Difference between donkey, donkey and mule


The donkey is a world heritage site, an integral part of the environment and culture.

It has long ears, erect mane and various shades and thick hair. They are docile to unsuspected limits, with an unquestionable endurance capacity, rough and delicate, coarse and tender, intelligent and grateful.

For approximately 3000 years in Spain, they share their life with man. The ancestors of the donkeys were the wild asses of Africa (Nubia and Somalia) and in Asia (Sirius, Onagro, Kulan, Kiang).

The Donkey (Equus asinus) It is derived from the wild ass of North Africa (Equus africanus). It is generally used as a pack animal in southern Europe. Many donkeys also live in Ireland, where they were introduced from Spain in exchange for horses during the Napoleonic war. The domestic donkey (known to everyone as a donkey) is a Pergdactyl Ungulate (O. Perissodactyla) group that includes horses, zebras, rhinos and tapirs, of which there are no truly wild specimens in Europe. It belongs to the family of equidae (F. Equidae), which are characterized by having a single finger, with a wide hoof on each limb.

In ancient times there was a commercial route that ran from the Pacific to the Mediterranean, known as the Silk Road (it lasted several years). Among the draft animals, was the donkey, which when passing through the territories where the wild donkeys lived, crossed with them and at the end of the trip there were already mixtures of the different races.

For more than 6,000 years the donkey was tamed, being used as a beast of burden. There were other times, when the donkey could be distinguished from the mule. From the crossing of the donkey with a mare the mule comes out and the horse with a donkey, the bourgeois comes out.

In various parts of the world, we talk about wild donkeys, but these are domestic, that were abandoned or that escaped from their masters and that reproduced in freedom.

In Spain there are races such as Encartaciones, Mallorquín, Rucio, Alazana,. even though The three native races are: Zamorano Leonés, Cordobes Andaluz and Catalan.

Difference between donkey and donkey

Many times we will have wondered if what we have before us is a donkey or a donkey, or what are the characteristics of one and the other that can allow us to differentiate them. The answer is very simple: there is no key to distinguish them, because the only difference is in the way they refer, since it is the same animal, Equus africanus. “Donkey” (from Latin “burricus”, Small horse) is a synonym for“ ass ”(from Latin“asinus”), Which is commonly used in a more vulgar way.

The donkey or donkey It is an animal belonging to the equidae family, along with horses or zebras. In comparison to these first ones, donkeys have a smaller size (although they vary considerably), shorter mane, so they do not fall on the neck, and longer ears that facilitate the dissipation of body heat. They are also longer than horses and can reach 40 years.

Its most common coloration is grayish tones, being able to reach black and white. Brown tones are also common. They often have lighter colors around the nose, eyes and belly, with two darker cross-shaped stripes on their backs.

They differ two types of donkeys, domestic and wild. The former were for a long time considered as a different species, but eventually it was qualified as a subspecies (Equus africanus asinus). The donkey is commonly used for shooting and riding because it has a physical performance superior to that of the horse and is less expensive to maintain.

The term "mule" also often causes confusion along with "donkey" and "donkey." However, unlike these two previous ones that were equivalent, the mule is the result of the crossing between two species, the donkey and the horse, more specifically, it is the result of cross between a donkey (male) and a mare.

The mule It also belongs to the equidae family. Its main characteristic is that they are sterile as a result of the union of two different species with different chromosome endowments (64 chromosomes in horses and 62 in donkeys). What do we mean by this? Well, we humans have 46 chromosomes, but our ovules and sperm contain only half (23 chromosomes) so that, at the time of reproduction, when these gametes bind, the chromosomes match their respective counterparts and become add up the total of 46 chromosomes that each of us have.

Returning to donkeys and horses, having a different number of chromosomes the pairing will not occur correctly and some of them will be loose without forming pairs (pups with 63 chromosomes are produced). In addition, since they are of different species they can have the genes within the chromosomes distributed in different ways, so that when the homologs are joined (for example, chromosome 4 of the donkey and chromosome 4 of the horse) they can be carrying information for different characters , instead of having information for it, as it should happen. Thus, the result is different problems in the offspring, such as sterility in mules.

Despite its sterility, the mule has a great strength and endurance, so it is an animal widely used for loading and transporting. It has common characteristics both with the donkey (thick head, long ears or short mane) and with the horse (height and shape of the body, the shape of the neck and the rump, uniformity of the fur and teeth). In addition, it emits sounds similar to the brays and the characteristic whinny horse.

The bourgeois

Exists another hybrid between donkeys and horses, but unlike the mule, it is the result of union between a donkey and a horse. This hybrid is called bigeye and is less frequent than the mule due to the difficulties of the donkey in childbirth, being smaller than the mare, which is believed to be a factor that limits the size of the fetus. The bourgeois It differs from the mule by having a smaller body size, smaller ears, a longer and thinner head and a body in relation to the disproportionately large legs. In addition, as in the case of the mule and for the same reason, the bourgeois are sterile.

