The Miniature Donkey is a distinct breed of donkey originating from the islands of Sardinia and Sicily off the coast of Italy. In 1929, a US stockbroker on Wall Street by the name of Robert Green imported 6 Jennies and a jack to his stud farm in New Jersey.
He had heard about the wonderful little animals during a trip to Europe, and without even seeing the donkeys he purchased and arranged their shipping through an agent in Paris.
Mr Green is famously quoted as saying, "Miniature Donkeys possess the affectionate nature of a Newfoundland, the resignation of a cow, the durability of a mule, the courage of a tiger, and the intellectual capability only slightly inferior to man's."
Further importations were made by August Busch the founder of Anheuser Busch. Grants farm Missouri was created back then as a country retreat for the family and a herd of Miniature donkeys are still kept there along with the World famous Budweiser Clydesdales.
Daniel and Bea Langfeld of Danby farm Nebraska also original importers established the first Registry in 1958. This was passed over to the American Donkey and Mule Society (ADMS) in Texas in 1973.
The true Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys in Europe have originated from bloodlines in the US and Canada. They are predominately grey, black, brown, red and spotted. To qualify as a Miniature, a donkey must be under 36": The majority of Miniatures are between 31" - 34
In 1980 Lord and Lady Fisher of Sussex in the south of England made two separate herd importations of Donkeys from the USA and the Marklye herd now contains approximately 30 donkeys. Numerous importations have since been made into Europe from the USA and Canada and the popularity of the Miniature Donkey breed is spreading far and wide. Miniature Donkeys are now present in Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.