Donkey Tattoo: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Donkey Tattoo: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Like most people, you’ve probably tried to figure which animal best describes your personality. That isn’t strange at all.

Believe it or not, humans have an interesting fascination with comparing their personalities with some animals or animal attributes. 

Animal tattoos offer one of the best ways to highlight your personality or the dominant attributes you have. These tattoos can appear in different shapes, styles, sizes, colors; name them.

They also have specific symbolism that is almost universal in meaning, as they cut across different cultures. 

 If you’re reading this article, can we assume that the donkey tattoo has grabbed your attention?

You probably want to find out what it means and if it is the right tattoo choice for you, or perhaps you’re just curious.

This article should answer all your questions about this tattoo, its symbolism, and its meaning. 

What is a donkey tattoo?

Well, simply put a donkey is just that! A donkey tattoo. Like many other animals, people who feel they can liken their dominant traits or personalities to that of the donkey choose it as a tattoo design. 

Meanings and symbolism of the donkey

The symbol of the donkey (or ass, if you prefer) has taken on a number of associations over the years.

If you live in the United States, then the first thing that probably comes to mind when you see any donkey symbol is the democratic party. 


Its symbolism and meanings vary, depending on who you are or what perspective you’re looking at. That means, these meanings could be positive or negative.

For example, in Christianity, this animal symbolizes humility blending with fortitude. This humility was present in many ways throughout the Christian faith.

A significant one being the story of Jesus Christ. A donkey carried Mary, Joseph, and little Jesus away from Herod’s wrath all the way to Egypt.

He also rode the same animal majestically when he made his triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem for one final time.

At the same time, a donkey could also be synonymous with being obsolete, ignorant, and stubborn. You may have heard the phrase “as stubborn as a mule” several times.

Well, a mule is the offspring of a male donkey (jack) and a female horse (mare). 

Another example lies in Greek mythology, as the Greek god Dionysus is also believed to have ridden on this animal.


But in medieval Europe, adulterers were made to ride on the streets on donkey backs as a way of humiliating them. 

What does this tattoo mean?

Now that you know what the donkey tattoos symbolize, you may ask: what does it mean to have a donkey tattoo?

First of all, just like having any other tattoo, you’re free to create your own meaning for wearing this tattoo, as long as you can stand by it.

For example, you could choose to get a donkey tattoo simply because you lost your favorite donkey, or you just love donkeys – no one is here to judge. 


But if you want to rely on the general meaning of wearing a tattoo of this animal, then there are few things you might want to know. 

One, if you live in the United States, having a tattoo of this animal could mean you are a supporter of the democratic party – emphasis on “could.” 

In the Middle East, rocking this tattoo could mean that you are a Christian, from the animals association with Jesus Christ in several ways.

It could also mean that you’re a pacifist and would prefer to stay away from any form of political confrontation.

Again, this follows Mary and Joseph’s escape to Egypt to avoid Herod’s wrath instead of confronting him (which, of course, would have been a bad idea). 

Another meaning of the tattooed forcing during the Second World War.

The sixth British army usually received supplies from supply corps, some of whom had included this animal tattoo in their body art. Plus, they also displayed it on their insignia. 

In a modern western theme, people tend to be more comical with the meanings they associate with a donkey tattoo or the animal in general.

For example, if you find someone wearing a tattoo of the popular donkey in the Shrek animation, you could guess (and rightly so) that such a person has a sense of humor. 

But wearing this tattoo is also a way of indicating that you’re a versatile person, as well as an intelligent, eager, and strong worker.

This tattoo also indicates a perfect blend of determination and stubbornness required to make progress, especially in very challenging situations.

A donkey tattoo is also a way of personifying the attribute of service to others and the willingness to take on their burdens, responsibilities, and difficulties.


The stubborn aspect of the animal’s nature can also signify a person’s readiness to trust, respect, and listen to their intuition. 

Origin of this tattoo

For several years, most people seem to have misunderstood, and in effect, misrepresented the donkey.

In the olden days, owning this animal used to be a sign of the owner’s status because of the animal’s versatility, endurance, and intelligence. Plus, a donkey also has a relatively long lifespan of about 40 years. 

Donkey tattoos are one of the earliest forms of body art, with no specific originator – at least, none proven.

In American history, the democratic party in the United States seems to have popularized the symbolization of the animal as early as 1828 in the presidential campaign. 


Donkey tattoo designs

You can pick whichever choice of donkey tattoos to add a sense of creativity. You can use colors like brown, tow white, grey, or black in modern tattoo art.

In some cases, the tattoo comes with lighter bellies and white rings around both eyes. 

Some designs come with leg stripes, while others may have some markings on the back, similar to a cross. 

So, for your next tattoo experience, you should definitely consider getting a donky tattoo.

Leave a Reply