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Ass, Burro or Donkey, Which is it?

The term a ass, burro and donkey refer to the same animal. The origin basically is Latin for ass, burro which is Spanish and donkey is English. The term burro is generally used in the western United States, and some use the term to an animals that at one time ran wild.

Our donkeys came from the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse & Burro Program. We use the term donkey most of the time, but ass, burro and donkey are all propper terms.

Equine: Mammals, members of the family Equus.  These are single-toed (hooved) grazing animals.  Equines are horses and ponies, donkeys, wild asses, zebras, and the equine hybrids resulting from the crossing of two different species 

Ass:  The correct term for the animal commonly known as the donkey or burro,.  The term comes from the original Latin term which was Asinus.  The scientific term for these animals is Equus asinus. 

Burro:  A word taken directly from Spain.  The term burro is generally used West of the Mississippi  and the term Donkey, east of the Mississippi. Techincally, donkeys that descended from domestic stock that has gone wild over generations and run wild in the Western part of the United States. 

Donkey:  Is the English term for ass or donkey. 

BLM: The Bureau of Land Mangement is a federal agency changed with managing the nation’s public lands for multiple uses, in accordance with the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act. The BLM manages, protects, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (as amended by Congress in 1976, 1978, 1996, and 2004). This law authorizes the BLM to remove excess wild horses and burros from the range to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands. The BLM is part of the Department of Interior.


“The Congress finds and declares that wild-free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene.  It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death…”From The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971


Jackass: Is a male donkey which is called a jack.

Jenny: Is a female donkey.

Halfass: Is term sometimes used to describe either a hinney or mule, since they are both half ass (donkey) and half horse.

Hinny:  Is produced when the female donkey  (jenny) is mated to the male horse (stallion) to produce a foal.  

Mule:  Is a cross between a male donkey (Jackass) and a female horse.  The mule is sterile hybrid, meaning it cannot reproduce.  Mules come in both male and female. Rarely a female mule gives birth.

 Mules are a combination of the traits of our parents with the most obvious donkey traits being long ears, narrower body and  smaller hooves.  The horse contributes size, speed, and muscle.  Other characteristics such as the head and voice (an odd combination  of the bray that ends as a whinny) are a blend of the parent features.  You can always tell a donkey from a mule by the fact that a donkey has a tail in essence like a lion or a cow (long tail with a tassel) and the mule has a tail like a horse (short tail bone with long hair).  

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