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January 26, 2009

About the Breed - Provence Donkeys

The Provence donkey originated in the Basse-Provence, Haute-Provence and Dauphine regions of France, dating back to the 15th century.

The breed was developed by the shepherds of that region. These donkeys were used to carry food, supplies, salt for the sheep, and even young lambs born along the seasonal grazing route traveled by these shepherds. They were selected for their solid bone structure, strong back for carrying heavy loads, docile temperament and good legs - all important traits in their job as shepherds' assistant.

Since the invention of automobiles and trains, this breed has significantly decreased in numbers. In the late 19th century they numbered approximately 13,000, by 1956 they were down to around 2000, and in 1993 there were only 330 left.

The Provence Donkey Association was formed in 1992 enthusiasts who wanted to preserve this unique breed of donkey. The breed has been recognized by the French National Stud since 1995.

Donkeys of this breed should have strong solid bone and calm temperaments. Males should stand between 120cm and 135cm (47 1/4" to 53"), and females should stand between 117cm and 130cm (46" to 51") in height at 3 years of age. They are dove gray in color, and can range from very light gray to dark gray with a hint of red or pink tones. They must have a dark, well defined cross, and may also have leg garters.

Although it is all currently in French, more information can be found on the website of Provence Donkey Association (Association de l’âne de Provence)

Kristie Jorgensen

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at January 26, 2009 08:13 PM