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Ellen Dahlstet
Program Coordinator

NMDA has worked with Dr. Gus Cothran, Ph.D. and Dr. Rytis Juras, Ph.D. of Texas A&M's Veterinary Integrative Biosciences Department since 2000 in two NMDA-sponsored DNA studies and most recently in continuing requests for DNA Typing*/Testing**. What follows is some basic information about the DNA process. For further details or questions please get in touch with me at: 2961 County Rd. 31, Blair, Nebraska 68008 / nmdadna@earthlink.net / (402) 238-2738.

If your Miniature Donkey has already been registered I would need to receive either by e-mail or mail the following:
    - A photocopy (front and back) of the individual's registration paperwork.

If your Miniature Donkey has not been registered*** as yet I would need:
    - The full name your Jack or Jennet will be registered under.     - Date of birth.     - Gender.     - Photocopies (if possible) of his/her sire's and dam's registration paperwork.

    - Photocopy of registration application.

When I receive your information, I will send you a DNA Sampling Form that reflects how to pull the DNA hair samples (about 30 to 50 hairs pulled about 6" down from the tail head). No veterinarian is needed. Normally is takes between four to six weeks from the time I receive DNA samples until DNA Type Sheets are mailed out to owners. The timeframe does depend on how much workload the lab is experiencing when your samples arrive, but lately it's been a little less than a month.

It's important for me to have identifying information for individuals and their parents on file in order to track them through the system and also helps me proofread DNA Type Sheets that are generated by the lab before they are mailed on to owners. DNA Type Sheets will reflect parentage qualifications for individuals already on file at Texas A&M University at no extra charge

(Please wait on taking hair samples if your Miniature Donkey is less than a month old ... before then the hairs are fragile and may break off without the root bulb which contain the DNA).

The DNA Typing fee is $50/domestic and $55/foreign for each individual Typed. No additional fee is charged for animals already DNA Typed when future parentage qualifications are required. (Please make checks out to NMDA and mail to me at the address below.) After DNA is processed owners will receive DNA Type Sheet(s) for their files. Typing/Testing information is handled confidentially and the release of information either prior to or after the creation of a DNA Type Sheet is ultimately left to the discretion of the owner of the animal. The NMDA and its representative(s) will not act as arbitrator(s) between breeders.

Export permits for DNA samples are required outside the U.S. If needed, one will be provided with the DNA Sampling Form. (Export permits are not needed for Canadian samples.

NOTE: When one parent and offspring are DNA Tested the results are about 90%. When the dam and suspected sires are DNA Tested this rises to 99%. The one exception to this is where there is close breeding in the pedigrees of the Jacks or Jennets involved — then it is necessary to DNA Type/Test all in order to qualify the parentage of the offspring.

As of August 2010 the Miniature Donkey Registry (administered by The American Donkey and Mule Society, www.lovelongears.com) requires either microchipping or DNA as a form of permanent identification prior to registration.

DNA Typing/Testing of Jacks and Jennets encourages more certain pedigrees than registries can provide. DNA is a scientific, objective approach to qualifying parentage that a registry is not capable of.

To recognize the contributions made to the Miniature Donkey community by DNA Typing, NMDA will publish The NMDA Miniature Donkey DNA Record reflecting the registered names of Miniature Donkeys who have been DNA Typed. Specific information on DNA Type Sheets will remain confidential.

NMDA's goal is to encourage owners to have their Miniature Donkeys DNA Typed as a way to benefit themselves and also add to the "genetic library" for the betterment of the Breed.

The process itself is really straight forward. I stay in touch with owners to let them know when samples arrive here and are sent on to the lab, then again when DNA Type Sheets created by the lab are on their way to them. Of course, follow ups with owners and the lab is done so no one is lost in the process.

Ellen Dahlstet
2961 County Rd. 31
Blair, Nebraska 68008
xfeddonk@earthlink.net / (402) 238-2738



When DNA Type Sheets are generated by Texas A&M University, they show Accession Numbers that should not be noted on registration papers for reasons of confidentiality. However, a "DNA TYPED", tamper-resistant sticker is sent along with DNA Type Sheets that can be applied to registration papers. See sample below. (Extra stickers are provided for mature updates or in case multiple registries are involved).

What DNA Typing Offers:

  • Provides a lifetime of identification unique to each Miniature Donkey.
  • Provides parentage qualification of offspring thereby encouraging more certain pedigrees.
  • Contributes to the DNA "library" on Miniature Donkeys and its possible future use to benefit the Breed; for example, studies of dwarfism, disease or color.


As of April 1, 2023, NMDA's Miniature Donkey DNA Program has entered 1,189 Miniature Donkeys as well as Standard Donkeys and Poitous into Texas A&M University's Equine Genetics Lab's records. Thanks to you all the Genetics Lab has been able to objectively:

  • Qualify parentage of offspring, especially important to not only breeding programs but to breeders involved with their clients overseas whose registries require parentage qualification in order to register Miniature Donkeys imported from the U.S.
  • Qualify parentage when more than one Jack may have re-bred a Jennet
  • Qualify parentage when storms have taken down fencing or over-enthusiastic Jacks have found ways to "introduce" themselves to a number of Jennets
  • Qualify parentage questioning whether an immature Jack was really that "immature" to have successfully bred a Jennet.
  • Ascertain whether individuals are closely related where registration paperwork is missing, again especially important to planning future breeding of individuals.

NMDA publishes the NMDA Miniature Donkey Record reflecting the names of Miniature Donkeys who have been DNA Typed in order to recognize the contributions they and their owners continue to make to their breeding programs as well as to the future of the Miniature Donkey community is a whole. Specific information on DNA Type Sheets generated by the lab and provided to owners, remains confidential. NMDA's goal is to encourage owners to have their Miniature Donkeys (especially Jacks) DNA Typed as a way to provide more certain pedigrees in their breeding programs and to add to the "genetic library" for the betterment of the breed.

NMDA sincerely appreciates the ongoing participation that has been demonstrated from owners overseas, in Canada and the U.S. regarding miniature Donkey DNA Typing*/Testing**. It continues to be personally gratifying to work with each of you.

Ellen Dahlstet
NMDA DNA Typing Program

*DNA Typing provides for a lifetime of identification unique to each Miniature Donkey.
**DNA Testing provides parentage qualification of offspring.


Download The NMDA Miniature Donkey DNA Record for 2023 (pdf).