Main differences between donkeys, donkeys, mules and bourgeois

In case you still do not know how you could differentiate them with the naked eye, we will summarize their main characteristics by making a comparison that we hope will clear your doubts. Taking as reference the horses, probably the clearest example that we can all have in the head, we can conclude the following about the main differences between donkey, donkey, mule and bourgeois, remembering that the first two are two names for the same animal:

What differentiates an ass from a donkey?

When we talk about donkeys we can all evoke the image of an animal with characteristic long ears and tail endowed with great fur, which has traditionally been expanded as a pack animal. Well, when we talk about donkeys, although we may not know this fact, we are talking about the same animal, since there is no difference, both terms are synonyms and are used to designate the same animal.

The words donkey and donkey are used indifferently to speak of the same species of animal: Equus africanus asinus. In any case we are talking about an animal that together with zebras and horses is part of the equidae family.

Donkeys and donkeys

  • Of smaller size.
  • Shorter mane.
  • Longer ears.
  • Dark-colored fur in the shape of a cross on the back.
  • Clear colorations around the nose, eyes and belly.
  • Longer (up to 40 years).
  • Hybrids between donkey and mare.
  • They are sterile.
  • Thick head, long ears and short mane, like those of the donkey.
  • Height and shape of the body similar to those of the horse, as well as the shape of the neck and rump, the uniformity of the fur and the denture.
  • It emits donkey-like brays and horse whinny.
  • Hybrids between donkey and horse.
  • Smaller than the mule.
  • Ears smaller, but larger than those of the horse.
  • Long thin head.
  • Body in relation to the disproportionately large legs.

For example, in the image below we can observe a mule while pulling a plow, because its strength and resistance are used throughout the world for field work such as plowing the land.

If you want to read more articles similar to Difference between donkey, donkey and mule, we recommend that you enter our category of pets.

Differences in the etymology of donkey and donkey

The etymology can be defined as the origin of the words and the reason for their existence, and although donkey and donkey are terms that designate the same animal, as we have already been able to clarify, yes that they have different origins:

  • The word ass comes from the Latin term "asinus'" whose meaning refers directly to this animal.
  • The word donkey comes from the Latin term "burricus" whose meaning is "small horse".

Are mule and bourgeois terms that refer to the same species?

"Mule" is another term that is widely used, but in this case it does not refer to a donkey or donkey (Equus africanus asinus) but to an animal resulting from the cross between a donkey and a mare.

Nor does the word bourgeois indicate that we are facing a donkey or a donkey, but it refers to a hybrid between donkey and horse, being much more complex to reproduce this specimen compared to the mule.

Therefore, we can conclude that donkey and donkey are the same animal, but mule and bourgeois are distinct animals fruits of the cross between horses and donkeys.

If you want to read more articles similar to Differences between donkey and donkey, we recommend that you enter our Comparisons section.

Donkey, donkey and mule, are they the same?

In other words, both donkey and donkey are words that designate the same animal, a mammal of the equidae family. The mule, however, is an animal with an existence independent of the previous two, and is the result of a cross between a donkey and a mare.

Because both the donkey (donkey) and the mule can be very well used by man, It is important to know their singularities for later use.

Apr 19, 2017

Horses are a species within the Equine family, mammals, that suck at birth, herbivores, that eat grass, ungulates, legs with hooves, and periodactyls, that is, with an odd number of fingers. But there are some curious facts about them ...

Do you know how to differentiate a pony from a horse?

The pony, which belongs to the same species as the horse, is distinguished mainly by its height, not exceeding 142 cm and normally not less than 102 cm. It is different from the foal, which is the breeding of the mare and the first months of life are also small.

Do horses and donkeys belong to the same family?

The equidae family includes both horses ( Equus caballus), like donkeys ( Equus asinus).

And what about the zebras?

The zebras (Equus quagga) are also included in the equine family.

So ... Can they reproduce among them?

Yes, these animals can reproduce among themselves. But the animals resulting from crossing a donkey with a mare or a horse with a donkey are sterile, that is, they cannot have offspring because their reproductive system does not produce gametes (ovules and sperm) of sufficient quality.

But nevertheless…

Mules are capable of maintaining a pregnancy when an embryo transfer is performed, since it has all its functional organs.

And what are the calves of their crosses called?

When we cross a donkey with a mare we will get a mule

When we cross a horse with a donkey we will get bourgeois

The crossing of zebras with horses or donkeys is called cebroid, zebrasnoif you cross a zebra with a donkeyCebrallaIf it's with a horse.

How do we differentiate a mule from a bourgeois?

The bourgeois are smaller than the mules with the face similar to that of a horse, long and thin. It does not have ears as long as donkeys and its tail is more similar to that of a horse than that of a donkey. It has slightly slender shapes and its size approximates that of the donkey. It is believed that its size is restricted by having been gestated by a donkey, whose matrix is ​​smaller than that of a mare, which limits the growth of the fetus.

While the mules resemble the donkey in its thick and short head, long ears, finer limbs with small helmets and a little dense mane and hairless tail at its root.

However, the mule has some equine characteristics, such as its height, or the uniformity of its fur.