If you own a horse I know you’ve asked yourself this question before. Perhaps you were watching National Geographic and the thought popped into your head? That’s exactly what happened to me so I decided to do a little research and find out.
Can a horse and Zebra Breed? A horse and a zebra can breed; however, in almost all known cases this pairing has required some level of human intervention. This Offspring is most commonly known as a zorse but depending on the parents can also be known as a hebra.
The zebra-horse hybrid, also known as a zebroid, like many other cross-species animals, was developed with a purpose in mind and can have quite a few interesting variations in color, size, and attitude.
What exactly is a Zebroid?
Any combination of Zebra and equine is considered to be a zebroid. Each distinct zebra hybrid has its own name depending on its parentage. Below I have compiled a listing of the various names each combination can have. Interestingly, there seems to be a genetic difference between a male zebra cross between a female horse and a male horse crossed with a female zebra. However, that same distinction doesn’t appear for ponies or donkeys.
|Female Parent||Male Parent||Offspring Name(s)|
|Zebra||Horse||zorse, zebrula, zebrule, or zebra mule|
|Horse||Zebra||hebra, horbra, zebrinny, zebret, or zebra hinny.|
|Donkey||Zebra||zonky, zebonkey, zebronkey, zebrinny, zebrula, zebrass, zedonk, and zebadonk|
Most of these, no matter the combination, are all going to be infertile. However, there have been documented cases of tri-breeds. This means that at some point, someone was able to breed a hybrid animal with another breed. These are extremely rare though, so I wouldn’t try to make your own zebra-horse-donkey at home.
Interestingly, a zebroid coloring always resembles the non-zebra parent. however, the animal always gains some of the zebra striping. Generally, striping does not occur on the same as it does on a zebra. The striping generally only occurs on parts of the body, often the lower legs, back, and back of the neck. Some very interesting hybrids occur when the non-zebra parent is a patterned breed such as a paint. In these cases, the hybrid often has the stripes displayed within the darker coloring.
History of the Zebroid.
Like many hybrids, the zebroid is a very rare occurrence in nature. Many of the hybrids require human intervention to occur at all. The first known zebra hybrid occurred in 1815 by Lord Morton who was trying to domesticate a quagga. Quagga’s are a now-extinct cousin of the zebra.
During the South African war, the Boers crossed zebras with ponies. They did this primarily as a way to transport weapons and other goods. The zebra is not susceptible to the African sleeping sickness whereas the horse and the donkey are not. The hope was that this crossbreed would inherit the pony’s domesticable nature but the zebra’s immunity to the sleeping sickness.
In the early 20th century as the automobile started to take hold across the world the zorse became a popular choice for many breeders. As a flood of people now had far less use for their horses’ prices dramatically dropped. As a way to try to save their businesses horse breeders across the United States started breeding zebroids as an attempt to stirrup more business. However, the novelty of such animals soon wore off.
During the 1970s another flood of zorses started across the nation as the occurrence of zebroid’s in zoos started to rise. First as an accident and then as an attraction. Later, this started to decline as the zoos started to focus on conservation.
Can I buy a zorse?
Zebras, horses, and zorses are all legal to own in the united states. In Fact, the International Zebra-Zorse-Zonkey Association (IZZZA), estimates that 13 zorses, 22 zonkeys, and 3,000 zebras are owned within the United States. These numbers are said to be a bit on the conservative side as they are very hard to get real numbers.
So Yes, you can own them but they are rare, and actually quite expensive. One estimate that I found said a trained zorse can cost upwards of 30,000 US dollars. I’d say that’s a lot of cash for a fun looking horse!
In 2019 the site www.exoticanimalsforsale.net posted a zedonk foal for sale at a very low price of $3,500. I am not sure if this animal has sold or not. However, part of the low price is the fact that this foal is untrained. Training a zonkey is said to be a difficult affair. Perhaps this is the cause for the wildly differing prices.
Another factor in this pricing is obviously the rarity of the animal. Most Zebroid’s alive today are owned as novelty tourist attractions at animal parks around the world.
- A zorse’s stripes are as unique as a human fingerprint
- Hebra’s are far rarer than the Zorse, this is due to Zebra mare owners not wanting to waste a year of valuable breeding time on the hybrid.
- A Zorse has a keen sense of taste and will only eat its favorite plants
- Although infertile, a Zorse has a very strong urge to reproduce.
- It takes about 11 months for a zebra mare to birth to a zebroid; however, a zebra offspring takes 12 to 13.
- Zorse can reach up to 64 inches in height and weigh up to 992 pounds.
With proper care, a zebroid can live for more than 30 years. This is not that surprising due to the fact that both horses and Zebras have a lifespan of about 30 years.
Much like their cousin, the Zorse is a very social creature so it is important to keep it with either other zorses or horses. Both the horse and zebra are herd animals, they work together to keep themselves safe from predators, play, and Grooming. The Zorse inherited much of this behavior from its lineage.
The Zebroid is a very interesting animal. If not for its outstanding and unique looks. The history behind this animal and it’s rise and fall throughout history is very interesting.