FARM LIVE STOCK OF GREAT BRITAIN - ROBERT WALLACE, Professor of Agriculture and Rural Economy in the University of Edinburgh
FOURTH EDITION, 1907 (First published 1886 )

The belief was entertained by Darwin, and accepted universally for years after his death, that "the influence of the first male by which a female produces young may frequently be seen in her future offspring by different sires." The evidence accepted in support of the assumption has not proved sufficiently reliable, and Professor Cossar Ewart's extensive telegony experiments at Penicuik with zebra hybrids (zebrules), dogs, and numerous small animals, including pigeons, although supplying only negative evidence, all point in a diametrically opposite direction. He has completely undermined the relevance of the often quoted case of Lord Morton's pure-bred chestnut Arab mare, - which first bred to a quagga, and subsequently by a black Arab stallion, gave birth to two dun colts with striped legs, — by pointing out that similar bandings occur naturally, without crossing, in certain breeds of horses, notably a Norwegian breed ; and by breeding many zebra hybrids — the progeny of a great variety of virgin horse and pony mares, followed by foals from the same mares by an Arab stallion — not one of which showed any marking or other characteristic which could be traced to the zebra.

Zebrules or Zebroids have in recent years excited much public interest, on account of the success of the extensive experiments conducted between 1896 and 1904 by Professor Cossar Ewart at Penicuik, Midlothian, about 15 miles from Edinburgh. There "Matopa," 12.2 hands, a Burchell zebra stallion, variety Chapmans, from the Transvaal border, by a great variety of ponies and a few larger mares, bred some sixteen zebra mules (Plates CXXXVI. and CXXXVII.). They proved to be very hardy, resisting the winter cold at an elevation of 800 feet above the sea. They had double the number of stripes common to the zebra, and were without exception bright, intelligent, and handsome in appearance, had excellent feet and clean limbs, with wonderful bones when the strength of the mothers was considered. They were good-natured and tractable for mules, and were broken to the saddle and to harness. The two tallest specimens, over 14 hands, went to work in; a mountain battery in Northern India. The early official reports of these animals were not entirely satisfactory in relation to the unsuitability of their feet to a hilly country ; their need for a larger amount of food than the ordinary mule ; and their suffering from fever and catarrh and falling off in condition with hard work. But the trials have not been extensive enough nor carried on long enough to settle the question of the suitability or otherwise of the zebrule for military purposes.

Carl Hagenbeck, of Hamburg, secured eight of the number when the Penicuik experiments came to an end. Six of them were sent to the St Louis Exposition in 1904, and sold, to develop an interest in America in the new cross. The two retained by Hagenbeck, and valued at £1200, are regularly driven in his private carriage, and are said to be hard workers, doing quite 50 per cent more work than any horse. It is generally admitted that zebroids are stronger for their size than common mules, and there can be no difficulty in breeding them up to 16 and 17 hands, by Grevy's Somaliland zebra on mares of any of the heavy cart breeds. The first zebra cross on record appears to have been bred by Lord Clive about the beginning of the last quarter of the eighteenth century, by mating a common jack and a female mountain zebra. Mountain zebra crosses are reported to be more difficult to handle than other zebrules, and those by under-bred mares worse than those showing some quality. Similar crosses were bred in Italy and in Paris early in the nineteenth century. Zebra-ass hybrids were bred at Knowsley and at Windsor Park in the reign of George IV. Zebra crossing in different ways was carried out later in Paris and Melbourne, and several similar crosses were bred by Lady Meux, at Theobald Park, Hertfordshire. Lord Morton's famous Quagga-Arab cross was produced in 1815, and Lord Mostyn bred another of the same. The first genuine mule-zebra by a Burchell sire, and probably the most perfect specimen that has yet been produced, was Ewart's "Romulus" by "Matopa" out of "Mulatto," a West Highland pony, in 1896. Baron de Parana, of Brazil, has since bred a number of useful animals in a similar way. The zebrule is not proof against the poison of the tsetse fly, Glossina morsitans, but this is not to be wondered at, as the zebra bred away from the fly country is not itself immune.

For full particulars, consult The Penicuik Experiments, by J. C. Ewart, published by Adam & Charles Black, London, 1899; papers in the Journal of the Highland Society for 1902 ; and, " The Utility of Zebra Hybrids," by Thos. H. Dale, in The Transvaal Agric. Journal, 1904.



A widely circulated report, published in May 1903, writes: THAT ENTIRELY NEW SPECIES OF ANIMALS may be created is demonstrated by the latest achievements of the world’s greatest animal hunter, Carl Hagen-beck. On his animal ranch near Hamburg, Germany, Hagenbeck has for some time past been devoting himself to the creating of new species of animals and birds. He has obtained new varieties of deer and mules and wonderful crosses between the zebra and the horse. [. . .] Probably the furthest developed of the new species, of animals he is creating is the cross between the zebra and the horse. A number of these are at his depot in Hamburg, and it is not an uncommon sight to see him taking a drive behind two of these strange “horses.” The characteristic of these animals is that they possess the zebra’s body and the horse’s head, and are as large as mules. The aim has- been to obtain a stronger and better blood than that possessed by the existing equine breeds. At present Hagenbeck has six zebra-horses broken to harness. He has found them possessed of greater endurance and strength than horses of their weight, and seemingly possessed of greater intelligence.

