Much of the Poitou donkey’s early history is lost in time. Their name comes from the Poitou region of France, where the Roman empire introduced them. The breed was itself created to further breed especially strong mules for labor. Mules being a hybrid of male donkeys and female horses, Poitou donkeys were bred alongside and with Mulassier horses for their particular mule offspring. Their exact breeding history is lost, but Poitou breeding guidelines were well established by the 18th century.