This breed of donkey comes from the Berry region of France and the height of a male ranges from 135cm to 145cm (13.1hh to 14.1hh) with the height of the female from 130cm (12.3hh).
As with all Grand Noir du Berry donkeys, the cross is absent and there are no visible stripes on the leg. Their muzzles, underbelly and inside their forearms and thighs are white/grey as well as around their eyes. This breed of donkey can have a bay brown, dark bay brown or black coat.
The Grand Noir du Berry was the draught animal par excellence of the small farmer often seen working in fields and vineyards. Towards the middle of the 19th Century these donkeys replaced humans to pull the barges on the Berry canal and, further on towards Paris, on the Briare canal.
The Association Française de l'Ane Grand Noir du Berry was founded to promote the breeding and use of the Berry donkey and to establish a Stud Book. The census carried out in 1993 brought forth 80 donkeys (males and females) in conformity with the standard. In 2000, their numbers increased to nearly 600 donkeys.
Today, not only do these donkeys continue to work on small farms, their docile nature and strong physique lends them well to playing a part in tourism, carrying hikers' luggage. They are also a highlight at many fairs and shows throughout France.