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Some large donkey breeds such as the Asino di Martina Franca, the Baudet de Poitou and the Mammoth Jack are raised only for mule production.The hybrid between a stallion and a jenny is a hinny, and is less common.

Donkeys were probably first domesticated by pastoral people in Nubia, and they supplanted the ox as the chief pack animal of that culture.

The domestication of donkeys served to increase the mobility of pastoral cultures, having the advantage over ruminants of not needing time to chew their cud, and were vital in the development of long-distance trade across Egypt.

Like other inter-species hybrids, mules and hinnies are usually sterile.

Donkeys can also breed with zebras in which the offspring is called a zonkey (among other names).

Traditionally, the scientific name for the donkey is Equus asinus asinus based on the principle of priority used for scientific names of animals.