Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

pp 1-11

Date: Latest Version

Equine Cognition

  • Konstanze KruegerAffiliated withEquine Management, Nurtingen-Geislingen UniversityDepartment of Zoology/Evolutionary Biology, University of Regensburg Email author 
  • , Isabell MarrAffiliated withBehavioural Physiology of Farm Animals, University of HohenheimFaculty Agriculture, Economics and Management, Department Equine Economics, Nuertingen-Geislingen University
  • , Kate FarmerAffiliated withSchool of Psychology & Neuroscience, St Andrews University


Cognitive ecology; Donkey; Equids; Horses; Human–horse interaction; Social cognition; Zebras


The equids (Equidae) comprise zebras, donkeys, and horses. They are not considered to be independent taxa and can be crossbred, with wild animals sometimes crossbreeding in overlapping habitats. In general, the resulting equid hybrids are called zebroids (zebra and any other equid), mules (male donkey and female horse), or hinnies (male horse and female donkey). Other informal labels include zebrules, dedonks, and zorses. The hybrids are usually infertile.

Equids differ in their social organization and have different habitats (Klingel 1972; Fig. 1). Some species are exclusively wild, and some include domestic types. In evaluating their cognitive capacities, it is important to consider the species’ social and environmental challenges (Griffin et al. 2017). Only by knowing the conditions to which animals have to adapt can their cognitive capacities be compared in relation to oth ...

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