature Donkeys are predominantly grey-dun with the characteristic "cross." They also come in darker shades of grey, brown, black, sorrel, white and spotted. Usually they have light tan markings around their muzzle and eyes, known as "points". However, some have dark points.
NMDA Gelding Incentive Program
While the Gelding Incentive Program is primarily intended for those who need assistance with veterinary expenses, the eventual goal is to actively promote the gelding of as many Miniature Donkeys as possible - everyone is invited to participate including Miniature Donkey rescues.
For details, visit NMDA Gelding Program.