Why Do Donkeys Hate Dogs?

why do donkeys hate dogs

If you have ever seen a donkey around a dog, you might have noticed how they can be very uncomfortable and skittish. Unfortunately, many donkeys dislike dogs with a passion and will lash out. In rare cases, donkeys can kill dogs by trampling on them. 

In some parts of the world, graziers (those who make a living off rearing cattle and sheep) keep donkeys on their property to ward off wild dogs and other potential predators. Unlike horses, donkeys will rarely back down from a fight and are not afraid to pursue predators over long distances if they deem them a threat. 

Why do donkeys hate dogs? Donkeys tend to dislike and possibly hate dogs due to not trusting their behavior. Dogs have a territorial nature and donkeys have a history of being prey animals – which isn’t a good combination.

So, there’s the concise answer to why donkeys hate dogs. Sadly, it’s never a good idea to leave a donkey and a dog together unsupervised, especially if they haven’t been introduced to one another in the past. Below, let’s take a deeper look into why donkeys are not a fan of dogs. 

Why do donkeys dislike dogs?

Donkeys inherently dislike any animal that they believe is a predator or a threat. Alongside dogs, this also includes coyotes, cougars, bears, wolves, and foxes. They are also extremely territorial, with this playing a large role in why they are commonly used as guard animals for other livestock. 

Unfortunately, this trait is often a double-edged sword, as particularly aggressive or ill-tempered donkeys have been known to chase after sheep, goats, and poultry from time to time. 

Without prior training to prevent aggressive behaviors such as these, the average donkey will lash out at even the most well-behaved of dogs, and in some cases, attempt to seriously injure or kill them if not prevented from doing so. People seeing this naturally assume that donkeys hate dogs. 

do donkeys get along with dogs
These donkeys appear to be used to dogs (Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/donkeys-dog-friendship-291562/)

In general, it’s never a great idea to let your dog roam around a donkey’s paddock, as compared to horses, donkeys are rather unpredictable and can flip at the slightest sign of perceived danger. 

What’s more, it can be difficult to stop an angry donkey once it has set its sights on attacking a dog and getting in the way could easily lead to you being injured. 

Warnings signs include:

  • Rapidly swiveling their ears back and forth (a sign of high anxiety or alertness).
  • Pawing angrily at the ground (can indicate they are ready to charge).
  • Cocking their hind hoof with ears pinned back (avoid their hind area in cases like these).
  • Openly baring their teeth at you or biting you.
  • Having widely open eyes to the extent that you see the whites of their eyes.

Can you have dogs around donkeys?

Although you can certainly have dogs around donkeys on the same farm, it’s still a good idea to keep them separated as often as possible. Some dogs and donkeys get along, but it’s probably not worth the risk, particularly I you have an energetic breed. 

Unfortunately, energetic breeds of dogs, such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, Jack Russel Terriers, and Poodles can sometimes develop a habit of chasing farmyard animals and this behavior can be particularly dangerous if there is a donkey present. 

are donkeys afraid of dogs
Donkeys can show their teeth when scared by dogs (Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/donkey-animals-nature-mouth-1062669/)

Not only will donkeys protect their own species, but they will also come to the defense of other animals if they feel they are also threatened. To prevent disasters from occurring in the future, you should always make sure that your donkey’s paddock is secure and has no holes or other structural weaknesses that curious canines can take advantage of. 

This also has the bonus of keeping coyotes and other wild predators out. Additionally, ensure that you keep an eye on your pooch and train it not to chase after animals on your property.  

Can donkeys and dogs get along?

Although it’s certainly uncommon, dogs and donkeys can get along if they are introduced to each other from an early age. In the past, both species have worked closely together on farms without incident, and this goes a long way in proving the animals can tolerate each other. 

Additionally, dogs are very good at socializing with other species and will jump at the chance to get to know other farmyard animals. 

Over time, most donkeys will begin to learn that family dogs are not a threat, though they may still be wary of unfamiliar canines. 

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that some donkeys will never become comfortable around dogs, regardless of how often they are introduced to one another. This is especially true if the donkey is old or has had a traumatic experience with dogs in the past. In cases like these, it’s best not to push the two to mix. 

How do you introduce a donkey and a dog to one another?

Introducing a baby donkey to a dog is a relatively straightforward process and provides the best opportunity for the two animals to develop an amicable relationship. To do this, you will need to keep both donkey and dog leashed with a separate person being in charge of each animal. 

From here, make sure they are at a safe distance where they can observe each other. After they are calm, you can slowly close the distance, making sure to stop if either animal becomes too nervous or excitable. Keep doing this until they are within close contact and able to interact. 

However, if the donkey tries to kick at the dog or shows signs of aggression (such as stamping its feet), back away and try this method again another day. Over time, both donkey and dog should become used to each other’s company, and hopefully, you will be able to let them interact freely with supervision. 

This same process can be applied to adult donkeys, although extra caution will be required as their kicks are powerful and can easily kill a dog, regardless of its size or breed. 

Do donkeys dislike cats?

Generally, most donkeys are comfortable around cats because they do not perceive them to be a threat, likely due to their small size. Typically, both animals will ignore each other and rarely come into contact, even when living on the same farm. 

However, it’s not unheard of for donkeys and cats to occasionally form friendships and playfully interact with each other. 

Although donkeys are notorious for being ill-tempered creatures, they are very social animals and are not adverse to developing friendly relationships with other species (such as horses). 

You should be careful not to allow kittens and other young animals to play too close to donkeys, as they could accidentally trample them underfoot. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for particularly territorial donkeys to chase after cats (and other animals) that stray too close to their perceived territory. 


Most domesticated donkeys should be able to adapt to a dog, it’s wild donkeys that hate dogs more. So, bear that in mind when out in a donkey habitat with your dog.

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