The Provence donkey is a unique breed of donkey originating from the Basse-Provence, Haute-Provence and Dauphine regions of France. The Uzès studfarm [le Haras d'Uzès] is where the Âne de provence's herdbook is located. Last week-end (September 10th and 11th), an exhibition was organized in Uzès alongside part of the Provence donkey national championship.
From 400,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, the number of donkeys had fallen to less than 20,000 by the 1980s. As a pet and useful for trekking, its number have risen again to about 40,000 animals. There are 9 breeds identified in France, with the breeding associations organizing many events and exhibitions in the different regions of France.
Since the 15th century this donkey (aka: Ane d'Arles; Ane de berger; Ane de la Crau; Ane de
Savoie; Ane de transhumance) has been used for transhumance between the Basse-Provence and the high mountain pastures of the Haute Provence. The Donkeys have a strong bone structure, a docile temperament, good limbs in order to travel the mountain tracks. The Provence donkey has a pinkish-grey coat, similar to turtledove grey; black dorsal stripe; stripes on the limbs. Average size is 1.20-1.33m (sires) and 1.17-1.30m (mares). Large straight head well attached to a strong thick neck; often white around the eyes. The long ears and the edge of the eyes often have a hint of brownish red. Straight back, wide loins, strong hindquarters and powerful strong limbs. The feet, with rather wide hooves for those of a donkey, are perfectly adapted for trekking and heavy weights.
In 1956 there were only 350 Provence donkeys left. The Provence Donkey Association was formed in 1992 by breeders and enthusiasts who wanted to promote knowledge and use of the Provence donkey, and preserve this unique breed. In 1995 the French National Stud added the Provence donkey breed to its list of recognized breeds. See below the images of the event. Click here for the original pictures. Click here to read about hiking with donkeys in the mountains.