ZEBRULES. (The British Medical Journal, June 27 1903). THE OPENING UP OF CENTRAL AND EASTERN AFRICA has revealed the fact that instead of zebras being nearly extinct, these animals exist in large numbers on the banks of the Tama river and in the province of Ukamba. Unlike horses and cattle, they are proof against horse sickness and the fatal tsetse fly. At the present time, for land transport in war, mules are almost universally employed, and they are used for the carriage of mountain battexies. Professor Cossar Ewart has at Penycuik since I895 been endeavouring by zebra-horse hybrids to "evolve" an animal that shall be be superior to the mule for the purposes for which that animal is usually employed. There are three kinds or types of zebras - namely, Grevy's zebra of Shoa and Somaliland, the mountain zebra (equus zebra), once common in South Africa, and known as the common zebra, and, the widely distributed Burchell group of zebras.

The zebra-horse hybrids were obtained by crossing mares of various sizes with a zebra stallion, a Burchell's zebra; and the new animals get the name of "zebrules." They seem excellently adapted by their build and general make, as well as by the hardness of hoof, for transport purposes and artillery batteries. The zebra striping is often distinct, though in colour they more generally resemble their dam. They stand I4 hands high, with a girth measurement of 63 in. Their temper seems to be better than that of the ordinary mule, and they are exceedingly active;, alert, and intelligent. The Indian Government are giving them a trial in Quetta for mountain battery work, and they are being put, also, to a practical test in Germany. It appears from the experiments of Mr. Hagenbeck of Hamburg that zebrules go in harness quite well, and that Jamrack of Toun-on-the-Alster is introducing them into Germany and America. It is predicted that the zebrules will be the "mule" of the twentieth century.

NEW DRAFT ANIMAL DOOMS ARMY MULE. CROSS BETWEEN HORSE AND ZEBRA IS SUPERIOR. DOES NOT CONTRACT DISEASE. More Lively Than the Animal That Provokes Cussing and Cannot Be Less Intelligent. (Various, August 1903)

The days of the mule are numbered. Within the next few centuries his melodious voice will have been stilled forever. This is the prophecy of United States Consul General Richard Guenther, at Frankfort, Germany, who sends a report to the state department on the chances of the zebrula, a cross between the horse and zebra, superceding the mule. He says of the qualifications of the zebrula:

“German papers contend that it has been demonstrated that the mule, the cross between the horse and donkey, is inferior to the cross between horse and zebra. Formerly the opinion prevailed that the zebra was almost extinct. The opening up of Africa, particularly the eastern part, reveals these fine animals in large numbers. Compared with horses and cattle, they possess peculiar advantages, as they are immune against the very dangerous horse disease of Africa, and also against the deadly “tztze.” The question was therefore raised whether the zebra could not take the place of the mule, commonly used in the tropics. The greatest credit with reference to the solution of this problem is due to Professor Cossar Ewart, who has been trying since 1895 to produce crosses between horses and zebras, with a view to developing an animal superior in every respect to the mule.

“Professor Ewart produced crosses from mares of different breeds and zebra stallions of the burchell kind. The offspring is called zebrula, and on account of its form and general bodily condition, especially the hardness of the hoofs, is specially adapted for all transport work heretofore performed by mules. The zebrula is much livelier than the mule and at least as intelligent. The zebra stripes are often well preserved, while the undertone of the skin is generally that of the mother. A full grown zebrula is fourteen hands high and the girdle circumference about 160 centimeters (sixty-three inches). The experiments so far have been so successful that it is predicted that the zebrula during the present century will completely supercede the mule.”

Other newspapers of the time wrote "The days of the mule are numbered, comes the word from Germany, where a new animal, the Zebrula, has been evolved to take the place of the gentle-eyed, melodious-voiced and hard- hoofed little animal. The new animat1 is the result of a cross between the horse and a zebra. The nomenclature of horseology would indicate that a better name for the new quadruped would-be the zehorska."

