International Miniature Donkey Registry©

Official Breed Standards©

            Miniature Donkeys come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The breed standard for any animal must be based on proper proportion and balance whether it be of the light boned, slender build or heavy boned and draft build. Regardless of bone structure, the original Miniature Donkeys from Sicily and Sardinia, along with a few other parts of the world, were of heights up to 38" which is why the original Miniature Donkey Registry established by Mrs. Bea Langfeld registered up to this size. The International Miniature Donkey Registry therefore recognizes donkeys up to 38" as registerable in the I.M.D.R., as many, many of these "Sicilian" donkeys are still in production.


The overall appearance of a Miniature Donkey should be attractive, well-balanced, nicely coupled with an attentive expression. Jennets should look more feminine with Jacks having a more masculine appearance. Overall bone structure should appear strong and sound and in proportion to the body size and muscular development of the body. The bone structure should not be too heavy nor too fine.

Head: The head should be pleasing to look at and in proportion to the body. The side view of the head should have a straight profile or one that is slightly dished. The forehead should be broad with sufficient width between the eyes. Nostrils should not be too small to allow sufficient air to enter the lungs. Ears, no matter the length, should be in proportion to the head but not overly long or short. Ears should be firm, alert and not loose or floppy. Eyes should not be too small (pig eyes) nor overly large and bulging. Jowls should be well defined being somewhat larger on Jacks and more refined on Jennets. Lips should meet evenly or the top lip can protrude slightly. Lips should not hang loose and open.

Faults: Roman nosed and thick muzzled; Too small nostrils; Too small eyes; Ears that flop to sides of head; Head too large and/or too long;

Teeth: The ideal mouth structure would enable the teeth to meet evenly. A 1/8" overbite or underbite is very common in Miniature Donkeys and should not be considered a bad fault. The International Miniature Donkey Registry allows up to a 1/4" differential.

Faults: In excess of 1/4" Overbite (Parrot Mouth) or Underbite (Monkey Mouth)

Neck: The ideal neck is in proportion to the rest of the donkey's body. It should be firm and in good flesh. It should not be overly thin and long nor short and thick. The top of the neck and bottom of the neck should show straight lines as they connect to the shoulder and chest areas. Fat crest (fat build up on the top of the neck) is more of a management problem than a conformation defect however, can be unsightly.

Faults: Ewe necks (top line shows a depression between withers and ears) and necks are usually too thin; Short thick neck (makes it difficult to graze and turn and bend necks).

Body: The topline of the donkey should be straight or slight dipped. (Older Brood jennets should be given consideration in the top line area due to many foalings.) Withers should be somewhat noticeable but should not protrude. The back should be fairly short and give a strong appearance and not swayed or too long and also should not be roached (humped up). Jennets may be a little longer in this area than jacks allowing sufficient room to carry a foal. The croup may be just slightly higher than the withers. Chest should be wide from front view and donkey should have adequate heart girth.

Faults: Sway back; Excessively long or short; Roach back; Croup much higher than withers; chest too narrow.

Hindquarters: Donkeys have a sharper sloping croup because of higher pelvic bones, so should not be compared to horses. The rump should be strong, wide and nicely rounded. It should be in good flesh and have good length between the point of the hip and point of the buttock. Good tail set.

Faults: Narrow hips, Pointed hips, too high tail set, Croup set too high.


Legs: Front legs should be straight. From a side view, drawing a straight line down from the middle of the upper forearm, the line would go through the middle of the knee and pass directly behind the heel. Any derivative of this would be a crooked limb. From the front view, drawing a straight line down from the point of the shoulder, the line would go through the middle of the knee, the middle of the forearm and the middle of the hoof. Back legs should be straight. From a side view, a straight line drawn from the point of the buttock would go just behind the point of the hock and hind cannon. From the back view, a straight line drawn from the point of the buttock would touch the middle of the hock, cannon and fetlocks. Most donkeys tend to stand with hocks slightly turned in and this is perfectly acceptable to the I.M.D.R. Cannon bones should be shorter than the forearm

Faults: Any serious deviation from straight legged both in front and back; excessively toed out or toed in, cowhocked; forearm longer than cannon.

Feet:: Donkeys stand much higher in the heel than horses and should not be compared with horses. From a side view, the front foot, when drawing a straight line from the toe to the fetlock, would be at a 55 degree angle. The hind foot, would be at a 60 degree angle. Regardless of the build of the foot, it should be trimmed to follow a straight line to the fetlock if possible. When drawing a straight line from the front view, the line would go through the middle of the fetlock joint to the middle of the hoof.

Faults: Hooves too upright or slacking backwards, long upright pastern, short upright pastern, club foot.