About donkeys in Quebec
Donkeys belong to the Equidae family, making them a close relative of horses. In fact, they are close enough that the two species can be cross-bred. Crossing a mare with a donkey, which was very valuable when animals were used for labour and traction, will give birth to a mule. Mules are big and strong like horses, but with the milder temperament of a donkey. Crossing a female donkey (jennie) with a horse will yield a hinny, which resembles a small horse but is relatively low performing and frequently undesirable.
The donkey population in Quebec is not listed, but anyone who has every wanted to buy a donkey can tell you that they are rare. There are believed to be only a few hundred donkeys in Quebec, which belong to different types based on their size and colour. However, donkey and breed types cannot reasonably be characterized because of our donkeys’ random and uncertain pedigree. In countries with larger donkey populations, it is still easy to find breed donkeys whose pedigree has genuinely been controlled. However, a distinction can easily be made between large donkeys ranging from 45 to 55 inches at the withers, and miniature donkeys varying between 30 and 35 inches at the withers.
In Quebec, as in many other countries, animal-drawn power has become anecdotal and donkeys’ main purpose has therefore disappeared. This has significantly influenced donkey populations, which are declining almost everywhere across the globe.