A NEW ANIMAL.—ROMULUS THE ZEBRULE. Southland Times , Issue 19173, 10 October 1903, Page 4: Professor Cossar Ewart has been experimenting for some time with zebras to see if he could obtain an animal superior to the ordinary mule. During the last eight or nine years he has bred from his Burchell zebra, Matopo, and different classes of mares — chiefly Shetland, Iceland and Clydesdale— a number of hybrids, which have now reached a marketable value. Within the last twelve month; Hagenbeck, of Hamburg, has bought eight of the zebrules, , as the new animals are called, and in February last the Indian Government bought two, which have been sent to Quetta to be tried for mountain battery work. The illustrations show Matopo's eldest son, Romulus, when no was twenty-eight days old, and his head when full grown. His dam was Mulatto, one of Lord Arthur Cecil's Island of limn ponies. From the first Romulus was strong and hardy, and was easily broken to harness. He moves more like a zebra than a horse, and when young was somewhat restless when separated from his companions. Born on the 12th of August, 1890, he was presented to King Edward and carried off to Sandringham from the Royal Agricultural Society's Show at York in 1900. As a foal his color varied from orange to reddish brown, but since he shed his first coat he has become more of a dun. This is the first cross between a male zebra and an ordinary mare that has ever been bred ; but a few months later Baron de Parana, of Brazil, who has also been experimenting with zebras, obtained his first zebra -horse hybrid, and it is his belief that the zebrule will be the mule of the twentieth century, l-'or strength, intelligence and alertness the hybrid is greatly indebted to its zebra sire, and it is more easily broken in than the ordinary mule.

“ZEBRULA” MAY EVENTUALLY REPLACE THE MULE (The Courier Journal, July 31, 1904). THE death knell of the Soldier’s friend—the old army mule—has been sounded in no uncertain tones by the recent appearance of the “zebrula,” a cross between a horse and zebra, which Is extraordinarily Intelligent, and whose enduring qualities and capabilities in the performance of hard work recommends it strongly for usurping the place which has long been held by the mule. This new horse, the “zebrula,” on account of its form and its general physical condition, especially the hardness of the hoofs, i especially adapted to all transport work which is now performed by mules. Moreover, the “zebrula” is much livelier than the mule, and is certainly as intelligent.

In Germany, according to Richard Guenther, United States Consul General at Frankfort, it is confidently predicted that ere long the mule will be replaced by the “zebrula," Efforts to produce crosses between horses and zebras, which have been in progress for nearly eight years, have finally become successful, and assurances are given that, the “zebrula" will be the coming animal for transportation. A prominent animal dealer of Hamburg, Germany, who raises all kinds of animals, has just arrived at the World’s Exposition in St. Louis with a fine collection of the “zebrulas" and various varieties of the zebra.

The opportunity is presented to enterprising men of this country to open up a new industry of breeding “zebrulas” to replace the mule, as the former are claimed to be more useful, quicker and beautiful than any mule. Wildness is said to be one of the characteristics of hybrids and half-breeds. To say zebra hybrids are wild would hardly accurately describe them. From the first, zebra hybrids are more friendly, more curious and more confiding than ordinary foals; they notice everything that happens In their neighborhood. Should a strange dog appear it is rapidly chased from the field. If at all suspicious they lose little time in scampering off to a safe distance. They might very well be described as tamer than tame animals until an attempt is made to curtail their freedom, when all at once they are as wild as the wildest. With time and care most of them can be trained to do any kind of work. There is every reason for supposing "zebrulas” would be as easily managed as ordinary mules, and for believing that in India and Africa they would be In every way more useful.

As a nation, Americans are said to be wanting in looking ahead, trusting to dash and courage, making up for want of systematic methods and forethought. It remains to be seen whether an effort will be made to utilize the zebra hybrids. Primeval man domesticated the horse. The “zebrula" can in like manner be tamed sufficiently to make the production of mules as simple as it might In time become profitable.

The "zebrulas" are in make greatly superior to the common mule. The legs are excellent, and their hoofs are all that could be desired; the hind quarters are well formed, while the shoulders depend to a large extent on their breeding. As to stamina, even in this country, "zebrulas" have the advantage; in warmer countries they defy most of the diseases horses and mules so readily succumb to, and suffer hardly at all from the excessive changes of temperature and other unfavourable conditions.

“A report from the November 25th, 1904 edition of the Olsburg Gazette mentions the zebrulas at the World’s Fair: “THE ZEBRULA. A NEW BREED OF HORSEFLESH has come into public notice, namely, the Zebrula. Some of these animals are being shown at the World’s Fair. They originated in Africa from a cross of the Zebra stallion and the horse mare. They are said to be highly regarded in South Africa, where they are valuable on account of not being affected by the bite of the tsetse fly, which is sure death to the horse or donkey. Breeders in South Russia, in England and Germany have taken up the breeding of these animals. They are said to be hardier than the mule or horse. The Zebra is known to be a very wild and swift animal and for a long time it was found impossible to make him useful to man on account of his wildness. The crossing has taken some of the wildness out of his progeny. The name given to the progeny is Zebrula. It is likely that we will soon have a good many varieties of the Zebrula, as there are two species of zebras, those inhabiting the mountains and those inhabiting the plains, and the crossing of these in various ways should give a great variety of markings and other conformations.”

