Mini Donkey Terms Glossary

Have you ever wondered what a gelding is? Maybe a burro? Whether you already own your first miniature donkey or you’re thinking of making the foray into ownership soon, there are a lot of unfamiliar mini donkey terms you’re going to come across.

In this glossary, we will define all the most pertinent mini donkey terms for your referral. You’ll talk like a donkey expert in no time!


Ass: The collective term for jackstock, burros, donkeys, and miniature donkeys, ass is short for Asinus, a Latin word


Burro: A type of working donkey, particularly those in Mexico and Spain; in western states, residents may use this term interchangeably for the word donkey, but burros are not jackstock or miniature donkeys


Canter: Only slightly slower than a gallop, a canter has three beats and the rear and front legs on the same side will move in tandem

Collar buttons: A type of marking or fur pattern found on the throat of a mini donkey, especially on the sides; collar buttons are circular spots and black in color

Colt: A younger donkey or horse that has not yet reached maturity

Conformation: The overall mini donkey body shape; the conformation can indicate a donkey’s health and thus soundness

Croup: The part of the donkey’s back that ends at their rear, the croup is after both the withers and the downhill back and is at the same height as the withers

Cross: A strip of hair that begins at a miniature donkey’s head and traces to their tail, the connects with another strip that begins near their withers to their shoulders, making a cross shape


Diagonal: This means of trotting is when two legs both move in tandem diagonally

Downhill back: The part of a miniature donkey’s back that begins right after the withers


Equine: Any mammal that belongs to the Equus family that grazes and has hooves, including zebras, wild asses, donkeys, ponies, and horses


Filly: The female equivalent of a colt, aka a younger female donkey or horse that has not yet reached maturity

Foaling: The birthing process a jennet undergoes

Foal: A newborn miniature donkey, mule, or horse


Gait: A means of traveling that refers to speed, including walking, trotting, cantering, and galloping

Gallop: The last gait type and the speediest, when a donkey or horse gallops, its hooves all leave the ground at once

Garters: A type of marking or fur pattern that appears on a donkey’s legs

Gelding: Also referred to as an altered male, a gelding is a male mini donkey or jack who has been castrated

Get: One name for a jack’s offspring, although it’s used more for other equine animals; the word earned its name because the jack gets the offspring through the jennet


Halter: A type of harness that goes over a mini donkey’s face, securing behind the ears, down the face, and over the nose

Hand: An equine measurement unit, where the hand stands for four inches; when measuring equine animals, you begin at the ground and then move up to the withers, looking for the tallest peak and often using a measuring stick for this


Jack: Unlike geldings, jacks are uncastrated males that can be used for reproduction with jennets

Jackstock: If talking about American Mammoth donkeys in particular, then jackstock refers to the jennet and jack but pluralized

John: Another name for a gelding

Jennet or jenny: Another name for female mini donkeys, jennets are often used for reproductive purposes


Lame: The opposite of a sound equine animal, a lame donkey is one that has injuries that may prohibit its performance


Markings: The darker shapes that may appear on a miniature donkey’s body, such as on the belly, throat, and forelegs/legs


Neigh: Another term for whinnying, in which an equine animal makes a squeal/nicker-like sound

Nicker: A quieter noise from equine animals, it’s a vibration that comes from the vocal cords and does not involve the donkey or horse opening its mouth


Pace: A type of gait that’s two beats, with the hind and front legs moving in tandem

Points: The proper term for talking about a horse or mini donkey’s color, including points like the ear tips, lower legs, tail, and mane

Pointing: When a miniature donkey has an injured foreleg, they may rest it to let you know something’s wrong, which is also known as pointing

Pulling: A type of grooming method in where you take the tail or mane and cut out the hairs that are longest


Snort: A noise made by equine animals when they keep their mouth closed yet breath strongly and loudly out of their nose; it can indicate being startled

Sound: A healthy animal of either gender, such as a sound jack or a sound jennet

Stable vices: Vices limited to behavior in the stable, much like kicking or chewing the walls

Stride: A measuring of distance between a forefront imprint and the time when the foot connects with the ground a second time

Stringhalt: A type of nervous disorder that can afflict both horses and donkeys, it can affect hind legs, changing the gait so it’s higher and jerkier

Stud: Another name for jacks, although the term does appear more commonly in horses than donkeys

Suckling: Mini donkey foals that are not yet ready for the weaning process, as they’re still nursing


Tack: A general term that refers to equine equipment for a mini donkey, including their halter, saddle, bridle, and more

Tack room: The space on the farm where you maintain the equipment for the donkey

Transition: When the donkey changes their gait, speeding up or slowing down

Trot: A type of gait with two beats in which the mini donkey may move diagonally


Unsound: A term that refers to a miniature donkey with health or performance issues


Vice: Bad behavior that the miniature donkey exhibits, such as bucking, kicking, or biting


Walking: A means of travel that’s the slowest and most natural pace for donkeys

Weaning: The act of separation between a jennet and a foal, weaning happens slowly yet surely

Withers: The end of the miniature donkey’s neck before the downhill back begins; miniature donkeys can wear a withers strap, but it must be fitted to the animal

Whinny: A type of sound that’s more common to horses but one that miniature donkeys may make; it’s like a neigh

Wild burro: Feral donkeys, especially those found in the western United States


Yearling: A young equine animal that’s 12 to 24 months old


Zippers: The dark markings specifically found on a mini donkey’s forelegs, especially on the insides

There you have it, a glossary of mini donkey terms. Although donkeys and horses are both equine animals, they’re not identical. All the terms you’d use in the realm of horses do not necessarily apply to donkeys and especially miniature donkeys.

Now you have your own glossary to look back on whenever an unfamiliar term crops up.

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