The Austrian Hungarian White Baroque Donkey is a mid-sized donkey breed of uniform type, and is uncomparable due to its specific appearance: skin and hooves are only little pigmented, the fur is light yellow (the colour´s name is cremello) and the eyes are light blue.
Most of the representatives are normal haired, but there are also individuals with elongated pelage. Normal standing mane is dominating, but also hanging manes can be seen occasionally. The foals are frequently born in an intensive yellowish colour. The dorsal stripe and the shoulder cross are often indicated.
The also white coloured gray donkeys are, in contrast to the Baroque donkeys, born dark and their fur colour changes later. Their skin and eyes stay dark.
In the times of baroque, the colour white was something special and white animals were said to be “light bringers” and symbols of the good. The origin of the White Baroque Donkey lies in the times of baroque and rococo, probably even earlier, and they were bred as a symbol of status. The area of origin of the White Baroque Donkey is limited by the Carpathian basin (Hungary) and eastern Austria.
Due to low population numbers, the breed was forgotten. In the 1980`s it was “rediscovered”: some white donkeys were “found” in the animal park Herberstein in Styria, as well as in Hungary, where some individuals were bought. The main job in this case was done by Prof. Fritz Altmann, an expert in farm animal breeds, who could correctly assign the found individuals and who recognized the importance of finding these animals, further by Kurt Kirchberger and Prof. Dr. Helmut Pechlaner, who searched for the animals in Hungary and bought them. Together with the donkeys from Herberstein, the Hungarian animals are the foundation of today´s population.
Nowadays, the biggest population of Baroque Donkeys lives in Austria and Hungary, the biggest breeding groups are located in Schloss Hof in Lower Austria and in the National park Neusiedlersee in Burgenland. In Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and Spain, the Austrian Hungarian White Baroque Donkeys can be found also in ZOOs and animal parks, which make an effort to preserve this breed.
Currently, there are 344 animals capable of mating and 30 geldings listed in the breeding book (stand from the 18.01.2021). This means, that the breed is highly endangered.
In 2016, the Society for the Preservation of White Baroque Donkeys, together with the breeding society Zuchtverband Stadl Paura had achieved the acceptation of the breed by the official boards. In order to that, the white baroque donkey is the only donkey-breed in Austria.
The breeding book is kept by the society Zuchtverband Stadl Paura, which is officially responsible for this breed. The Society for the Preservation of White Baroque Donkeys is supporting and coordinating the actual holders and breeders. It coordinates the international exchange of breeding animals in order to build a stable basic population.
With a great probability, there are unknown residual populations held by farmers in Hungary, which are still doing traditional agriculture work. In the National Park Neusiedlersee, the donkeys are successfully deployed into landscape conservancy. If someone is looking for a riding animal, one should rather choose a pony/horse or a representative of a bigger donkey breed. Due to their size, the baroque donkeys as riding animals are suitable only for smaller persons, because they should carry as a maximum one sixth of their own weight. Harnessed in front of a light carriage the animal is feeling much better and due to its fearlessness, also beginners can control it easily.