On January 27th, 1905, The Times Dispatch asked “WILL ZEBRULAS COME HERE? [American] Government May Experiment With New Zebra Horse Cross. It is understood that the government has under consideration the importance of zebras for the purpose of experimental breeding with the horse. The Agricultural Department has been asked to take up this work, but as Uncle James Wilson Is pretty well acquainted with the American mule and his good qualities, it is not sure that he will spend much time or money on the new breed. The hybrid between the horse and the zebra is a striped animal with great speed and endurance. Germany has been experimenting with this cross. for several years and has tested its value in war with results that were very encouraging. It is said of the zebrula that it is as gentle as a horse, in this respect differing very much from the zebra. It is stronger than a mule and entirely immune from certain diseases which are pretty certain to attack horses and frequently with fata) results when imported into certain parts of Africa. As soon as the German Government were satisfied with the success of this line of crossing, it at once established a breeding station in its African possessions. At this station much attention in being given to the breeding of zebrulas, and these are now regularly used in handling heavy ordnance, as, for instance, mountain batteries of the colonial service. They are also being used as mounts for officers and men, and for draught ' purposes in various ways.

Later on, The Cincinnati Enquirer of May 1st, 1905 wrote: “THREE ZEBRULAS ADDED TO THE CURIOSITIES OF THE CINCINNATI ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN. Three zebrulas have been received at the zoo from the Hagenbeck Company at Hamburg, Germany. The animals have been in this country for some time, and were a part of the big collection of wild animals which was exhibited at the St. Louis World’s Fair by Hagenbeck. The zebrula is a hybrid animai, which is secured by crossing the zebra with either a donkey or a horse. One of the zebrulas received here is a cross with a horse, and the other two are crossed with donkeys. The zebrulas are bred by the German army for experimental purposes for use in Africa. The zebra has a hide which can resist the insects and flies, and by crossing them with horses the Germans hoped to produce an animal which had the endurance of the horse and those qualities of a zebra which would allow it to be used for domestic purposes in Africa. The hybrid was called the zebrula as it is purely an artificial animal."

Ultimately, the zebrula was to become a circus curiosity as this cutting from The Kingsport Times of August 20, 1925 indicates: "ZEBRAS AND ZEBRULAS DO TRICKS AT WILL OF CHRISTY'S TRAINERS. For the first time in the history of wild animal training zebras and zebrulas have been taught to perform tricks and obey the will of their trainer. Some fine specimens of these animals are with Christy Bros, trained wild animal show, which will exhibit in Kingsport on Monday, September 14. The striped equine has always been the stumbling block in the paths of educators and trainers of beasts and animals. Many of them after herculean and patient endeavor have given up in disgust and consigned the convict coated animal to a remote and disagreeable locality, acknowledging that he was beyond all human understanding. Christy Bros, trainers for many years concurred in this belief, but heroic perseverance was finally and justly rewarded. These circus kings now have with their great show zebras that give performances which include everything done by the best trick horses. Interesting in this connection is the appearance and presentation at the same time of several zebrulas, or equine hybrids, the only ones of their kind, produced by scientific crossing of full blooded zebras and Kentucky thoroughbred horses."

Here we have an account of the hybrid from The Elyria Reporter on August 22nd, 1905: “ To experiment With Zebrula. Zebrula, .a newly coined word. Is applied lo a peculiar appearing animal. The zebrula is a cross between a full-blooded, vicious zebra and an American horse. The zebra, as students of natural history are informed, is the hardest of all four-footed, hay-eating animals to handle. It is more treacherous than either the lion or tiger, and is ten times more lively, when it comes to kicking, than the well-known Missouri mule. The zebrula does not Inherit these bad qualities from his sire’s side. He looks like a zebra about the head and has dull brown stripes that show indistinctly int [sic] he still duller brown of the hair, which is very soft and silky. A full-blood zebra possesses bright, black and white stripes in conformation the zebrula follows the type of the American horse, and from the infusion of the latter’s blood. Its temper is normal, as it were, and it displays the many good traits of the horse. English army officers have become greatly interested in the zebrula and have induced the government to request Mr. Hagenbeck to breed at least a dozen of them and send them to South Africa, for experimental purposes. The officers believe the zebrula will stand the South African climate better and do considerably more work than either the full-blooded mule or horse.

AT LAST A USE HAS BEEN FOUND FOR THE ZEBRA. Not Much Value Himself, but He Makes a Capital Father When The Mother Is a Kentucky Mare. The Zebrula, Their Offspring, Sold by Thousands to the German Government. (The new York Times, Sunday, March 18, 1906)

In the day» when we were young and were joyful participants in a visit to the circus, or the less exciting but equally entertaining Zoo, there was always one animal that particularly impressed the childish mind. Probably the similarity that the zebra bore to our old friend the horse caused paramount interest in "the little black-and-white-striped ponies.” The zebra, too, had always the youthful charm, being the only animal whose title begins with the letter Z, and the illustrated animal alphabet books have accordingly made almost universal use of the zebra picture. As days went on, no doubt many others have wondered how it is that an animal bearing so close a resemblance to that ever useful friend, the horse, should never have been similarly useful to mankind, except for exhibition purposes.

