What Is a Hinny?

A hinny is a domestic equine hybrid that is the offspring of a male horse (a stallion) and a female donkey (a jenny). It is the reciprocal cross to the more common mule, which is the product of a male donkey (a jack) and a female horse (a mare). The hinny is distinctive from the mule both in physiology and temperament as a consequence of genomic imprinting.

The distinct phenotypes of the hinny and the mule are partly attributable to genomic imprintingan element of epigenetic inheritance . Beyond the physiological, hinnies and mules differ in temperament despite sharing nuclear genomes.

According to the ADMS: “The equine hybrid is easier to obtain when the lower chromosome count, the donkey, is in the male. [4] Male hinnies and mules are usually castrated to help control their behavior by eliminating their interest in females. Female mules have been known, on rare occasions, to produce offspring when mated to a horse or donkey, although this is extremely uncommon.

When the Chinese mule was bred to a jack, she produced the so-called “Dragon Foal”, which resembled a donkey with mule-like features. In Morocco , in 2002, a mule mare bred to a donkey sire produced a male foal. Mammoth donkey stock is becoming increasingly rare and has been declared an endangered domestic breed.

^ Wang, Xu; Miller, Donald C.; Harman, Rebecca; Antczak, Douglas F.; Clark, Andrew G. (2013). “The variety of sterility and gradual progression to fertility in hybrids of the horse and donkey” (PDF) .

What is the difference between a mule and a hinny?

The Mule. A mule is produced when you breed a male donkey to a female horse, also known as a mare. A “hinny,” meanwhile, is produced when you breed a stallion, or male horse, to a female donkey. Mules possess characteristics of both of their parents but are typically sterile and unable to reproduce.

Can a hinny reproduce?

The male hinny or mule can and will mate, but the emission is not fertile. Many have no sperm in the emission, others have sperm that is not motile. Male hinnies and mules are usually castrated to help control their behavior by eliminating their interest in females.

What is a hinny good for?

Hinnies are highly valued in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Portugal for ranching and as pack animals. McLean says they seem to be hardier and have a calmer temperament than mules.

Most people have heard of a mule, but do you know what a hinny is? First, lets review mules. A mule is the hybrid result of a donkey jack (stallion) bred to a horse mare. Male mules are sterile, so they are usually gelded (making them johns) to decrease their interest in female horses and donkeys. There are a few anecdotal cases of female mules (mollies) being fertile and able to produce foals when bred to a donkey or a horse, but for the most part mules are sterile.

Mules and hinnies differ in various ways, but they are classified generally and in the show world as mules. A mule or hinny can only be produced by breeding a horse with a donkey. These hybrids are sturdy and intelligent equines who have a longer work life, stronger hooves and greater endurance than horses. Mules and hinnies tend to be more resistant to disease and live longer lives than their parents.

When a female donkey, also known as a jenny or jennet, and a stallion or male horse are bred, the result is a hinny. Mules are hybrid equines with their own distinctive traits and familiar characteristics of their sires, who are donkeys, and their dams, female horses.

A hinny‘s ears are shorter than a mule’s, his mane and tail are thicker and longer and his hooves are rounder. Mules who have handlers and trainers who are smart and respectful tend to be “obliging, kind, patient, persevering, calm, tolerant, sensible, loyal, affectionate, playful — and also proud, jealous and calculating,” according to the British Mule Society.

It is difficult to separate mules (male donkey x female horse) and hinnies (male horse x female donkey) by appearance alone. The differences between them are subtle and not sufficient to confidently differentiate one hybrid from the other. For example, the head of a hinny is said to resemble that of a horse more than it does a mule, with shorter ears, and more horse-like manes and tails than mules.

Mules and hinnies have been used for thousands of years as beasts of burden and pack and riding animals.As soon as horse and donkey species were domesticated, they were crossbred, producing humanitys first documented attempt at animal genome manipulation. In a report published in Genetics and Molecular Research, Mauricio M Franco and others describe a multiplex-polymerase chain reaction method, which targets the hyper-variable mitochondrial DNA D-loop region.

