About the Herzegovinian donkey, an indigenous local breed, so little has been written and so little explored that it is difficult to make a parallel with some stereotypes about the relationship between man and donkey in general. The donkey was just there to work, barely eat and then work again, and the man was there to be angry that the donkey had not worked enough. A small Blagaj donkey has worked hard for centuries and has played an invaluable role in the survival of man on the ravage of Herzegovinian territory.
The Herzegovinian donkey is small, characterized by its strong and harmonious constitution. It has very long, muscular ears, the eyes are expressive, the neck is medium long and the very strong chest is shallow and narrow. The belly is properly developed, the legs are firm with strong bones, the hoof is a bit small but hard and adapted to the karst field. Like most other donkey breeds, the Herzegovinian donkey is used for towing, riding and especially for carrying cargo.
The work that this animal does, especially when compared to its dimensions, modest nutrition, and unimpeachable breeding – is indeed a great one. In the areas where people used to breed donkeys, where donkeys used to be a typical domestic animal, the post-war recovery has changed the way of farming, and the donkeys no longer have a prior role.
In our area today, their role as a cargo animal has almost completely disappeared, and therefore it is essential to find a new perspective for them because they are inevitably threatened with extinction. One of the possibilities lies in the exploitation of donkey’s milk. Actually, donkey milk is considered to be healing and easy to digest. Recently it has also been used to feed babies that are allergic to cow’s milk or to babies that cannot breastfeed. In fact, it was long ago normal for children from mothers who did not have milk or lived in scarcity to be fed with milk from donkeys and there was no need for them to be particularly bred, but today the situation is quite different.
Therefore, in today’s situation, besides breeding donkeys for tourist purposes and as pets, infant formula for babies and other people suffering from allergies opens an interesting perspective to preserve this noble breed.