EDITOR NOTE: There is a good reason why our ancestors used donkeys to carry silk all the way from the China to the west side of Italy. They are not only strong, but naturally territorial and useful for protecting other livestock like sheep and goats (one donkey can protect a herd of 300 head). They are even stronger than a horse of the same size and will spook less than a horse. Now I can see why breeders are intrigued.
The oft-repeated saying “as strong as an ox” may soon be amended to “as strong as a burro” thanks to a group of Mexican breeders who have created what they say is a bigger, stronger kind of donkey.
The Mexican Association of Burros and Mules has created the burro mixteco, or the Mixtec donkey, which measures between 1.3 and 1.4 meters in height, taller than most donkeys. It is about the same size as the American mammoth jackstock, which is one of the two types of donkeys crossbred to create the Mixtec variety. The other was a Mexican Creole.
The association says the new type of donkey, developed with sports and recreation in mind, has a better body structure that makes it stronger than most.
At the moment, the group is in the process of establishing a population of the new animals with 30 foundation donkeys it is breeding at fairs. The process started in December at the livestock fair of Jalisco, but it was curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Plans will go more slowly, but we have many expectations of it being a functional breed,” said David Alonso, the organization’s president. “If they reactivate the fairs, we hope to register between 100 and 150 Mixtec burros and increase exponentially.”
The group says the animal will be well suited to fieldwork, although its breeding was focused on factors such as appearance, morphology and functionality, Alonso said. It also would be a good animal for equine sports like rodeos.
To establish the new type, the group followed protocols established by Mexico’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, with assistance from geneticists at the University of Chihuahua.
Originally published on: Mexico News Daily