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A look at the different races

We can find two types of races : domestics'ones and wild's ones. To domestic was a long process made by Humans for long long years for using donkey's qualities for helping them.

Wild races (asses)

The African wild ass

These asses are to be found essentially in the arid areas of the Horn of Africa. There are usually considered to be two sub-species : Nubian and Somalian asses.

In Roman times, the crossing of domestic donkeys, which have reverted to the wild, with Algerian wild ass has practically led to the disappearance of this wild species. In similar fashion, the wild asses of Nubia and East Sudan are on the way to extinction. It is considered, however, that in Ethiopia some 2000 of these animals, and in Somalia around 250, still survive in the very dry and stony regions of these countries. Competition with domestic donkeys for the use of the all too rare pastures is a factor limiting their survival.

 

The Asian wild ass

This is generally called "dziggetai", from its Mongolian name. The scientific name is equus hemionus, from the Greek word meaning "half-ass." Its origin is disputed, but nowadays it belongs more to the ass than the horse family.

Domestic races (donkeys)

The African race, which perhaps originated in Egypt, spread over the whole world because of its aptitude for work. Measuring I to 1.5 metres, its coat is usually mouse-grey, marked with a darker cross, but other colours exist (particularly white).

French races

In France there exist, to date, six races of donkey officially recognized by the national studs :

  • The Berry donkey
  • The grey Provence donkey
  • The Pyrenean donkey
  • The Cotentin and the
  • Normandy donkeys