Have you ever been graced by the gentle bray of a Baudet du Poitou donkey and found yourself intrigued by its tale? That same sense of wonder sparked my own journey into their storied past.

These majestic animals have ambled through pages of French history since medieval times with their grand stature and distinctive, shaggy coats. In this article, I invite you to delve into their world alongside me, where we’ll unveil how we can lend a hand in preserving this imperiled breed.

Prepare to be introduced to an underappreciated gem of French heritage!

Key Takeaways

  • The Baudet du Poitou donkey is one of the largest breeds in the world, weighing up to 1,100 pounds.
  • This breed has unique features like long ears and a shaggy corded coat.
  • Baudets were bred to create strong mules for farm work and transportation.
  • There are only about 180 Baudet du Poitou donkeys left, making them endangered.
  • France considers this breed a national treasure and organizations are working hard to save it.

History of the Baudet du Poitou Donkey

Originating in the Poitou region of France, the Baudet du Poitou donkey was historically used to produce large mules. Despite a decline in popularity, conservation efforts have helped preserve this unique breed with a rich history.

Originated in Poitou region of France

The Baudet du Poitou donkey has its roots deep in the rich soil of France’s Poitou region. History marks the breed as one that hails from this area, with a lineage tracing back to the Middle Ages.

It’s fascinating to think about these shaggy-coated animals roaming French landscapes for centuries! The locals here have known these charismatic creatures by names like “Baudet du Poitou” and “Poitou ass.” They’ve admired them not just for their looks but also for their size and strength.

Farmers in Poitou bred them specifically to produce sturdy, large mules. As time passed, they became an integral part of agricultural life across Europe. Their distinct long ears and corded coats would turn heads while their power made farm work easier.

Now let’s dive into why they were so valued for mule breeding.

Used to produce large mules

The Baudet du Poitou donkey was specifically bred to produce large and strong mules. Originating from the Poitou region of France, these donkeys were highly valued for their ability to sire high-quality offspring used in agricultural work.

With their gentle nature, they were well-suited for handling and working with humans. The recognition of this breed dates back to the Middle Ages, highlighting its historical significance in the development of strong mules for farm labor.

These donkeys are known for their shaggy corded coat and long ears which set them apart as excellent candidates for breeding large mules. Their docile temperament further enhanced their suitability for the task at hand.

Decline in popularity

After being used to produce large mules for centuries, the Baudet du Poitou donkey breed has experienced a decline in popularity. Today, there are only about 180 of these donkeys left, and they are at risk of extinction.

Despite their historical significance, the breed is facing challenges that have led to a decrease in its numbers and widespread recognition. Conservation efforts are underway to preserve and protect these unique donkeys as they hold an important place in France’s cultural heritage.

The Baudet du Poitou donkey, once prolific in its use for producing large mules, now faces an uncertain future due to declining popularity.

Conserved through preservation efforts

After a decline in popularity, the Baudet du Poitou donkey is now being conserved through various preservation efforts. This French donkey breed, designated as a national treasure in France, is currently at risk of extinction with only about 180 left.

It has gained endangered status, prompting organizations to work tirelessly to protect and conserve the unique features and historical significance of this rare livestock breed. The Baudet du Poitou’s gentle nature and valuable contribution to agricultural work make it an essential focus for conservation efforts, ensuring its survival for future generations.

Characteristics of the Baudet du Poitou Donkey

The Baudet du Poitou Donkey is known for its large size, long ears, and shaggy corded coat – making it a unique and striking breed that has captured the hearts of many. Read on to learn more about this fascinating French donkey!

Large size

The Baudet du Poitou donkey is known for its exceptional size, making it one of the largest donkey breeds in the world. These magnificent animals can stand up to 14 hands high and weigh around 800 to 1,100 pounds.

Their impressive stature makes them ideal for heavy agricultural work and mule breeding, showcasing their strength and endurance. The large size of the Baudet du Poitou donkey contributes to their historical significance as valuable assets on farms and in transportation during ancient times.

Their significant size also plays a crucial role in drawing attention to their endangered status, urging preservation efforts to ensure that these majestic creatures continue to thrive for generations to come.patience

Long ears

The Baudet du Poitou donkey’s distinctive feature is its long ears, a signature characteristic of the breed. With a strong and sturdy build, these donkeys sport ears that can reach up to 33 inches in length, making them not only visually striking but also practical for their role as excellent listeners due to their keen sense of hearing.

Renowned for their gentle nature and large size, the Baudet du Poitou donkey’s elongated ears serve both aesthetic and functional purposes, adding to their unique appeal as an endangered French breed.

Shaggy corded coat

Moving from their distinctive long ears, it’s worth noting that the Baudet du Poitou donkeys are also recognized for their striking shaggy corded coat. This attribute is a defining feature of the breed and gives them a unique appearance.

