Poitou donkey is the tallest and the oldest donkey. He has been bred around Melle, Deux Sèvres. This breed was primarily used to breed mules – (mare crossed with a donkey). The Poitou donkey, known in France as Le Baudet du Poitou, is one of the most endangered species in the world today.
In 1978 there were just 44 registered pure bred donkeys left in France and even today there are fewer than 500 worldw0ide.
Large head, and ears covered with long hair. The long shaggy coat of the Poitou donkey is always dark brown or black, and have a distinct curly silky appearance – known as “bourailloux”. The donkey can be brush. It used to say that the long hair was supposed to hide defects. His legs are strong and they used to say as bigger than coach horses. Massive bone structure and a large foot with long hair.
According to the studbook, the baudet should be or should have: “a strong neck, a long and straight back, prominent hips, short rump, strong legs, very strong joints, wide, open and hairy foot. The donkey is 1.40 to 1.50 tall from feet to wither. The coat is brown bay with silver grey around the mouth, the nose, and the eyes. The coat should never be roan (nor spots or dappled) and never have mule’s line (“raie de mulet” in french). The colour is light grey on underbelly and inside the thighs.
Created in 1884, the studbook is a genealogical record book for the race. It is composed of two books :
Book A : pure bred donkey (thoroughbred)
Book B : not fully pure bred. They are the result of a cross between one Poitou donkey and another donkey. As the morphology of the Poitou donkey dominate the other so the new animals look like the pure bred animal.
The Sabaud is the Poitou Donkey Protection Association. Its principal objective is to safeguard the Poitou Donkey
The SABAUD owns a herd consisting of 25 donkeys males and females.
Races mulassières du Poitou represents and unites the selection and promotion of a number of rare breeds including “Mulassieres”, “Poitou Donkeys” and “Mules of Poitou”.
Its objective is to contribute to safeguarding the Poitou donkey and the “trait mulassier” (a horse similar to a french cob) ; and to promote the cross breeding that produces the “mule poitevine”.