A YouGov survey found 62% of the general public don’t associate donkeys with being “affectionate”. A donkey’s affectionate nature can take some time to show, so it pays to learn more about this characteristic.

Why does this misunderstanding exist?

One key thing to remember is that donkeys will not start out as naturally affectionate towards humans. They are a prey species with a strong sense of self-preservation so naturally avoid predators, such as humans.

In situations where a donkey has suffered from neglect or abuse at the hands of humans, they may have naturally learned to perceive humans as a threat and will not show their true affectionate nature.

If my donkey is not being affectionate what might it be telling me?

The following may be influencing your donkey’s behaviour:

  • Fear
  • Negative past experiences
  • The behaviour of attitude of the handler.


If donkeys have a warm and welcoming home, are handled correctly and experience the kindness of humans from an early age they will reciprocate and show their affection to us.

Donkeys are very good at avoiding people that are bad for them.

Want to know more?

Learn about other common misconceptions