Some few' years ago that well known wild animal monopolist, Carl Hagenbeck, became considerably interested in the terrific loss of horseflesh suffered by the British Army daring the late Boer war owing to the bite of the tsetse fly, whose sting in nine cases out of ten, proves fatal. It was estimated that this little pest cost the British Government, that of necessity had to import 99 per cent of its horses and mules, many hundreds of thousands of dollars during the South African campaign. It was a fact that the zebra, an animal closely allied to the horse and the mule, was as yet immune to the bite of the fly, and it was wondered If by the cross-breeding of the two closely allied animals, a hybrid could not be procured that would also be immune to the much-feared fly, and at the same time prove to be an animal of intelligence and of use to humanity.

The first difficulty that presented itself in a series of experiments was the fact that the zebra is an animal whose very nature has always rebelled against domestication or even restriction. The zebra is the most obstreperous animal in the world. Hundreds have been the subject of vain endeavor to tame and subdue them. It is not that the zebra is of savage nature, or particularly vicious, but rather that the blood of generations of freedom seems to be so thick that the animal eventually balks at the attempts to train or develop it mentally. Weeks of hard labor, when it would seem as if the efforts of the trainer would be rewarded with some success, have suddenly been dissipated by an unconquerable desire on the part of the animal to resist the trainer and refuse to attempt the trick or obey the order. Five years were spent in training a span of four zebras for Leopold Rothschild, whose ambition was to drive a four-in-hand of these Interesting creatures through the streets of London. In due course the zebras were shipped to London. For some weeks the beasts behaved fairly well, until one day when they were being driven by Mr. Rothschild from his place at Gunnersbury to South Ealing, they became frightened at a passing automobile, bolted, and generally proved so untractable that for weeks it was impossible to do anything with them.

The first attempt at cross-breeding was made In Hamburg, and the foal proved a most Interesting creature. The Intelligence of the young zebrula - for that was the title given the new hybrid -was remarkable. It seemed to have lost the rattle-brained scaredness of the father and to have become imbued with the domesticity of the mare. In appearance it had the size of the zebra with the rich bay coat of the mare, ribbed by dark underlining stripes making, indeed, a handsome and beautiful beast. As a curio such an animal was of great interest, but, in the mind of the breeders, it was purely a question of utility. Young zebrulas were soon shipped to the Cape and sent north. It did not take long to discover that the youngsters were also immune from the bite of the fly.

It is perhaps well to state that the zebra is found in large numbers in German East Africa. The German Emperor soon became considerably Interested In this new animal, which in the future is unquestionably to prove of so great an assistance in the country where “ salted” (animals immune from the tsetse fly are called “ salted “) draught animals are almost worth their weight in gold. With the Emperor’s approval about twice a year a zebra hunt is held in German East Africa. That one of these hunts is a great novelty and creates considerable excitement may be gathered from the fact that it is necessary to employ the services of thousands of natives and that though much big game and antelope and springbok may be shot, there is severe penalty against shooting a zebra. Results of the hunt will often show that many hundreds of wild animals have been encircled and entrapped of which the zebras only have been allowed to live to prove a future blessing to mankind.

The first step in the zebra hunt is to obtain the assistance of the natives, some of whom live in the territory that will be hunted, while others may be imported for the purpose. The natives include Kaffirs, Swazis, Matabele, Mashonas, Zulus, and other dependents of the native chiefs. The territory to be hunted is selected and a centre founded. From this centre a circle is described with a radius of from 100 to 150 miles, making a complete circle of some 500 miles. A given date is set, the various chiefs notified, and the various hunting parties, generally about twenty-five in all, and each under a separate guide and head hunter, set out to cover the territory assigned to them. Soon the various parties meet on the right and left, forming a chain of natives who gradually converge toward the given centre.

The zebras, being extremely nervous and of wild disposition, are always found in herds. At the first sight of the enemy, man the herd stampedes, only to be met by another approaching party and turned again toward the centre. Often as many as five or six herds will be rounded up in this manner, and as the hunters gradually converge, the zebras become surrounded by a wall of enemies which it is practically impossible to break through. Sometimes, however, the animals do break the line, and many days are lost until they are again surrounded. Eventually there comes the day when an immense kraal is sighted, and into it the animals are driven. The kraal used for this purpose is nothing more than an immense inclosure with barbed-wire fence and thatch-roofed sheds to give the animals shelter from the rays of the noon sun. Then the hunt may be said to be at an end. A general feast is held in which all the hunters take part, and at which the chiefs are rewarded for their labors and all return to their own kraals until the next hunt. As soon as the hunt is ended there begins the long, arduous duty of transporting the zebras to the breeding farms at Loangula, where at the present time there are hundreds of Kentucky mares for breeding purposes. For this transportation American cowboys are employed. They treat the zebra as a broncho, and in bunches of twenty or thirty partly drive and partly haul them to the breeding farm.

At the present time thousands of young zebrulas are under contract to be supplied to the German Government to be used in the place of imported mules and artillery horses. The British Government is also extremely anxious to become the owner of unlimited quantities of this new hybrid, and the work of regeneration Is proceeding apace until in a few years there is but little question that the zebrula will be fast taking the place of the horse and mule in South Africa. That the zebrula is in every way superior has been proved beyond a doubt. The zebrula is quick, strong, tractable, and willing, and for the rough country and hot climate is bound to become indispensable. An interesting fact in connection with the zebrula Is that some of these clever animals are to be seen this year in this country in connection with Hagenbeck shows. The zebrula will be seen in chariot races against the horse, whom in many instances he Is able to distance, as he still retains the great speed and agility of the father zebra.

