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Mammoth Donkeys - Biggest, Largest Breed of Donkey in the World

Updated on December 27, 2018
Alison Graham profile image

Alison is a freelance writer on health, nutrition, skincare, and pets, especially cats and dogs.

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

Mammoth Jack 'Coffee Hollow French Roast' in New Zealand Photographed by Brian Harricks, now owned by Awapuni Donkey Stud in New Zealand (link provided at foot of page)
Mammoth Jack 'Coffee Hollow French Roast' in New Zealand Photographed by Brian Harricks, now owned by Awapuni Donkey Stud in New Zealand (link provided at foot of page)

Further Reading About Mammoth Donkeys

Donkeys: Miniature, Standard, and Mammoth: A Veterinary Guide for Owners and Breeders
Donkeys: Miniature, Standard, and Mammoth: A Veterinary Guide for Owners and Breeders
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!

© 2010 Alison Graham


Submit a Comment
  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    6 years ago from UK

    Hi Liz, thanks for your comment, I am in the UK too. My brother works with a local farrier trimming Donkey hooves but he has not come across any of these big fellas yet in our part of the world (Dorset/Somerset) - how lovely that you were able to re-unite mum and baby!

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    i am lucky enough to own 2 in the uk , i got my baby at 4 months old , she is now nearly 2 years , i recently managed to get her mum too :) baby is now bigger than mum and looks to be taking after her 16'1 dad . such gorgeous,big soppy creatures , much prefer them to my moody horses lol

  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    6 years ago from UK

    @Caryn, thanks so much for your comment, would love to see a picture of your foal, if you would like to get in touch via my profile page (use the fan mail section to send me an email), perhaps you would be willing for me to add a picture of the foal to this hub?

  • Caryn Rahner profile image

    Caryn Rahner 

    6 years ago

    We have a smaller mammoth Jack similar to the one pictured here. You are wonderful on yours. We just had his first foal and she is lovely. Hopefully she will outsize her daddy. Thank you for the inspiration. My huband wants to mimic the gate he saw so back to training...

  • Nettlemere profile image


    7 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

    I became interested in these mammoth donkeys when an American penfriend had two - I was amazed. I always wanted to ride a donkey, but never did when I was young enough and small enough to ride normal UK ones. I'm very excited to discover there are now some in the UK.

  • profile image

    Amy Price 

    7 years ago

    I do not own any, but was fascinated by your article. Very interesting!

  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    8 years ago from UK

    Tony, that's amazing, when you get your Mammoth Donkeys, please get in touch using the contact me button and I will send you an email address so you can send a picture which I would love to post in this article. I would so love to see! Alison

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Wow, this article made me so profoundly interested in these beautiful animals. As soon as I get my farm in northern B.C. I will be getting a couple of Mammoth donkeys for pets, riding and guarding of my farm against black bears. Alison thank you so much for this lovely article, it helped me so much in making decision whether to get standard or mammoth donkeys.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I'm thinking about packing on my walks in the Ouachita National Forest. Maybe a smaller burro.

  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    9 years ago from UK

    4youreyes, thank you for your comment - please get in touch when you find your mare - it would be great to add a picture of her (and maybe her foal, later) to add to this hub to expand the theme a little. I am so glad you got in touch and I hope you find the right mare soon.

  • profile image


    9 years ago


    I found your article very interesting I am in the process of finding a mare that's bred to a mammoth jack so we can get a mule colt.In fact I come across your hub while on my search and took a break to read it.I want all the information I can get.

    Thanks Have a Good Evening !!!

  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    10 years ago from UK

    Jenny, thanks so much for getting in touch. I will add a link to your website in my article. Glad to hear that Coffee Hollow French Roast has a new home with you!

  • profile image

    Jenny Clausen 

    10 years ago

    Hi there,

    We are Mammoth Breeders from New Zealand.

    We now own Coffee Hollow French Roast. The donkey you have on your home page.He was used to breed a few mules and then we were asked if we would like to buy him as we are the only breeders of Mammoth donkeys in New Zealand. We have four Jennys and only one Jack ( Our first one died a year ago )Our lastest Jenny we imported from Canada a couple of months ago. You can check out our website at

  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    10 years ago from UK

    Hi Elise, I guess, as with all things in life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Now one can make a Beautiful MULE!

  • shanshane2 profile image


    10 years ago from Rochester, WA

    This is very cool, I have never heard of them. I bet they would be great pack animals?


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