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Poitou donkey


Class:  Mammalia

Order:  Perissodacyla    

Family:  Equidae

Genus:   Equus

Species:  Equus asinus

Weight:  Approx. 1200 lbs

Height:  5ft (shoulder)

Life Span:  30-35 yrs

Diet: Grasses, hay

Native to France, the Poitou Donkey is considered to be the most powerful of all donkeys and the world’s finest working mule.  The Romans introduced them into the Poitou region ofFrance, valuing their large ears, massive head, strong legs and wooly coats.  Up until the years following World War II, the Poitou played an important roll in supplying quality mules to France and the rest ofEurope. After the war, mule production began to drop off. Tractors and automobiles were replacing draft animals in every profession. Without a reason to produce mules, there was little reason to raise Poitous. 

By 1977, thePoitouwas nearly extinct. Only 44 remained in existence.  Fortunately the cry for help was raised inFranceand in theU.S.and efforts to save the breed began; however, they are still far from safety. Today, there are fewer than 200 purebred Poitou Donkeys left in the world.  Most remain inFrance, while a few are scattered aroundEurope, mostly in zoos. There are about 20 registered Poitous in theUnited States.

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