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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Donkey Breed: Grand Noir du Berry Donkey (Grand Noir) [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
From vineyards and canals to the brink of extinction:
Originated in the 19th century in the Berry region after which it was named, the Grand Noir du Berry has been used for decades for two main purposes: farm work, especially in vineyards, and pulling barges along the Canal de Berry. It excelled in both of these tasks thanks to its physical strength and large size, and therefore became popular in the region.
However, its success didn't last long, as the introduction of mechanized transportation and farming machines soon cast the Berry Black aside. Its numbers dwindled steadily, but it was consequently saved by a group of breeders who were determined to continue breeding Berry Black donkeys.
In 1994, the French Association of the Grand Noir Donkey of Berry was established to regulate the breeding of the Berry Black, and a breed standard was set. The association still exists today and oversees the breeding and registration of Berry Blacks.
The Grand Noir du Berry today:
Today, the Berry Black exists in small numbers, and the breed is considered threatened. It primarily serves for recreational riding as well as for recreational driving, and is most famous for the latter.
In addition, efforts are being made to encourage farmers to use Grand Noirs when working in vineyards, because the donkey's hooves and weight don't compress and ruin the ground, compared to heavier machinery.
When it comes to their breeding, Berry Black jacks are sometimes used for the production of mules. In addition, similar to other French donkey breeds, Berry Black jennies are being milked and their milk is used in cosmetic products, especially in soaps.
Size & Appearance:
The Berry Black is the third largest donkey breed in France, outranked only by the massive Poitou (see 'Poitou Donkey'), and the Pyrenean donkey of the Catalan type (see 'Catalan'). The latter also has a conformation that is mostly similar to that of the Berry Black.
The following are the: range, average, (SD), and MOE of performance metrics of ordered Grand Noir du Berry Donkeys in Horse Isle (not bred ones). In rare cases,
Speed: 12.9-14.2, 13.5 (0.3), 0.06.
Sprint: 23-35, 29 (2), 0.46.
Accel: 0.70-0.89, 0.80 (0.04), 0.01.
Decel: 0.82-0.94, 0.88 (0.03), 0.00.
Jump: 4.78-5.05, 4.92 (0.06), 0.01.
Pull: 1.74-2.29, 1.97 (0.12), 0.02.
Turning: 34.74-46.23, 40.04 (2.52), 0.49.
Reverse: 1.7-2.4, 2.0 (0.1), 0.03.
Stamina: 50.03-54.56, 52.47 (0.96), 0.19.
Reaction: 0.73-0.85, 0.80 (0.02), 0.00.
Coat & Height:
Coat: Always dark black or dark brown-black with light points and a pale stomach. The legs are dark, and donkeys will be penalized for having a pale coat or mealy legs (see below). In addition, Berry Blacks lack a dorsal line, a shoulder cross, and leg stripes, as well as markings.
Breeding notes: in order to comply with the coat standard:
1) Grand Noirs must always have light points and a mealy coat, which means that non-mealy (pgpg) donkeys will receive a 100% penalty.
2) The legs must be dark, and therefore donkeys who are homozygous for mealy (PgPg) will receive a 100% penalty.
==> In Horse Isle, in order to be eligible for identification as a Berry Black, the donkey
Height: 12.3hh to 14.1hh.
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