Spotted Asses (the Donkey Spot Pattern and Its Progression)
The animals on these pages were used strictly for their coloration, without regard to gender, size or conformation.  Some are not the best examples of a well-conformed animals.  Use of an animal on this page is for color illustration only and does not consitute support/advertisement of a farm  of or endorsement by ADMS
Spotting in donkeys is caused by a single dominant  (partial dominant gene).  In very simple terms, all spotted donkeys have one copy of the gene for spotting, and one copy for non-spotted.  There are NO recorded cases of homozygous (having two copies of the gene) donkeys.  A homozygous (SS) donkey would have ALL spotted foals regardless of the color/pattern of the other parent.  None have been recorded, in fact all of our research numbers point to a lethal when the SS combination would occur.  It has been proven by production records that the gene need be present only in heterogygous (Ss) form to produce spotted donkeys.  However, this also means that all spotted donkeys will have one spotted parents.  A donkey that is spotted cannot come from two non-spotted parents.

Any animal that is supposedly from two solid parents should be DNA tested.  In 99% of these cases, the foals in question have been out of solid jennets and there was a spotted jack on the premises.  The other 1% cannot be proven as at least one of the animals in the family grouping is now deceased.

PROGRESSION of the PATTERN.

All spotted donkeys are COLOR + WHITE SPOTTED (Brown and white spotted, gray and white spotted, etc.) NOT "white with brown spots".  The base is always the color, the spotting is an overlay.  Visually, in donkeys, the pattern appears most similar to the overo (and possibly overo-sabino) in horses.

There may be a "sabino" pattern, and "tyger spots" may be a different pattern, but as in many horses, the spots are often bred together regardless of pattern, so the lines between the different visual aspects is no longer clear.
The two donkeys above are genetically spotted.  Both are listed as Masked Spotting Factor.  They are lacking in a body spot, but will breed as any other spotted donkey.  The blaze face is the minimal expression fo the spotted pattern.  White socks do not occur in the donkey unless the spotted gene is present.  The lower donkey is also MSF, her Blaze is truncated due to the Tyger spotting pattern (noted by the dark spots in the blaze, very common in this pattern).  People used to horse markings would completely overlook her minor white marks as non-spotted, but minor white OTHER THAN A STAR (or in one rare bloodline a Star and snip)_ in donkeys indicated the Spotted Gene.
The next step in the spotting pattern is a small hip spot.  Often donkeys have a blaze, dark legs, and one small quarter-sized hip spot.  The upper donkey (red halter) has slightly larger hip spots, but still has dark feet.  While the pattern is usually fairly symmetrical, in extreme cases (mostly dark or mostly white) the size and location of the spots is not always the same.  This donkey does not have spots on the other hip. 


This darker born donkey looks very much like the sabino pattern in horses.  The blaze has extended to include the jowls but only a snip on the lip (note that the nostrils and muzzle are dark.  The illusion of an apron face is enhanced by the normal pangare (white points) of the donkey).  One or more legs may remain dark in the spotted donkey.  As the pattern and amount of white progress, there may be small or large areas of dark on the hocks, cannons, or as dark stockings.  Regardless of the amount of white on the parent animal, most spotted donkeys are capable of sireing or producing offspring that show the entire range of the pattern (ie a MSF jack can sire MSF to nearly-all-white offspring and vice versa).  The exception to this appears to be in the Tyger-spotting pattern (discussed more in depth below).
This jack is a lovely example of a minimal spot pattern.  Blaze, snip, white throat band, forearm spot, hip spot, white socks both hind feet.  Less leg white than the animal above, but more distinct "Frame" white spots.  There is also a white spot at his flank and stifle, although it apprears to be an extension of his white belly.

A white tail spot appears on many spotted donkeys, but in some it is visible only as some white hairs in the switch, as on this jack.
As the white progresses, the hip spots become larger.  This animal has only a very small neck spot, over its crest and mane.  The jowl spot is now spreading to form the distinct dark "eyepatches".  This donkey also has a snip and lip, but still retains some dark pigment on the lips.  Partial socks on forefeet, and a partial stocking with lightening marks off hind.  The near hind leg is dark, which is typical. 
Blaze, snip.  Large neck and hip spots.  High stocking off fore, near hind.  The tail spot is very evident in the white switch. The bold,crisp edges on the white spots are similar to the frame markings in overo horses.
The pattern is more "speckled" on this foal, but other than that, very similar to the unrelated animal above (this is a mini, the animal above is a large standard).
Two very similar patterns, both having about the same amount of white.  The animal above has no  snip, the one below has a large snip and speckled muzzle.

Note the lower animl still has all four feet dark, with the exception of a partial coronet on the off hind leg. 

Through all of these examples you will note that if the cross is visible due to the coat color (it is usually visible on all but true black)  it appears in the same place it normally would occur.  As the white progresses and covers where the cross would be (if there were not a white spot) the cross may be interrupted, then continue down in a lower spot.  Imagine drawing a normal-colored donkey, then erasing the base color in patches, even over the cross.  Extreme white examples tend to have spots clustered over the cross areas (dorsal, shoulders) and the bonnet/eyes.
more spot photos to fill in the progression coming soon!!!1 
As discussed above, the dark areas tend to stay grouped over the dorsal, shoulders, bonnet, eyes.  The white covers more and more of the body and head, making the eyepatches (dark areas) smaller and smaller.  Most spotted donkeys have dark eyes, regardless of whether the eyepatch is complete or if the eye is surrounded by pink skin.  Blue eyes in spotted donkeys is just now being documented. 
ABout as extreme as the pattern gets.  There is another form of spotting in donkeys that is combines wtih the frosty/frosted roan gene, and it makes donkeys appear to be white with dark eyes (called Frosted spotted white).The only thing that gives this donkey away is the dark eartip.   Below, the eyes of this donkey.  Partial eyelid pigment is still in evidence, and clear white sclera can be seen. 
This is the Tyger spotting pattern.  This donkey has the normal dark underlying skin on her muzzle and eyes as do the donkeys higher up on the page.  This is not uncommon in tyger-spots, but it can also be caused by lack of the pangare (light points) gene (which is a recessive gene.  NLP x NLP will always result in NLP).  The tyger spot pattern seems to pass on to offspring in a more exacting fashion.  THis jennet and her 2003 foal (as well as more examples of tyger spotting) can be found on our Moredonkeys page (we will be adding more of those photos on this page soon).  Halos (peacock spots) are common in the tyger spot pattern. 
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