Are Donkeys Good Pets? (Answered)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

If you have been considering getting a pet as a companion you might want to consider getting a donkey.

It might seem an odd choice but donkeys make good pets especially when you treat them right and they get to trust you.

Donkeys have been painted as stubborn obstinate animals however that’s a wrong notion.

They are sweet and affectionate but they are also very smart and would not do anything they are not ready to do.

Donkeys are a great choice of pets besides which they can even serve the double purpose of guardian to your livestock if you have a livestock farm.

They are social and companionable animals.

This article will explain things you need to know about donkeys if you plan to keep them as pets and how to do that greatly.

What Are The Benefits Of Keeping Donkeys As Pets?

Are Donkeys Good Pets

1. Companionship

Donkeys serve as great companions for both humans and other animals. Donkeys are wonderful companions for all species of animals.

They are quite affectionate and like to spend time with other animals. 

Donkeys can get depressed if they lose a companion they have had in a long time.

They are super smart and can even mimic the actions of their human owners which can be a lot of fun.

2. Protection

In recent times, donkeys are being used as guardians of livestock and farms.

They help keep livestock predators away from the farm. Donkeys have a dislike of canines and have been known to chase and kill coyotes from farmsteads they are protecting. 

So your darling donkey companion can be your pet while also serving the double purpose of a protector for other livestock. 

3. Intelligent and Calm

When there is a sign of danger, a donkey will not just take to flight like other animals.

It will stand to assess the danger or threat and if it’s something it can’t handle then it will bray loudly to alert you the owner.

This also has a calming effect on the more flight members of the herd like horses.

4. Inexpensive to Keep

If you are worried about costs then you should know donkeys are quite low budget.

You can feed them hay and you won’t even need to buy so much if they are free grazing.

Their medical expenses are also not much, as they do not fall sick regularly except gravely injured.

They generally rarely fall sick or have foot issues unlike horses who are more expensive.

5. Cool Temperament and Hard Worker

Donkeys are quiet and gentle. They are the peacekeepers of the stock and really quite tender.

They are also hard workers and your donkey can help till your small garden if properly trained. 

Donkeys are great for keeping, they are cute with their big ears.

They also love treats and you can use treats to bribe them into loving and trusting you.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on can donkeys get laminitis?

Are Donkeys Affectionate?

Donkeys are very affectionate animals in nature.

They love being petted by their humans and will rub against their fellow pasture animals. 

Donkeys love physical contact and they can’t get enough hugs and pets. They will come to stand by their owners and they will nuzzle and bray happily when they are being petted.

They also love their treats and will form a great bond with both humans and their other pasture mates. 

However it takes time for donkeys to trust and show affection especially if you have not raised them from foals.

As a new owner, you have to learn to be patient and continually give out love and care. Pet them, talk to them and in time they will come to trust you.

By the time they trust you, you’ll have a loyal and hardworking companion on your hands. It is important to have extensive knowledge about donkey behavior before getting one.

Are Donkeys Expensive To Keep?

Donkeys are generally cheaper than horses or other equines to keep.

Apart from the cost of buying the donkey you have to be prepared for living, feeding and medical expenses.

Even if your donkey is healthy it might need occasional visits to the vet for hoof care and other medical necessities.

On feeding your donkey, you can either let your donkey graze or feed them feed.

If your donkey is grazing then you will not have to keep feeding expenses as the grass will sustain them except during the winter when they have to be indoors. 

Donkeys will feed on hay which is quite inexpensive and they can even survive on low quality hay.

You can save yourself quite a lot of money by ensuring that your donkeys are well cared for and well sheltered.

This will reduce the chances of your pet donkey falling sick and requiring medical expenses.

In all, donkeys are less expensive to keep than horses and ponies and that’s another reason to add them to your farm.

Also check out this article I wrote on are donkeys smart?

Are Donkeys Easy To Keep?

Donkeys are quite easy to keep as pets when compared with horses.

When buying a donkey it is important to know that donkeys are quite smart and do not trust easily, however if you take your time with them, they’ll come to bond with you in the shortest period of time.

When training your donkey, do so with gentle gestures that they can observe.

A donkey can repeat your actions and once it learns that, it is easy for it to replicate and keep to it.

A donkey should have it’s own piece of land (about 0.5 acres) where it can graze and the donkey paddock should be fenced to prevent the donkey from escaping.

Donkeys are known to chew through wood so their fences should either be made of electric or rail fencing.

New donkey owners with smaller pastures should endeavor to learn more about keeping donkeys on small pastures.

Donkeys do not fall sick very easily and once they are allowed to graze will reduce feeding costs exponentially.

They are quite an easy keep however they require care and grooming like all equines.

Do Donkeys And Dogs Get Along?

Donkeys have an instinctual dislike of cannes which they perceive as predators.

Animals such as coyotes, bears, wolves and wild dogs to mention a few can arouse anger in the normally gentle donkey.

Because of this, donkeys are quite wary of dogs, even well meaning household or farm guard dogs.

Though some donkeys have been seen to exist quite peacefully with dogs on the farmstead, the two species do not always get along.

The donkey is skittish around the dog and might kick or stomp the dog if it suddenly feels threatened.

Also dogs are hearty and might chase the donkey all over the farm leading to stress and injuries. 

If you plan on keeping both species together, it is better to get a more gentle species of dog while also spending time to get them familiar with each other and also supervise them to avoid unnecessary clashes.

Do Donkeys Like To Be Petted?

Donkeys love being petted by humans they trust and are familiar with. They love being petted on their shoulders and they see it as a friendly gesture. 

If you are not familiar with a donkey, don’t try to pet it across its face as the ‘in your face’ gesture will be interpreted as an aggressive move by the donkey.

So always avoid the head petting till you and the donkey have established a sort of camaraderie.

Also donkeys are quite protective of their large ears so don’t go pulling on them while trying to pet them, they won’t stand it.

Rubbing your donkey across the back while feeding them treats is a great way of building their trust.

What To Consider Before Keeping Donkeys As Pets?

Before buying a donkey as a pet there are things you should put into consideration so as to ensure you get exactly what you want.

You should have a list of requirements you want your pet donkey to meet, it could be age, color, gender, condition, size or height.

This will help you select the best suited donkey for you at the pet store.

You should also ensure you can adequately care for the donkey and provide a good home for it.

Pet donkeys can easily get overweight when they are fed too many treats and contract diseases like laminitis and bronchitis.

You must be ready to exercise your donkey regularly and also know the right kinds of food to feed them.

Your donkey will also need a piece of grassland for grazing. Also, frequent grooming and veterinary care are required for your donkey health.

Are Donkeys Dangerous?

Donkeys are naturally sweet tempered and gentle creatures who can mix with other livestock on the farm.

When used as guard animals they can become very territorial and in some cases harm the livestock which they are supposed to be protecting. 

Male donkeys known as jacks are quite aggressive in nature and are known to be dangerous.

Usually, donkey owners geld their jacks as soon as they are weaned or before 2 years of age to reduce aggressive behavior. 

A jack can be placid one day and aggressive the next day, jacks have been known to kill people on a few occasions including their longtime owners.

Because of this unpredictable behavior, jacks are never kept as pets or herd animals and are gelded as soon as possible.

Domesticated donkeys are safe to be around people and children and are a great addition to any farmstead or pasture. 


If you have been considering a pet of your choice, we hope we have been able to convince you that donkeys are a great choice.

Not only are they sweet and gentle, they are cute with their big floppy ears and are not prone to giving their owners problems.

We hope you can get your pet donkey soon and have fun doing so.

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About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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