Can A Mule Reproduce?

Confused whether the hardy creature you have brought home can reproduce? Need companion or not? Well, first of all, it’s so kind of you to think that and it’s quite fair to get confused as mules are a mixture of two closely related but different domestic animals.

In this brief post, as you can judge we would be discussing whether mules can reproduce or not? We would try our best to keep this post just as informative as our previous “can donkeys reproduce?” was. So, without further ado let’s see if this exceptionally hardy animal can reproduce or not.

Can a Mule Reproduce?

No a mule can not produce, for the record, donkeys can reproduce but unfortunately, this hardy creature called “mules” can not reproduce at all. And there is a legitimate reason that our readers might not be aware of.

Rest assured, we would surely be discussing this matter in detail. First of all, allow us to introduce mules just so our readers can understand the reason for this inability better.

Mules are an outcome of a male donkey and female horse mating. This domestic animal, which is usually raised for carrying heavy loads and pulling heavy equipment, can be female or male. Despite having both male and female mules to be bred, we still have to breed a male donkey and female horse to bring a mule to the world.

Mules are known and admired for several qualities; they are strong, medium weight, intelligent, less obstinate, patient, hardy, and long-lived.

Mules are most suitable for the rough and tough work than donkeys and horses as they are medium-sized, have excellent ground-covering ability, endurance, disposition, and require less food.

The livestock farmers prefer mules over horses and donkeys because they said have harder skin and can resist sun and rain better than the other two options.

Mules generally have long ears, thin limbs, narrow hoves, short mane, and thick heads. If we try to judge mules by their appearance, most of them resemble shaggy ponies, fine-boned racing horses, draft horses, and sturdy quarter horses.

Now that this hardy creature is introduced well, let’s get back to our today’s topic and see why do mules can make babies.

Why Can’t Mules Reproduce?

Well, the reason is simple and quite easy to understand. In simplest words, mules can’t reproduce solely because of the odd numbers of chromosomes.

Mules are sterile, because of the odd number of chromosomes the male and the female mule have trouble making sperm and eggs. So, if an animal can not make sperm or eggs for whatever reason, how would it be able to produce babies.

The reason for this odd number of chromosomes is that mules get 32 chromosomes from horses and 31 from donkeys, so by adding the total number of chromosomes becomes 63.

This odd number makes it almost impossible for the mules to reproduce.

Why do the odd number of chromosomes make it impossible for the mules to reproduce?

Well, it’s no secret that to have babies both parents have to contribute the same number of chromosomes.

As the horses have 64 chromosomes and donkeys are blessed with 62 chromosomes.

According to National Library of Medicine, If the horses and donkeys are crossbred both parents can not contribute the same number of chromosomes so it gets hards for the offspring to reproduce.

Yes, you have got the reason why mating male mules and female mules would not reward you at all. Some worth-sharing information is still needed to be discussed;


Here is what else our loyal readers need to know;

Let alone mules, the odd number of chromosomes can cause reproductive issues

It’s just not the mules that require the same number of chromosomes from parents to be able to reproduce in the future, humans have the same requirements.

Humans can have an odd number of chromosomes as well, if this happens the human can suffer from down syndrome or may have to face miscarriages.

Even a hinny and a mule together can’t reproduce

Hinnies are the outcome of a female donkey and male horse breeding whereas, the mules are brought into the world by crossbreeding a male donkey and a female horse. So, both hinnies and mules would have an odd number of chromosomes. It makes it nearly impossible for them as well to reproduce.

Male and female mules rarely mate as they can not reproduce

As we have mentioned above, the mules produced as a result of cross male donkey and female horse rarely mate because they can not produce sperm or eggs and reproduce. So, for these legitimate reasons, they are usually not brought together to breed.

If mules can not reproduce, how is the mule population growing?

It might sound stupid to a few readers but it remains one of the most widely asked questions about mules.

The mule is in demand and their population grows by breeding male donkeys and female horses. Yes, continuous crossbreeding is the only way to bring mules to the world as mules can not reproduce mules.

As mules can not reproduce, they are usually castrated at a young age

Let alone mating, we hardly see a male mule roaming and teasing male mules not because solely because they can not reproduce.

The reason why such incidents have never come to our notice is that the male mules are usually castrated at a young age.

Castration is a process in which the animal loses the use of its testes. It is often performed by professionals, it can be done through surgery, chemical, endocrine, or immunological approaches.

In the end, the animal loses the two most important testicular functions; testicular hormones and the production of spermatozoa.

Castration is not just performed to not just to control reproduction, but to control aggressive male reproductive behavior, treat reproductive diseases, and improve meat quality and production as well.

Learn more about Mule Names

It’s scientifically and physically impossible for mules to reproduce yet some cases of mule reproducing a mule has been reported

We have no idea how true the information is but some cases of mule reproducing a mule have “actually” been reported.

The first case was reported in 1950, then in 1990, and the most recent one has happened in 2008. If the reports are 100% true, it’s no less than a miracle.

Mules may not have the well developed reproductive system but hinnies can be fertile and produce healthy babies

Hinnies are a cross of female donkeys and a male horse, like mules hinnies, also have an odd number of chromosomes.

Despite having an odd number of chromosomes, hinnies are not fully sterile. They are usually taken as “nearly sterile” animals.

Though, science still has to prove how hinnies produce manage to generate functional eggs.

Hinnies can reproduce but it’s simply as rare as white Peacock, bismuth crystals, jeweled squid, rafflesia Arnoldi, purple carrots, auroras, and kangaroo joey inside the pouch.

It’s just that mules can’t reproduce but they have been blessed with the best of both worlds

The mules only lack the reproduction function but it’s not that hard to bring a mule to the world either. Other than the reproductive function, mules have been blessed with the best of horse and donkey world.

They are intelligent, less obstinate, patient, hardy, and long-lived. Moreover, they have harder skin and can resist sun and rain better than the horses and donkeys. So, if we look at all these qualities, we can say that this hardy creature has picked the best features of horses and donkeys.

Even if mules can’t reproduce, they are still quite valuable

Mules have been serving us since the beginning of time, they are valued and demanded to be hardy, patient, intelligent, and less-obstinate.

Mules are demanded and used for pulling carts, carrying people across the rough terrain, and for helping their masters in tilling the soil.

Mules are one of the most commonly used working animals, so, the inability to reproduce does not bring down their value and demand in society.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are mules used for?

Mules are extremely hardy, they are usually admired for their willingness to work, exceptional disease resistance, undying intelligence, and surefootedness. So, all these qualities make them suitable for pleasure riding, pulling carts, carrying people across the rough terrain, and tilling soils.

When was the first horse and donkey were bred?

It’s super hard to tell when did the first mule was brought into this world as they have been serving us since 3000 BC. Even the records would fail to tell, so it can be said that the first mule was brought into the world anytime in 3000 BC.

Why are mules so valued?

There are several reasons, why would this hardy creature not be valued? It’s intelligent, less-obstinate, patient, cheaper to get, raise, requires less food, and rightly sized. They can be used for purposes like pulling carts, carrying people across rough terrain, giving rides, and tilling soils. Are these reasons not enough to value a living thing?

In brief, the appropriate answer to the question of whether mules can reproduce or not? Would be “no, mules can not reproduce at all because of the odd number of chromosomes”.


Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

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