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What Is the Difference Between a Hinny and Mule? Ultimate Guide

What Is the Difference Between a Hinny and Mule? Ultimate Guide

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In the diverse world of equines, understanding the differences between various breeds and hybrids can be a complex task.

Two such intriguing hybrids that often cause confusion are the hinny and the mule. While both are the offspring of a horse and a donkey, they are not the same.

In this ultimate guide, we will explore the distinctions between a hinny and a mule, delving into their genetic makeup, physical characteristics, temperaments, and much more.

By understanding the unique qualities and differences of these two fascinating creatures, we aim to offer valuable insights for animal lovers.

What Is the Difference Between a Hinny and Mule?

A hinny is the offspring of a male horse (stallion) and a female donkey (mule). A mule is the offspring of a female horse (mare) and a male donkey (jack).

Hinny and mules are both sterile, meaning they cannot reproduce. They are also both known for their intelligence, strength, and endurance.

Hinny vs Mule – Physical Similarities and Differences

Since mules and hinnies are very similar, they share a lot of the same characteristics and often look very alike. However, there are some distinct features that set them apart from each other.

Close up of a chestnut colored Hinny in a field
Hinny. Credit: Marie-Jamieson /

Both mules and hinnies have become loved by people worldwide for their unique personalities and characteristics. People will generally breed different breeds of horses and donkeys to get the cross they want.


At first glance it is often hard to tell the difference between the two. However, there are some attributes that set them apart.

Mules tend to have bodies more similar to horses, whereas hinnies tend to have bodies more similar to donkeys. Hinnies tend to have smaller ears with a more horse-like face with extremities similar to a horse. Mules tend to have longer ears with extremities similar to a donkey.

Hinnies tend to be smaller in size and can vary more in appearance than mules. They tend to come in a wider array of coat colors. They often have fuller tails, as well as shorter backs and rounder hooves than mules. Hinnies are not as common as mules because it is harder for a jenny to get pregnant from a stallion.


Mules tend to be larger than hinnies. Since donkeys tend to be smaller, so do hinnies, as they take after the size of their mother.

Bay Mule with its ears back
Mule. Credit: BlackDorianstock /

Both can vary in size, as they can be bred from different breeds of horses and donkeys. They are often divided into three categories: miniature, saddle, and draft. A miniature mule is 12 hands and under, a saddle mule is 13-16 hands and a draft mule is often 17 hands or taller.


Mules are known to be intelligent and quick learners. They are often bolder than horses and typically have a calm disposition.

However, mules are sensitive and can be stubborn to work with until they gain your trust. Once they are confident around people, they are known for being playful, affectionate and loyal.

Hinnies tend to be more reserved than mules. They can be more stubborn, as they often take after the temperament of donkeys. Typically, they are quieter and are not prone to spooking. Once they gain the trust of people, they can become more compliant, but they are often less adventurous.


Since horses have 64 chromosomes and donkeys have 62, their offspring have 63 chromosomes. This causes mules and hinnies to almost always be sterile.

Since they are almost always sterile, it is very rare that they can reproduce. However, there have been a few cases of mules and hinnies giving birth.

Are Mules and Hinnies Horses?

No, mules and hinnies are not horses. They are the offspring of a horse and a donkey, and they are considered to be hybrids. Mules are the offspring of a female horse and a male donkey, while hinnies are the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey.

White horse and brown mule grooming each other
Tracy Kerestesh /

Although mules and hinnies are not horses, they are valuable animals that can be used for a variety of purposes. They are both strong, intelligent, and easy to train.

If you are looking for a reliable and hardworking animal, a mule or hinny may be the perfect choice for you.

Why Do They Breed Mules and Hinnies?

Mules are considered to be hybrid vigor, which means they show qualities superior to both parents. They are stronger than both horses and donkeys, as well as being able to work for longer.

Mules are great for riding and working, as they seldom become lame or ill. They tend to live longer and have better stamina. Hinnies, on the other hand, don’t often exhibit much hybrid vigor. They are often smaller than mules and generally don’t have as much stamina.

However, both mules and hinnies can make wonderful mounts for riding. They are sure-fitted, hardy and intelligent.

They make great companions for working ranches and trail riding due to their sturdiness. Mules and hinnies are also shown and can make great mounts for riding different disciplines.

If they have a gaited horse as a parent, they can be gaited themselves. Both are capable of making great companions for people due to their unique characteristics.

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