Originating from the Poitou region of France, this thick, matted, and tangled coat not only provides protection against harsh weather but also adds to their iconic charm. The rarity of this feature makes the Baudet du Poitou donkey particularly intriguing to animal enthusiasts and conservationists alike.

As a rare breed with only about 180 left in existence today, the preservation of these remarkable characteristics has become crucial in ensuring their survival for future generations.

Uses of the Baudet du Poitou Donkey

The Baudet du Poitou donkey has historically been used for breeding large mules, as well as for farm work and transportation. Its historical significance dates back to its use in the Poitou region of France.

Breeding for mules

The Baudet du Poitou donkey, originating from the Poitou region of France, was specifically bred for producing large mules. With their large size and strength, they were sought after as excellent breeding stock to produce high-quality and hardworking mules.

These donkeys played a crucial role in agricultural work due to their impressive ability to pull heavy loads and navigate rugged terrain. Their gentle nature also made them well-suited for handling and working alongside humans in various farm activities.

Efforts are underway to conserve this endangered breed which is an important part of French history. Organizations are working diligently to ensure the preservation of these unique donkeys by raising awareness about their historical significance and promoting responsible breeding programs aimed at safeguarding their future.

Farm work

Transitioning from breeding for mules to farm work, the Baudet du Poitou donkey has historically played a vital role in agricultural activities. With their large size and strength, these gentle yet powerful creatures have been invaluable assets on farms.

Their docile nature makes them well-suited for working with humans and handling various tasks such as plowing fields, pulling carts, and transporting goods. Furthermore, their versatility and adaptability also enable them to aid in other farm chores, showcasing the breed’s significance beyond just mule production.

Historical significance

Transitioning from their traditional use in farm work, the historical significance of the Baudet du Poitou donkey is rooted in its role as a key contributor to the production of large mules.

This French breed, with records tracing back to the Middle Ages and recognized officially in 1717, has played a vital part in agricultural history. However, with only about 180 of these donkeys left today, conservation efforts are essential to preserve this rare and historically significant breed that once thrived as an indispensable asset to farming and mule production.

Efforts to Preserve the Baudet du Poitou Donkey

Designated as a national treasure in France, the Baudet du Poitou donkey is currently considered an endangered breed. Various organizations are working diligently to conserve and increase the population of these unique and historical animals.

Designated a national treasure in France

Recognized as a national treasure in France, the Baudet du Poitou donkey holds a special place in the country’s cultural heritage. With its origin deeply rooted in the historical significance of France, efforts to conserve and protect this unique breed have gained importance.

As one of the largest donkey breeds, it symbolizes strength and resilience, embodying the rich agricultural traditions of the region. The recognition as a national treasure underscores its value and highlights the significance of preserving this iconic French animal for future generations.

This designation reflects not only its rarity but also emphasizes its vital role in sustaining traditional practices and maintaining biodiversity. The endangered status has led to focused attention on safeguarding these gentle giants through dedicated conservation efforts by organizations committed to protecting this precious part of France’s natural and cultural heritage – making it imperative for us to join hands in ensuring their survival.

Endangered status

The Baudet du Poitou donkey, a French national treasure, is currently facing the threat of extinction. With only about 180 of these unique donkeys left in the world, conservation efforts are crucial to protect and preserve this historically significant breed.

Organizations are diligently working to safeguard the future of the Baudet du Poitou, ensuring that their gentle nature and valuable contributions continue for generations to come.

These donkeys face an uncertain future due to their endangered status, but dedicated preservation endeavors aim to secure their existence and carry on their legacy as one of the largest and most distinct breeds in France.

Organizations working to conserve the breed

I’ve discovered a few amazing organizations dedicated to conserving the Baudet du Poitou donkey. Here are some of them:

  1. The French National Stud, or Haras Nationaux, has been spearheading conservation efforts for the breed.
  2. The Association for the Development of Poitou Donkeys works tirelessly to raise awareness about the endangered status of these unique donkeys.
  3. The Livradois – Forez Regional Natural Park in France actively participates in breeding and promoting the Baudet du Poitou donkeys to ensure their survival.
  4. The Conservatoire des Races Mulassieres du Poitou focuses on preserving and promoting not only the breed but also its utilization in mule breeding.
  5. The Association Française de l’Âne Grand Noir du Berry et de la race Baudet du Poitou plays a pivotal role in safeguarding and promoting the genetic diversity of these historic donkeys.


In conclusion, the Baudet du Poitou donkey is a French breed with a fascinating heritage. Originating from the Poitou region of France, it played a vital role in producing large mules.

With its distinctive shaggy corded coat and gentle nature, this breed holds historical significance. However, facing extinction, efforts are being made to conserve and protect these unique donkeys before their legacy fades into history.

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