From The evening News, September 7th, 1922: “SCIENCE IS JUST NOW INTERESTED IN HYBRIDS OF THE ZEBRA STOCK. There is a stocky-built faintly-striped zebrula at the Zoo, a cross between a zebra and a Shetland pony. In Southern Indiana the zebra has been successfully mated with Arabia mares, producing the zebroid, a tough but docile beast of burden. One advantage expected of this cross Is the longevity that the sire may be able to confer on his progeny. In his native Africa he sometimes reaches 75 years, and if his hybrid American offspring can carry their vigor into fifty years, this would be more than double the horse’s expectancy of life. “ (The claim of such longevity in zebras was incorrect)

The Tatler, 25th April 1934, printed a personal reminiscence of the zebrules used by the British army in Tibet; ”About 1904 in India some of the mule corps had some things they called “Zebrules.” I do not remember how they were bred, excepting that they were half zebra and showed the stipes plainly. There were some in the mule and donkey transport used on the Tibet Expedition to Lhassa, and I saw many of them. One Shuttleworth had some in his corps which came up with the reliefs when some of us were coming down. I remember his lot very well because when he arrived in Chumbi he hadn’t a single sore back or lame one in the whole corps and they had come through something pretty tough getting over the passes. They were small-mule size, and, as far as I can remember, they did pretty well and were very sturdy, as they had need to be, for the wretched transport animals had a terrible time. . . . The zebrules did their bit, and so did the poor old donkeys.“ Many of the yaks, that one would think were suited to the conditions, perished.

The Daily Courier of December 7th, 1936, mentioned the zebrula in brief: “MULE, JENNET AND ZEBRULA. Of animals which owe their existence to man the mule and the jennet are the oldest examples, and no one can deny that the mule is a most useful creature Hardy as a donkey, strong as a horse, surefooted and tireless, there is nothing like it for rough country traveling Its success caused the production of the zebrula which is a cross between the horse and zebra. The zebrula is as strong as a mule, but livelier and even less liable to disease."


Zebroids were bred in Brazil in the Marques do Paraná’s (Honório Carneiro Leão) Fazenda Lordello. The Marques's son Henrique Hermeto Carneiro Leão, became Baron of Paraná in 1888. Henrique, much like British zebra enthusiast Walter Rothschild, had an extravagant habit of driving around in a horse buggy pulled by a pair of zebras. The zebras were Canon and Carabine, which had been acquired in 1892 from the Paris Jardin d'Acclimatiation. Canon and Carabine were to begin his hybridisation experiments. Carabine died, but Canon sired at least 9 zebroids on different mares.

The Baron of Paraná stated “these zebroids are very sprightly but at the same time are gentle, becoming very docile in the hands of those who care for them. They feed as well from the manger as in the pasture, and are possessed of extraordinary muscular strength. Therefore they may be bred at will for the saddle or for heavy or light draft. It is only necessary to select the mare possessing the qualities desired.” He hoped that zebra mules would substitutes for horse/ass mules. Zebras were hardy animals and naturally immune to tsetse, so it was hoped that their hybrid offspring would inherit those traits. Around that time, British explorers in Africa were searching for the source of the Nile and suffered heavy losses of horses and donkeys used as pack animals.

The Baron’s experiments were widely reported and he won a medal from the Société Nationale d'Acclimatation in France, which published details in its annals. (Parana (Baron de). Le croisement du zèbre avec la jument obtenu au Brésil. Bull. Soc. d'Acclim., 1897, p. 124 et 433 (p. 102).)

The Baron's undertakings were successful enough that he was able to export some of his zebroids to Paris as carriage animals.

According to The Sydney Mail (August 9, 1902) Baron de Parana a stock-breeder in Brazil, thus writes to a friend:- “I have nine zebroids. They are all bay in colour from the lightest to the darkest, with lighter points, all having the stripes of the zebra very marked and very symmetrical on the head and neck, on the body and on the legs; on the haunches close to the tail the stripes are replaced by spots more or less dark and dappled. Four of my zebroids are already broken to drive in harness and to the saddle, and they are as good for driving as under the saddle. They are very docile, very strong, quick and active. As trotters they are of the first order. I have one pair of zebroids, three years old, which harnessed to my Victoria [note: type of buggy], containing three persons, make every day at a regular trot, 7 and a half miles in 30 minutes on the country roads where there are steep rises. I affirm that the zebroid will be the mule of the 20th century. In order to breed on a large scale it is necessary to take the male zebra as soon as he is born and have him nursed by a mare and then leave him always among mares till he comes to the age of maturity, which is to say, until the age of seven years. The zebra is not “adult” until that age. The subsequent proceedings are the same as when one desires to obtain ass mules.”

