Just sitting in my dining area the other day on a cold January morning, snow on the ground and having some pancakes doused in some pretty good Jacked Up Syrup. As I sat there staring at my half-pup/half-grown Labradoodle, Daphne, I couldn't help but wonder when she was going to reach her full size and maturity (prayerfully soon).
Then I started remembering when my favorite miniature donkey, LoveBug, was just a foal. It's hard to remember anymore how long LoveBug was a foal and how long it took her to reach her full size and become a mature jennet.
What I do know is that miniature donkeys have one of the longest gestation periods for a mammal in the world. With that being the case, mini donkeys do a fair bit more growing in the womb than most other babies.
Miniature donkeys gestate for 11-13 months… can you imagine(lol)? Big ol bundle of hooves and teeth just rolling around in your belly for that length of time??
But my oh my miniature donkey foals just might be the cutest babies in all the animal kingdom. But that is just my opinion.
So, back to my original question, how big do miniature donkeys get?
...and yes I had to look up the definition of withers, lol. It's a fancy term for “shoulder blades area” in the quadruped community.
Donkeys that grow taller than 36 inches at the withers cannot be registered as miniature donkeys.
The typical average miniature donkey will measure between 32-34 inches with some even being as small as 26 inches. (Just as a frame of reference, standard donkeys measure between 36-48 inches and mammoth donkeys measure 54 inches and up.)
Miniature donkeys’ size make them quite a bit easier to manage, thus making them ideal pets.
So now that we have seen the “down to the nitty gritty” answer, 26-36 inches, I wonder what the smallest miniature donkey measures in at?
We all know what the biggest Miniature donkey would be, but how about its larger cousin the Mammoth? I wonder what the biggest Mammoth donkey measures in at?
Honestly, I can't get enough when it comes to donkeys. Learning about them, being around them, and getting to write about them makes me pretty happy.
I recently came across an article by Leah Patton in The Brayer, “Foal Proportions”, that I thought was very interesting and pertinent to sizing in donkeys and how they will be proportioned as they grow. She writes that “foals are born with nearly the same length legs that they will have all their lives”.
Lol, can you imagine?
With these long legs right off the bat, they have to spraddle out to be able to even graze until their neck grows to proportionate size. Always a cute and funny sight.
She continues on to write how their proportions when they are a foal won’t change much as they grow. What is interesting though is that foals will alternate between being higher in the rump and shoulders alternately as they hit growth spurts. Ain't that a kick? A high-rumped miniature donkey foal running around?
That's all I want all day, but those proportions are not exactly champion material.
Miniature donkeys are foals for the first 12-ish months of their lives and will mature to full size between 2-3 years old and can weigh as much as 200-350 lbs.
I thought it might be fun to search around on the ol Guiness Book of Records to see if I could find some information on the smallest miniature donkey on record. To my delight, my efforts took me to the information of one, KneeHi. KneeHi measures in at roughly 25 inches. KneeHi is just barely above 2 feet at the withers. Talk about adorbs. Check out this one of kind mini donk:
So searching out the world's smallest miniature donkey got me wondering about the other end of the size spectrum. Now we know that miniature donkeys dont grow very tall, so how about checking out their cousins, Mammoths? So back to Guiness. According to the Guiness Book of Records, the largest Mammoth donkey recorded is known as Romulus. Romulus measures in at a whopping 17 hands at the withers (A hand is about 4 inches, it's how equines are measured). He is about 5’8” at his shoulders, which is roughly about my height. That is down right huge for a donk! Check this big boy out:
This article was a lot of fun to write, I don’t know if you could tell or not ;-)
The measurements of miniature donkeys and their relatives is a fascinating road to travel down. I hope you had fun reading it too.
For more info on miniature donkeys or if you are in the market for fun miniature donkey merch click here and happy browsing!
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