Catalan donkey

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Catalan donkey
Donkey catalan.jpg
Catalan donkey
Other names
  • Ruc Català
  • Ase Català
  • Asno Catalán
Country of origin Spain, France
  • Male: 142 cm
  • Female: 136 cm
MAPA (Spain) Breed standard

The Catalan donkey (Catalan: 'Ase Català' or Ruc Català; Eastern Catalan: [ˈruk kətəˈla]; Spanish: 'Asno Catalán') is a breed of large domestic donkey from Catalonia, in north-eastern Spain and south-western France. Approximately 80% of the population is in Catalonia, and approximately 20% is in the historic Roussillon region of France.[1]


Some authors believe the Catalan donkey to be related to the donkey of Mallorca and the Zamorano-Leonés donkey,[2] the breed is considered to be very old;[3] Pliny the Elder mentioned that there were donkeys on the plain of Vic (Osona).[1][3]

The Catalan donkey originates in the basins of the Cardener, Segre and Ter rivers.[1] In the past it was very important on farms but due to declining use and numbers the Catalan donkey was in danger of extinction. There were once as many as 50,000.[citation needed]

A herd-book was established in 1929. Numbers fell during the Spanish Civil War, but recovered in the next decade; in the 1960s and 1970s rural depopulation and the mechanisation of agriculture led to a new decline in numbers. A breeders' association, the Associació pel Foment de la Raça Asinina Catalana, was formed in 1978 and the herd-book re-opened.[3] Much of the credit for the recovery of the breed is given to one person, Joan Gassó i Salvans from the comarca of Berguedà;[4] in 2004, 32% of the registered population of 336 were on his finca in Olvan.[3] An official national genealogical herd-book was opened in 2002, at the end of 2013 the total population in Spain was recorded as 851.[5] The Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, the Spanish ministry of agriculture, lists the breed as "in danger of extinction".[1]

The Catalan donkey has been used to improve donkey breeds elsewhere in the world, including France and North America.[6][2]


The Catalan donkey is a large breed, and generally weighs between 350–450 kilograms (770–990 lb).[7] Jacks average 142 centimetres (56 in) in height, and jennies 136 centimetres (54 in).


Slippers with a symbol of the Catalan donkey.

Recently, advocates of Catalan nationalism have adopted the Catalan donkey as a symbol opposite the Toro de Osborne, typical for Castile and Andalusia.

There are also stickers for cars and scooters. A few people also do not regard the Catalan donkey as a symbol of Catalonia, but only as a way to try ridicule the Castillian bull.


  1. ^ a b c d Raza equino asnal CATALANA Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. (in Spanish). Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. Accessed May 2014.
  2. ^ a b Ase català (in Catalan). Generalitat de Catalunya: Departament d'Agricultura, Ramaderia, Pesca, Alimentació i Medi Natural. Accessed July 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Jordi Jordana Vidal (2004). Catalan donkey breed: Origins and history. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona: Facultat de Veterinària, Departament de Ciència Animal i dels Aliments. Accessed July 2014.
  4. ^ [s.n.] (7 March 2012). Mor el 'pare' del ruc català (in Catalan) El Punt Avui. p. 28. Accessed July 2014.
  5. ^ Raza equino asnal CATALANA: Datos censales (in Spanish). Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. Accessed May 2014.
  6. ^ Diane Jones. The Mammoth Jack Windt im Wald Farm. Accessed March 2012
  7. ^ Resolución ARP/680/2002, de 26 de marzo, por la que se reglamenta el Libro Genealógico de la raza asnal catalana (in Spanish). Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. Accessed May 2014.

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