Donkey vs Mule: Difference and Comparison

When you look at Donkeys & Mules, they both are four-legged, and have big ears, long back, & tails on their end. When it comes to appearances, they both look the same.

Key Takeaways

  1. Donkeys are a distinct species. Mules are a hybrid between a male donkey and a female horse.
  2. Mules inherit strength and endurance from horses and intelligence and patience from donkeys.
  3. Mules are sterile. Donkeys can reproduce.

Donkey vs Mule

A donkey is a hoofed mammal that has flat backs and narrow hooves. Mule is a hybrid between a donkey and a horse with a slightly curved back and harder hooves. They take their size after horses and are hence bigger than donkeys. Their body shape, teeth, and coat are like that of a horse.

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Donkey, although they have a lot of features like a horse is smaller than him, Mule, on the other hand, is stronger than a horse since it is an offspring of a Male Donkey & Female Horse.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonDonkeyMule
AppearanceDonkeys have bigger ears, long back, short hairs on the tail, bigger mouths & thinner limbs. Donkeys have a lot of features of horses but are smaller, of course. Mules also have the same features as donkey’s but smaller ears and are longer, larger & stronger than donkeys. They also have got features like a steady body, stronger teeth from their horse parent.
BehaviourDonkey’s despite the fact, is known to be intelligent creatures, but they lack patience & get easily irritated. Mules are intelligent & patient animals with all the other qualities they acquired from horses & donkeys, as they are offsprings of donkey & horse.
Reproduction Capacity Donkeys have the capacity to give birth to young children as many as they want in a season. Mules, although are very fertile they don’t have enough chromosomes. This makes it difficult to reproduce even if they want to.
Food Habits Food like bread, processed food, food containing protein should be fed moderately to the donkeys as they could catch foot disease, which can be deadly & can also make them lame. Mules do have the food interest inherited by the horse parent, though they like eating roughage, bread & leaves.
Life SpanThe Life Span of Donkey depended on the kind of work they do. Usually, it is 30- 40 years, but in poorer countries where they do a lot of hard work, they live less than 15 years. Mules have the same life as a donkey, but they also have characteristics of horses, which makes them stronger than donkeys. They live by 30-40 years and maybe more if treated nicely.

What is Donkey?

Donkeys, Asses, or whatever you call them, are domesticated by sheepherders, farmers, hill people & travelers. They carry heavyweights for the men who domesticated them.

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Despite the saying, Donkeys are actually intelligent animals who understand their human behavior & act accordingly. They can be friendly if treated nicely.

Just like any other domesticated animal, they are easy to be fed & taken care of. They also like to bond with their own kind & if not, they can bond with horses too.


What are Mules?

On the other hand, Mules have all the abilities that a donkey plus the horses, as mules inherit all the features of their parents. They are sturdy as a horse, eat less and live much longer than the horses.

They are adored for their smartness & docile nature, their skin is less sensitive & has much more resistance to the sun’s rays, making them even more precious.


Main Differences Between Donkey and Mule

  1. Another difference can be spotted in the color of their coat. Donkeys have grey coats or dark brown, but mules can be of different colors like black, grey, more colors of coal, palomino, etc.
  2. Donkeys can be very stubborn when it comes to their choices, but Mules are very docile & very understanding.
Difference Between Donkey and Mule

Last Updated : 19 July, 2023

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