Sicilian Miniature Donkey

(Equus africanus asinus)

mini donkeys

Sicilian donkeys, also known as Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys, Sardinian donkeys, or miniature donkeys, are from the islands of Sicily and Sardinia in Italy. They are nearly extinct in their land of origin, but are now prevalent in the United States.

Over a span of many years, American miniature donkey breeders have made the breed what it is today. They have bred selectively to achieve a height under 36 inches at the shoulder and a friendly disposition, while maintaining a solid and strong build that makes these donkeys ideal companions. Through breed registries, it is estimated that there over 10,000 Sicilian donkeys in the United States.

Donkeys are quite intelligent animals, making them less likely to frighten than their equine cousins, easily trained, and generally willing companions. They are capable of living in a wide variety of habitats all over the world. Even though Sicilian donkeys are considered a miniature breed, they maintain their proportional strength and are incredibly hardy.  Like other miniature animal breeds, they require less space and forage to thrive. This makes them ideal for small farms, and locations with limited or poor-quality grasses and scarce water supplies. Donkeys kept by humans eat grasses, grains, and hay. In the wild, however, they will forage for leaves, bark, twigs, and even thistles. They can go longer than any other equine without water, only requiring drink every 2-3 days. This has made donkeys an essential part of developing the world, and they are still of great use today.

“A man without a donkey is a donkey himself.”   – Ethiopian proverb


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