Donkey vs. Hinny

What's the Difference?

Donkeys and hinnies are both hybrid animals that result from the crossbreeding of horses and donkeys, but they differ in their parentage. A donkey is the offspring of a male donkey (jack) and a female horse (mare), while a hinny is the offspring of a male horse (stallion) and a female donkey (jenny). In terms of physical appearance, donkeys tend to have a stockier build, longer ears, and a more upright mane, while hinnies often resemble horses more closely, with a sleeker body, shorter ears, and a more flowing mane. Additionally, donkeys are known for their stubbornness and independent nature, while hinnies are said to be more docile and cooperative. Overall, both donkeys and hinnies have their own unique characteristics and charm, making them fascinating creatures to observe and interact with.


SpeciesEquus africanus asinusEquus africanus asinus x Equus caballus
ParentageMale donkey (jack) x Female horse (mare)Male horse (stallion) x Female donkey (jenny)
Chromosome count6263
Physical appearanceShorter ears, stockier buildLonger ears, more horse-like body
FertilityMostly sterileMostly sterile
Common usesWork animals, companionsWork animals, companions
TemperamentStubborn, cautiousIntelligent, cautious

Further Detail


Donkeys and hinnies are both equine hybrids, but they differ in their parentage and certain physical characteristics. Donkeys, scientifically known as Equus africanus asinus, are the result of a cross between a male donkey (jack) and a female horse (mare). On the other hand, hinnies, scientifically known as Equus africanus asinus x Equus caballus, are the offspring of a male horse (stallion) and a female donkey (jenny). Despite their similarities, donkeys and hinnies have distinct attributes that set them apart.

Physical Attributes

Donkeys and hinnies share some physical attributes due to their common donkey ancestry. They both have long ears, a characteristic that distinguishes them from horses. These large ears serve a purpose, allowing them to hear distant sounds and detect potential threats. Additionally, both donkeys and hinnies possess a stocky build, with strong legs and hooves that are well-suited for traversing rough terrains.

However, there are also notable differences in their physical attributes. Donkeys tend to be smaller in size compared to hinnies, with an average height ranging from 36 to 56 inches at the withers. Hinnies, on the other hand, are generally taller, inheriting the height of their horse parent. Their average height can range from 48 to 60 inches at the withers. This difference in size can impact their overall appearance and the tasks they are best suited for.


When it comes to temperament, donkeys and hinnies exhibit some contrasting characteristics. Donkeys are known for their independent and cautious nature. They are often described as intelligent and have a strong sense of self-preservation. Donkeys are naturally wary of unfamiliar situations and may display stubbornness when faced with something they perceive as a potential threat. However, once they trust their handler, donkeys can form strong bonds and show remarkable loyalty.

Hinnies, on the other hand, tend to inherit some of the temperament traits of their horse parent. They are generally more sociable and outgoing compared to donkeys. Hinnies often display a willingness to please and are known for their gentle and friendly nature. While they may still exhibit some of the caution seen in donkeys, hinnies are often considered to be more adaptable and less stubborn.

Uses and Abilities

Donkeys and hinnies have historically been used for various purposes due to their unique attributes. Donkeys are renowned for their strength and endurance, making them excellent pack animals. Their ability to carry heavy loads over long distances, even in challenging terrains, has made them invaluable in agriculture and transportation. Donkeys are also known for their surefootedness, which allows them to navigate rocky or mountainous areas with ease.

Hinnies, with their taller stature inherited from their horse parent, often possess greater speed and agility compared to donkeys. This makes them more suitable for tasks that require swiftness, such as riding or driving. Hinnies can excel in various equestrian disciplines, including dressage, jumping, and pleasure riding. Their adaptability and willingness to learn make them versatile equine partners.

Reproduction and Fertility

One of the significant differences between donkeys and hinnies lies in their reproductive abilities. Donkeys are known for their high fertility, with jennies being able to conceive and give birth to offspring relatively easily. This fertility is attributed to the similarity in chromosome numbers between donkeys and horses. Donkeys have 62 chromosomes, while horses have 64, allowing for successful mating and reproduction.

On the other hand, hinnies have a lower fertility rate compared to donkeys. This reduced fertility is due to the difference in chromosome numbers between horses and donkeys. The hybrid offspring of a horse and a donkey, such as the hinny, typically inherit an uneven number of chromosomes (63), which can lead to reproductive challenges. As a result, hinnies are less commonly bred and are considered to be rarer than donkeys.


While donkeys and hinnies share a common ancestry and possess some similar attributes, they also have distinct differences that set them apart. Donkeys are known for their smaller size, independent nature, and exceptional strength and endurance. Hinnies, on the other hand, tend to be taller, more sociable, and adaptable, with greater speed and agility. Understanding these attributes can help individuals choose the equine hybrid that best suits their specific needs and preferences.

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