Mammoth Donkeys - Biggest, Largest Breed of Donkey in the World
An article appeared in our local paper and caught my eye. There was a picture of Oklahoma Fresh Start, a proud Mammoth Donkey mum, with her beautiful baby Easter Magic at the only Donkey Trail Riding Centre in Europe which is quite near to where I live in the UK. Easter Magic is the first Mammoth Donkey foal to be born there. At the foot of this article, you will find a link to an online version of the story about Easter Magic where you can see photos of her – these are copyright so I cannot reproduce them here. I had never heard of American Mammoth Donkeys until I read this article and wanted to find out more. Whilst I am no expert, I wanted to share the information I have managed to find out with you.
The Largest Breed of Donkey in the World
Further Reading About Mammoth Donkeys
Although this book does not deal exclusively with Mammoth Donkeys (it also covers miniature and standard breeds), it is the perfect book for anyone considering owning a donkey or wanting to find out more about them, their care and their needs. It is detailed enough to be useful for Veterinarians but an easy enough read to be enjoyed by everyone.
The World's Largest Breed of Donkey!
The American Mammoth is the world’s largest breed of donkey and amazingly, their usual size is between 14 and 16 hands although some giants of the breed get to be the size of shire horses. However, their small numbers mean that in some countries (for example New Zealand), Mammoth Donkeys are classified as a Rare Breed of Donkey.
The breed was originally developed by breeding the largest breeds of European donkeys (Maltese, Poitou, Andalusian and Catalonian breeds) with native American and Mexican Burros.
The American Mammoth Jackstock Registry
The American Mammoth Jackstock registry (AMJR) was set up in 1888 to monitor and facilitate the breed and by 1915 the American Jack Stock were considered to be the finest in the world. They were developed primarily for producing excellent mules for work and riding. The male donkey is called a jack, and the Mammoth jack should be at least 58 inches (147 centimetres) high, while females are called jennets or jennies and start at 56 inches upwards.
To read more about the breed characteristics and more fascinating history about these lovely animals, you can visit this page on the Livestock Conservancy website.
These enormous donkeys were used to produce incredibly large and powerful mules. A mule is the result of a Jack donkey being mated to a mare (female horse); the offspring is a mule, which is sterile. The common name for a male mule is a “john mule” and the female a “molly mule”. In New Zealand in the 1800s, mules were used for all types of farmwork. As mechanised farm machinery and tractors were introduced, the number of Mules decreased sharply and the decline was also seen in the United States where the American Mammoth breed was almost lost forever.
In the USA using Mammoth donkeys for Trail riding holidays has been widely acknowledged, the merits of the breed are not lost on the many seasoned trail riders who opt to use the strong but calm and intelligent Mammoth donkey as their choice of ride. It is generally accepted that in this breed, the bigger the donkey, the calmer they are. Because they are less skittish than horses, these donkeys make ideal mounts for young or inexperienced riders and for riding for the disabled.
The donkeys come in a variety of colours and each has its own, completely individual personality. They do have two things in common though, their calm and gentle natures and their willingness to please.
Saddle Donkeys are the Mounts of the Future!
Links to sites of interest to Mammoth Donkey lovers
- Welcome to Garrett Mammoth Jackstock
Your chance to own a saddle donkey for yourself, riding donkeys bred here.
- Awapuni Donkey Stud Mammoth donkey Stud
Here is the website of the Awapuni Donkey Stud, where Coffee Hollow French Roast, the donkey in my picture now lives. Thanks to Jenny Clausen for getting in touch.
© 2010 Alison Graham