|Country of origin||Spain|
|Coat||black or near black|
|Govern de les Illes Balears||Breed standard|
The Balearic donkey, Catalan: Ase Balear, Spanish: Asno Balear, is a breed of domestic donkey indigenous to the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands, in the Mediterranean off the eastern coast of Spain. Although found mainly in Mallorca, the largest island of the group, it is found also in Menorca, where it was much used for mule-breeding; it is no longer present in the islands of Eivissa and Formentera. It is officially called the Catalan: Raça Asenca Balear; until 2006 the breed was known as the Raça Asenca Mallorquina, and was also referred to as the Ase MallorquÍ, Asno Mallorquín or Mallorquin donkey.
The Balearic donkey shares common origins with the Catalan donkey and the Baudet du Poitou. The donkey was in the past the most highly valued animal in Mallorca, and could be sold for very high prices. In the early twentieth century it was prized outside the islands too, and many were exported to England, and later to the United States. The breed population fell rapidly in the first half of that century, and it came close to disappearing; the number of pure-bred animals is now stable.
A herd book was established for the Mallorquín donkey, as it was then known, in 1990. A breeders' association, now called the Associació de Criadors de Pura Raça Asenca de les Illes Balears (ASIB), was formed. In 2002 the breed was officially recognised, and a genealogical stud book was established. From 1997 the Balearic donkey was listed by the Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, the Spanish ministry of agriculture, as "under special protection, in danger of extinction". In 2006, at the request of the breeders' association, the name of the breed was changed to "Raça Asenca Balear". Its conservation status was listed as "critical" by the FAO in 2007 and as "endangered" by the SAVE Foundation in 2008.:46–47
The Balearic donkey is similar to the Catalan breed, but smaller and with lighter bone.:46–47 Jacks stand about 1.45 metres and weigh about 360 kilograms, while jennies stand about 1.35 m and weigh about 330 kg.:46–47 The coat is black or nearly black in colour, shading to pale on the belly, muzzle and surround of the eyes.
Before the mechanisation of agriculture, Balearic mares were used in all kinds of agricultural work, both for burden, carrying sacks of olives and the like, and for draught, pulling small carts; jacks were used to sire mules.:46–47
- Barbara Rischkowsky, D. Pilling (eds.) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources[permanent dead link], annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Accessed July 2014.
- Waltraud Kugler, Hans-Peter Grunenfelder, Elli Broxham (2008). Donkey Breeds in Europe: Inventory, Description, Need for Action, Conservation; Report 2007/2008. St. Gallen, Switzerland: Monitoring Institute for Rare Breeds and Seeds in Europe. Archived 2 September 2009.
- Reglamentació Específica del Llibre Genealògic de l'ase de Raça Asenca Balear (Adaptació al R.D. 2129/2008) (in Catalan). Govern de les Illes Balears: Conselleria d’Agricultura Medi Ambienti i Territori. Accessed July 2014.
- Miguel Fernández Rodríguez, Mariano Gómez Fernández, Juan Vicente Delgado Bermejo, Silvia Adán Belmonte, Miguel Jiménez Cabras (eds.) (2009). Guía de campo de las razas autóctonas españolas (in Spanish). Madrid: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino. ISBN 9788449109461. p. 424–27.
- Raza equino asnal BALEAR: Datos Generales (in Spanish). Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. Accessed July 2014.
- Raza equino asnal BALEAR: Datos censales (in Spanish). Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. Accessed July 2014.
- Races autòctones de les Illes Balears: Ase balear: Origens Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine. (in Catalan). Govern de les Illes Balears. Accessed July 2014.
- Races autòctones de les Illes Balears: Ase balear: Dades generals (in Catalan). Govern de les Illes Balears. Accessed July 2014.
- Breed data sheet: Balear/Spain. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed July 2014.
- Raza equino asnal BALEAR: Datos Morfológicos (in Spanish). Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. Accessed July 2014.