Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo




Donkeys and people

Donkeys were first domesticated for transportation and field work in Egypt about 6,000 years ago.

Who's who

Male: Jack
Female: Jennet
Young male or female: Foal

All in the family

Even though they are different species, donkeys can breed with horses and zebras. However, their offspring are infertile or sterile, so they cannot reproduce.

  • The offspring of a female horse (mare) and male donkey (jack) is called a mule.
  • The offspring of a male horse (stallion) and female donkey (jennet) is called a hinny.
  • The offspring of donkeys and zebras is known by many names: zebroid, zebrass, zonkey, zenkey, zedonk, zebrinny, and zebret.

Wild cousins

Donkeys are equines, the family of animals that includes horses, ponies, and zebras. At the National Zoo, you can see Grevy's zebras.