About English / Irish Donkeys
Historically, the donkey was
never used extensively in Britain – except in Ireland, where it became the
principal draught animal for cottagers and smallholders throughout the country.
Eggs and butter, which were
the chief produce of the widespread small farms, were brought to market weekly
by a patient donkey harnessed to a small cart, usually driven by the farmer's
While some breeders refer to
their donkeys as “Irish” and others as “English”, they are essentially the same
breed and are grouped as English/Irish by the Donkey Society of New Zealand.
Since the early 1990’s, a
number of these small donkeys have been imported into New Zealand, and they are
now firmly established and are being bred in a number of studs. Pure
English/Irish donkeys are no more than 11 hands (44 inches or 111.76 centimeters)
in height, and are often referred to as “Miniatures.” They come in a variety of colors.
The breed is today probably
the most sought-after donkey in New Zealand.