How Much Can Donkeys Pull? Are They Strong?

I love donkeys! My first time riding a donkey was when I was ten years old, and I had a good time at that time! On that same day, I started to fall in love with donkeys, and I told myself that I will soon include donkeys on my website!

Let’s talk about how strong donkeys are and how much weight they can pull. Donkeys are known for being the short or small version of horses, but they are not. There are also large donkeys of the same size as horses, and some can pull heavier things than horses. 

How much weight can a donkey pull? 
A healthy donkey will typically be able to pull twice its body weight on an even road. However, it depends on the breed and size of the donkey. Donkeys can pull and carry more weight than horses. They are very reliable when it comes to pulling and carrying heavy things. 

There are other facts and numbers that we have to see! Also, we are going to discuss questions I saw on forums related to this topic. Let us go!

How Much Can A Donkey Pull?

Again, let me repeat myself that the weight a donkey pulls depends on its weight, breed, and size. It can also depend on the health and mood of the donkey.

Let us talk about dead weight and carts and wagons. How much weight can donkeys pull when they try to pull these three things. Let’s go!

Pulling Dead Weight

First, let us talk about dead weight. 

A donkey can pull around one-fifth or twice of its weight for a full working day of three to five hours a day. After that, three to five hours a day, they should get rested. Donkeys will need a lot of water and grass for them to be able to work efficiently. 

Donkeys are used by farmers, and by people who legally cut trees to carry the logs that they’ve cut down. Check out the video below about a donkey pulling three heavy logs.

Some people said that donkeys should never be pulling or lifting weight more than one-fifth of their weight. So it means that donkeys are only required to pull things that are one-fifth of their weight or below. If it exceeds, they might get exhausted.

However, it depends on many factors such as their size, their breed, condition of their backs, and their height. A donkey is built differently than a horse. But if we are talking about a strong, healthy, and large breed of a donkey, then that donkey can pull the same weight horses do. 

If you have a donkey, you can tell if you are pushing your donkey to their limits from their posture. If your donkey is leaning forward and they use all the strength of their four legs, it means that your donkey is pulling an extremely heavy thing. You have to reduce it if you think your donkey is having a hard time pulling.

Pulling a dead weight is not for donkeys. Somehow they can pull a dead weight, but donkeys are only for pulling carts and wagons. Donkeys are great workers and transporters, and they are known for being more powerful than horses (a large breed of donkeys only). 

It is much easier for donkeys to pull a cart because it has wheels that lessen the friction of the surface below. Let’s talk about how much weight of a cart or wagons a donkey can pull.

Pulling Carts And Wagons

A fully grown and healthy donkey can typically be able to pull up to two times its body weight. This is when they pull carts and wagons. If donkeys are pulling carts, they can pull more than two times their body. However, it still depends on how big and what their breed is. 

A larger breed of the donkey can pull up to twice their body weight, or more, for a long time. Large breeds of the donkey can pull more weight than a fully-grown and healthy horse. However, smaller types of donkeys will drag a lot less. 

Donkeys can pull more than two times their body, like three or four more, but if the weight we are talking about is five or eight times their weight, then don’t expect for a donkey to pull that thing over a long stretch. 

If you want your donkey to travel with you for a longer distance, it’s better to stick to 1.5-2 times its body weight even though the cart has wheels. This will prevent your donkeys from getting extremely exhausted, injured, and dehydrated

If your donkey is motivated, it will exert great effort in pulling the heavy thing for a long time. However, if your donkey is sluggish, your donkey will not be able to pull for a longer time. 

If you and your donkey are going on a long trip, never forget to bring food and water for your donkey. It will give your donkey more energy to pull the cart for a long time.

How Much Weight Can A Mini Donkey Pull?

There are many breeds of donkeys on our planet. There are huge donkeys and small donkeys, which are most well-known as miniature donkeys.

Like I have said above, the number of weights a donkey can pull depends on its breed and size. Miniature donkeys are less stronger than the other donkeys. So how much weight can they pull? 

