When responding to a YouGov survey, 74% of people did not think of donkeys as “intelligent”. There have been centuries old misconceptions surrounding donkey intelligence. Learn why these are wrong with Animal Behaviourist, Ben Hart.

Why does this misunderstanding exist?

Myths surrounding donkey intelligence are highly influenced by everyday language. Comparisons with donkeys sometimes act as a means of insulting an individual’s intelligence.

The natural instinct of a donkey, which places great emphasis on self-preservation, may mean that it does not do what a person wants it to do. In these circumstances, it is often easier to label the donkey as “stupid” rather than analysing the underlying factors.

The truth about donkey intelligence

Donkeys have an excellent memory, and great ability to learn. A 2013 study by The Donkey Sanctuary found that they can learn and problem-solve at the same pace as dolphins and dogs.

This means that donkeys remember good and bad experiences for a long time. Negative or painful experiences affect the donkey’s behaviour, sometimes for years so being a careful and considerate handler is vital.

Want to know more?

Learn about other common misconceptions