Description[edit]

Hinnies are the reciprocal cross to the more common mule. Comparatively, the average hinny has a smaller stature, shorter ears, stronger legs, and a thicker mane than the average mule. The distinct phenotypes of the hinny and the mule are partly attributable to genomic imprinting—an element of epigenetic inheritance.Physiological arguments for the differing stature of the hinny and the mule cite the smaller womb of the female donkey (dam) versus the larger womb of the female horse (mare). Growth potential of equine offspring may be influenced by the size of the dam’s womb. The American Donkey and Mule Society (ADMS) appears to interpret these differences as wholly physiological, stating: “The genetic inheritance of the hinny is exactly the same as the mule.”Like mules, hinnies express broad variation in stature. This is because donkeys come in many sizes, from miniatures, as small as 24 inches (61 cm; 6 hands) at the withers, to American mammoth donkeys that may be over 15 hands (60 inches, 152 cm) at the withers. Thus, a hinny is restricted to being about the size of the largest breed of donkey. Mules, however, have a female horse as a parent, so they can be as large as the size of the largest breed of horse, such as those foaled from work horse mares such as the Belgian.Physical differences between hinnies and mules are not restricted to stature. The head of a hinny is said to resemble that of a horse more than it does a mule’s, with shorter ears (although these are still longer than those of horses), and more horse-like manes and tails than mules.Beyond the physiological, hinnies and mules differ in temperament despite sharing nuclear genomes. This, too, is believed to be attributable to the action of imprinted genes.A male hinny is properly called a

Fertility, sterility and rarity[edit]

Hinnies are difficult to obtain because of the differences in the number of chromosomes of the horse and the donkey. A donkey has 62 chromosomes, whereas a horse has 64. Hinnies, being hybrids of those two species, have 63 chromosomes and are in nearly all cases sterile. The uneven number of chromosomes results in an incomplete reproductive system. According to the ADMS: “The equine hybrid is easier to obtain when the lower chromosome count, the donkey, is in the male. Therefore breeding for hinnies is more hit-and-miss than breeding for mules.”The male hinny or mule can and will mate, but the emission is not fertile. Many have no sperm in the emission, others have sperm that is not motile.Female hinnies and mules are not customarily spayed, and may or may not go through estrus.Female mules have been known, on rare occasions, to produce offspring when mated to a horse or donkey, although this is extremely uncommon. Since 1527, sixty cases of foals born to female mules around the world have been documented.Hinnies are rare for many other reasons. Donkey jennies and horse stallions can be choosier about their mates than horse mares and donkey jacks.Breeding large hinnies is an even bigger challenge, as it requires stock from a jenny of large size, such as the Baudet de Poitou or American Mammoth Donkey. Mammoth donkey stock is becoming increasingly rare and has been declared an endangered domestic breed. Fanciers are unlikely to devote a Mammoth jenny’s valuable breeding time to producing sterile hinny hybrids, when Mammoth jennies are in high demand to produce fertile purebred Mammoth foals.

Parentage

The parentage of a hinny differs from that of a mule. Breeding between a female horse, or mare, and a male donkey, or jack, will produce a mule. When a female donkey, also known as a jenny or jennet, and a stallion or male horse are bred, the result is a hinny. Mules are hybrid equines with their own distinctive traits and familiar characteristics of their sires, who are donkeys, and their dams, female horses. Hinnies are also hybrids; however, although some look like their horse mothers, they rarely resemble their donkey fathers. Hinnies vary in appearance more than mules do.

Appearance

Mules have been said to have the body of the horse with extremities of a donkey, whereas hinnies have the body of a donkey and the extremities of a horse. Because a donkey mare is smaller than most horses, hinnies are generally smaller than mules. A hinny‘s ears are shorter than a mule’s, his mane and tail are thicker and longer and his hooves are rounder. Hinnies differ from each other more than mules do, from being almost identical to a horse, to being mule-like or nearly indistinguishable from a donkey. Mules have long ears, a thin, short, possibly upright mane and a tail which in part has shortish hairs but also long hairs like a horse tail. The mule’s tail can be much fuller and longer than a donkey’s. Her legs, like the donkey’s, are straight, and she has small, hard, straight-sided hooves.

Hybrid Vigor

Mules possess hybrid vigor. They are typically stronger than horses and are much longer-lived with much longer working lives. They seldom become sick or lame, and they tolerate extremes of temperature. Mules can live on frugal food rations, have great stamina, are resilient and sure-footed. The American hinnies are said to lack hybrid vigor, and it has always been recognized that they are smaller than mules (although this may partly be due to their being carried in a smaller womb), less strong and with less stamina and hardiness.

Intelligence and Temperament

Mules are more intelligent, perceptive and sensitive than horses. They learn quickly and are adept at assessing situations. Mules who have handlers and trainers who are smart and respectful tend to be “obliging, kind, patient, persevering, calm, tolerant, sensible, loyal, affectionate, playful — and also proud, jealous and calculating,” according to the British Mule Society. Hinnies are more donkey-like in temperament, in part because they are raised by donkeys. However, hinnies are generally quieter, less curious, more compliant and less independent and adventurous than mules. They prefer to avoid trouble rather than confront it.