Missouri Mule


In 1995, Gov. Mel Carnahan signed a bill designating the Missouri mule as the official state animal. Mules are hybrids: the offspring of a mare (female horse) and a jack (male donkey). Mules themselves cannot reproduce. After its introduction to the state, the mule quickly became popular with farmers and settlers because of its hardy nature. Missouri mules pulled pioneer wagons, plowed fields during the 19th century and played a crucial role in moving troops and supplies in World War I and II. For decades, the Show-Me-State was the nation’s premier mule producer.


Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo)

§10.110. Official animal. – The Missouri Mule, known for its strength, hardiness, intelligence and even temper, is selected for and shall be known as the official animal of the state of Missouri. (L. 1995 H.B. 84 & 98)

approved 31 May 1995
effective 28 August 1995


Photo Gallery:

Click on an image below to enlarge and read a caption. This will open a new window in the Missouri State Symbols Flickr album.

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Additional Resources:

Missouri State Archives Manuscript Collection MS238 Missouri Mule History Collection. View the finding aid online here.

View a Missouri Department of Conservation film on YouTube online here about the history of logging in Missouri (particularly Grandin), which includes mention of mules.

Ashton, John. “History of Jack Stock and Mules in Missouri.” The Missouri State Board of Agriculture Monthly Bulletin XXII, no. VIII (August 1924): 1-62.

Bradley, Melvin, and Duane Dailey. Recollections of Missouri Mules. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri-Columbia Extension Division, 1991.

Essin, Emmett M. Shavetails and Bell Sharps: The History of the U.S. Army Mule. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1997.


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