ZEBROID LORDELLO-ONE YEAR OLD. Out of the mare STAEL bv the zebra CANON. This illustration issued by courtesy of the U. S. Department of Agriculture and taken from the Annual Report of the Bureau of Animal Industry, 1898. The picture was sent to the U. S. Department of Agriculture by Baron de Parana, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The zebroid is the result of a cross of the zebra with the common mare.

BREEDING ZEBROIDS - U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Annual Report of the Bureau of Animal Industry for the Year 1899

The Brazilian minister has kindly forwarded to the Bureau of Animal Industry some interesting data regarding the crossing of the zebra with the common mare. Two photographs of the hybrids produced by the crossing accompanied the data and are reproduced for this report. This experiment was conducted by Baron de Parana, of the Plantation Lordella, municipality of Sapucaia, State of Rio Janeiro, Brazil.

Hybrids of this sort have not been unknown, but they are exceedingly rare. Hybrids of the ass as the male parent and the horse as the female parent, which produce the common mule, are well known everywhere. Less common, but still well known, is the hybrid known as the "hinny" (sometimes called the "jennet"), which is the offspring of the horse as the male parent and the ass as the female parent. The breed of zebra generally considered the best for crossing with any of the domestic species of Equus is Burchell’s zebra {Equus Burchelli) which is the best known zebra at this time. Messrs. Tegetmeir and Sutherland give the following description and comparison with the mountain zebra : "The species is still common in some parts of South Africa, and is now being utilized in the coach teams in the Transvaal. The Burchell differs from the mountain zebra (E. zebra) in several essential parts. It is a larger and stronger animal, with shorter ears, which are rarely more than 6 inches in length, and have a much larger proportion of white, a longer mane, and a fuller and more horse-like tail. The general color is pale yellowish brown, the stripes being dark brown or nearly black.”

Mr. Harold Stephens, who wrote of this zebra in 1892, speaks of their use in the harness in the Transvaal in a most encouraging way, and says they will largely be substituted for mules. “They are said to be entirely free from that South African scourge called horse sickness." He says: "The zebras, when inspanned (harnessed to the coach), stand quite still and wait for the word to go. They pull up when required and are perfectly amenable to the bridle, and are softer mouthed than the mule. They never kick, and the only thing in the shape of vice which they manifest is that when first handled they have an inclination to bite, but as soon as they get to understand that there is no intention to hurt them they give this up."

Mr. Stephens says that attempts are to be made to cross this zebra with the horse, with the object of getting a larger and handsomer mule than the ordinary cross with the ass, and probably superior in every way. He says further: “ It will be interesting to watch the progress of these experiments, which may bring about a new and important industry, for if the cross between the zebra and the horse can be brought about without difficulty it will not be long before these animals will be preferred to ordinary mules."

When we consider these possibilities, one is reminded of the remarks of Thomas Bewick in 1824. While the records show that there were still earlier in the century zebras that had been broken to the harness, it was generally believed that they were among the most untamable of wild animals. Mr. Bewick said : " Such is the beauty of this creature that it seems by nature fitted to gratify the pride and formed for the service of man, and it is most probable that time and assiduity alone are wanting to bring it under subjection. As it resembles the horse in regard to its form as well as manner of living, there can be but little doubt but it possesses a similitude of nature and only requires the efforts of an industrious and skillful nation to be added to the number of our useful dependents."

The Burchell zebra is much better adapted by its structure and form to the uses of man than any of the wild asses, and there can be little doubt that its hybrids, especially where crossed with the horse, would be exceedingly valuable to man if the mating is done carefully.

In the case of the hybrids produced in the plantation of Baron de Parana, to which he has given the generic name of zebroids, he was able to make some interesting and important observations. He produced five zebroids, as follows:

Lordello. Male; foaled December 5, 1896; out of the mare Staol, by the zebra Canon; is a brown bay striped with black.

Menelick. Male; foaled January 15, 1898; out of the mare Ella, by Canon; gray, striped with black.

Saha, Female; foaled June 22, 1898; out of the mare Denise, by Canon; light bay, striped with black.

Salomon, Male; foaled July 2, 1898; out of the mare Ingleza, by Canon ; a bright bay, striped with black.

Erythrea, Female; foaled December 30, 1898; out of the mare Ella, by Canon. ; bay, the zebra stripes being dark brown.

The Baron states that these zebroids are very sprightly but at the same time are gentle, becoming very docile in the hands of those who care for them. They feed as well from the manger as in the pasture, and are possessed of extraordinary muscular strength. Their size, slenderness of form, pace, and disposition depend upon he dam. Therefore they may be bred at will for the saddle or for heavy or light draft. It is only necessary to select the mare possessing the qualities desired. Thus the crossing with mares of the heavy Percherons, Suffolks, or Clydesdales gives zebroids that are large and very strong, but not so heavy and thickset as their dams. Crossing with mares of lighter races, such as the Arabs, Normans, etc., produces zebroids that are tall and slender, fully as strong as the former, but more tractable and suitable for work which requires quickness rather than strength alone.

