ORIGIN: The present breed comprises the descendent off-spring of two wild North-Eastern African species (the Nubian and Somalian Donkeys). Other experts claim a Mediterranean heritage for this tall, robust, dark coated breed. Regardless of their exact origin, the Catalonian Donkey is one of the most ancient and significant "beasts of burden", in the improvement of other donkey breeds and, also being the origin for other donkey breeds.
The traditional breeding of these donkeys takes place principally in Catalonia (Planas de Vic, Lerida and Urgell) and in Aragón (in the Pyrenees and in the Somontano de Barbastro and Hoya de Huesca).
CHARACTERISTICS: The Catalonian Donkey is tall (1.4 metres), robust and long-boned, fine skin and fine, short hair, typically a black or dark chestnut coat with lighter markings around the eyes, muzzle and ears, as well as on the underbelly. Their personality is noble, intelligent and lively and at times temperamental.
USES: The Catalonian Donkey was much-valued for its varied agricultural utility, but with the coming of mechanization, their very existence was at times threatened. Fortunately, nowadays, with the involvement of some donkey lovers, and with renewed interest in past agricultural practices and the developing eco-tourism associated with bygone days, the future of this breed seems less uncertain.
SITUATION: The Catalonian Donkey is listed as a race in danger of extinction by the official Spanish Livestock Register. The AFRAC (Asociación para el Fomento de la Raza Asnal Catalana - the Spanish Catalonian Donkey Association) with its office in Banyoles (Girona) has taken on the responsibility for the promotion of the breed and the on-going maintenance of the Breed Register, which currently contains some 404 examples (including 273 females and 131 males) owned by over 84 proprietors (2006).
INTERESTING LINKS: www.rac.uab.es/rac.htm
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