How much weight can a miniature donkey pull? A healthy miniature donkey will be able to pull weight that is 1.5-2 times their body weight. Overloading is not a good idea. I suggest that you let your miniature donkeys pull less heavy things and carry lightweight things only.

Which Donkey Breeds Can Pull The Most?

As I have mentioned above, some donkey breeds can pull a lot more weight than other breeds of donkeys. 

Donkeys were used by people 5000 years ago until now, mostly in undeveloped countries. They are used as transportation, for pulling things, and for carrying heavy things. People started to breed donkeys to be strong and sturdy. Some breeds have failed, and some became successful.

Below are the different powerful breeds of donkeys when it comes to pulling stuff (not in order): 

  1. Martina Franca Donkey
  2. American Mammoth Jackstock
  3. Baudet du Poitou
  4. Cotentin Donkey
  5. Balkan Donkey
  6. Pega Donkey
  7. Ponui Donkey

Donkeys were used 5000 years ago and in the Christian Bible. They were used as transportation by people. Donkeys are very helpful to humans when there are no cars yet. It lessens the hours of walking for humans because of donkeys.

Donkeys are also known for being much more powerful than horses. They can pull and carry heavier things than horses. However, I still never recommend donkey owners let their donkeys pull weight that will exceed their limit.

How Fast Can A Donkey Pull A Cart?

The answer to this question depends on four different factors:

  1. The weight of the cart
  2. The Surface
  3. The age and condition of the donkey
  4. The length of the trip

Let us say that a donkey is pulling a lightweight cart around the same weight as the donkey. Also, let us say the donkey will travel through a gravel surface.

In that case, the donkey will probably run as fast as 10 mph (16 km/h). However, this is not a speed that a donkey can hold on to for too long. If you want a consistent pace for a long ride around an hour or so, a realistic top consistent walk would be between 5-8 mph (8-13 km/h). 

The donkey will work at its best at a pace around 3-4 mph (5-6 km/h). However, it still depends on the breed of the donkey and the weight of the cart. 

If you want your donkey to pull an extremely heavy cart, you have to make sure that you never push your donkey to go too fast. Always remember that the maximum capacity of a donkey is around 1.5-2 times their body weight, and they can only travel very short distances.

How Long Can A Donkey Pull A Cart?

You should expect your health and fully grown donkey to work at least five hours a day, and they should be able to pull 1.5-2 times their body weight without any problems. 

Donkey’s typical workday is five-eight hours a day, depending on how hard the work is. You never want to let your donkey work eight hours a day while doing a difficult job like letting your donkey pull more than twice its weight. They can get injured or die.

Just like us humans, donkeys need to rest after a long day’s work too. Also, make sure that you give your donkey a 30-minutes break so that your donkey can drink some water and eat some grass. They need water and food for their energy.

Lastly, you have to ensure that your donkey has enough sleep or rest if you push it to its limit. When your donkey is pulling a cart for more than 30 miles per day, you need to give your donkey several days to rest. 

Giving your donkey a rest after work will prevent your donkey from getting injured. This will also make sure that your donkey’s legs and heart will stay healthy, and to make sure that your donkey doesn’t suffer from overwork.

Can Donkeys Pull More Weight Than Horses?

Donkeys and horses are different species, but they are from the same family called Equidae. They are commonly used by people thousands of years ago as transportation because there were no cars before. Donkeys and horses are very helpful to human culture until today. 

Yes, donkeys can pull more weight than horses even though they are much smaller than horses. It is the greatest advantage donkeys have over horses. However, it still depends on the breed of the donkey and horses and how healthy they are. Also, horses are inevitably faster than donkeys.

Final Words

Donkeys are inevitably helpful to us humans. They were used as transportation before until today. Donkeys are strong, but you should not abuse them. Take care of your donkey, and make sure that your donkey is healthy. Donkeys are your workers, especially if you have a farm, so you never want them to die because of overworking.

Jake Willhoite
Jake runs and has had cats and dogs his entire life. As a kid his family adopted several dogs from the local shelter which set him down the path of animal rescue.
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