A peculiarity of the breeding of zebroids, as pointed out by Baron de Parana, is that copulation will not take place unless both the mare and the zebra are " in heat " at the same time; “that the domestication of the zebra is of very recent date, and consequently it preserves the characteristics of the wild animals, which never copulate except when male and female are in heat at the same time." The zebra, he says, is in heat in autumn and spring, especially in very warm countries, seldom covering in very warm weather and never in very cold weather.

It will be observed that the five zebroids named above are out of four different mares, but that the zebra Canon was the sire of all of them. This fact, taken in connection with the statement that Professor Ewart, at Penicuick, near Edinburgh, bred about twenty mares to a zebra with only one foal as a result, indicates that Canon was an unusually good getter or that there was mismanagement in the other instance.

Baron de Parana is convinced that the zebroid will prove of great economic importance, especially in the warmer countries, and advises all who are engaged in breeding to take the new product into consideration, he believes that when the zebroid is better known there will be no further use for the common mule — "that the zebroid will be the mule of the twentieth century."

The report was also published in part in The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. ) Saturday 6 January 1900 and in the Pacific Rural Press, 9 December 1899. Following the report of the Bureau of Animals in Industry, there were further reports in the USA of intentions to further the Baron’s work in the USA.


King J.M. (1967) THE STERILITY OF TWO RARE EQUINE HYBRIDS. In: Benirschke K. (eds) Comparative Aspects of Reproductive Failure. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Equine hybrids, other than the mule (ass male X horse female) and hinny (horse male X ass female), have not been bred in any numbers nor received much attention. The first record of a zebroid (ass male X mountain zebra female) appears to be from Europe in 1782 (cited by Ewart, 1898). Then in the nineteenth century Captain Lugard recommended that "an attempt should be made to obtain zebra mules by horse or donkey mares, because he believed that such mules "would be found excessively hardy, and impervious to the (tsetse) fly, and to climatic diseases" (Ewart, 1896). However, the potential of the hybrids remained unexplored and they did not achieve any prominence until Ewart's telegony experiments at the turn of the century. He coined the terms "zebrule," "zebrinny," "zebryle," and "zebret," in an effort to distinguish the zebroids he produced. Now many other terms would have to be added to cover the hybrids which have been recorded between three zebra species, two horse species, and the African and Asian asses (Antonius, 1951).

The sterility of the male [mule] is notorious but there are a number of reports of mule mares that have foaled (Bonadonna, 1957). These animals could not be positively identified before the advent of modern chromosome techniques, and the only two fertile, alleged mule mares to be examined in this way have been shown to possess donkey chromosome complements (Benirschke et al., 1964; Benirschke and Malouf, 1965).


BREEN, M. and GILL, J. J. B. 1991. THE CHROMOSOMES OF TWO HORSE X ZEBRA HYBRIDS; E. CABALLUS X E. GREVYI AND E. BURCHELLI. - Hereditas 115: 169- 175. Lund. Sweden. ISSN 0018-0661. Received July 16, 1991.
Accepted October 17, 1991The first detailed cytogenetic studies of male hybrids resulting from the matings of a male Grevy zebra (Equus grevyi) with a female domestic horse (Equus caballus) and a male African Plains zebra (E. burchelli) with a female domestic horse are presented. The study shows the dissimilarities between the chromosome complements of the parental species.

It is apparent from the cytogenetic findings that there is little homology between the parental karyotypes in chromosome number, size, or banding patterns. This is an indication that a great deal of divergence in karyotypic architecture has occurred between the zebra and the horse.

Horse x Grevy’s Zebra Hybrid ('Charlie')
“Charlie” was one of two male 'zebroid' foals born on a ranch in Kenya during 1949-52 as a result of a number of matings between a captured Grevy zebra stallion and domestic horse mares in an attempt to breed hybrids which were more resistant to African Sleeping Sickness. The foals inherited the sire’s highly strung nature and were sold to a circus in Germany, where they were kept until 1957 when they were acquired by Chester Zoo. One of the male hybrids died at Chester in 1977, the other dying in 1987.

“Charlie” had a brown body colour from its horse mother, and the general striping pattern of its Grevy zebra father. As with a pure Grevy zebra the stripes did not extend under the stomach or onto the muzzle up to the nostrils. In contrast to a pure Grevy, no clear striping pattern was visible on the throat or chest, and whilst a pure Grevy has a characteristic three arcs striping pattern on the hindquarters this was not at all clear in the hybrid, the striping apparently breaking down in this region. The presence of striping between the knee and the hoof was also less sharp on the hybrid than on a pure Grevy.

Horse x Burchell’s Zebra Hybrid (‘Bijoux’)
“Bijoux’s” exact origins were unclear, but he was believed to have been born in Switzerland to a domestic mare. The sire was unknown, but the hybrid’ striping pattern indicated the sire was a Burchell’s Zebra. The hybrid was acquired by Starr Circus and was still living in 1991. Bijoux had a brown body colour with broad stripes that met along the belly, typical of all races of E. burchelli. He was very friendly, with the tame nature of a domestic horse.

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