Skip to Content

What Colour is the donkey in Winnie the Pooh?

The donkey character in the Winnie the Pooh stories and cartoons is named Eeyore. Eeyore is famously gloomy, pessimistic and downbeat, but also loyal and reliable. His colouring is greyish-blue or blue-grey.

Eeyore’s Personality

Eeyore is portrayed as an old grey donkey who is always losing his tail. He has a dreary, depressed and negative personality. Eeyore is often saying things like “Thanks for noticing me” and “Oh well, what’s the use anyway”. He seems perpetually downbeat and sees the worst in pretty much every situation.

However, Eeyore’s pessimism also makes him one of the more pragmatic and levelheaded characters. He tends to have a more realistic perspective than the cheerier residents of the Hundred Acre Wood. Eeyore is also incredibly patient and rarely gets annoyed, even when his friends accidentally disturb his house made of sticks.

While Eeyore may seem depressed, he does have glimmers of a soft side at times. He is capable of kind gestures, often appreciates his friends’ efforts to help him, and will occasionally crack a wry joke. So while outwardly a bit gloomy, Eeyore is a steadfast, reliable and caring friend deep down.

Eeyore’s Physical Appearance

Eeyore is illustrated as an anthropomorphic donkey with grayish-blue or blue-gray fur. He has a droopy gray mane and tail, and a pink bow near the base of his tail where he loses it. Eeyore has a distinctive long donkey face with large eyes and long ears.

His colouring is mostly a blueish gray, although in the original black and white Winnie the Pooh sketches by E.H. Shepard, Eeyore appears to be a dark gray. The earliest colour version portrayed him with a more purplish tinge. But over time Eeyore’s colour has stabilized into a blue-gray or gray-blue tone.

Disney’s portrayal of Eeyore in their Winnie the Pooh animations and merchandise has cemented him as a blue-gray donkey. Other licensed works over the decades have maintained this same general colour scheme, with minor variations between mediums.

The Inspiration for Eeyore’s Appearance

E.H. Shepard’s original illustrations of Eeyore were likely inspired by the looks of real miniature Mediterranean donkeys. These small donkeys have grayish coats, large eyes, and oversized ears. Their fur often has a bluish hue – similar to Eeyore’s colouring.

The character may also have been influenced by a real life donkey residing at Cotchford Farm where author A.A. Milne wrote the Pooh stories. Milne lived at Cotchford Farm and observed the donkeys that lived in the surrounding areas. These interactions could have inspired elements of Eeyore’s appearance and personality.

Why is Eeyore Blue-Grey?

There are a few possible reasons why Eeyore is coloured blue-grey:

  • It matches his gloomy personality – blue is often associated with sadness, gloom, and depression. The cool toned blue-grey colour reflects Eeyore’s melancholic nature.
  • It provides visual contrast – the blue-grey gives Eeyore a unique look compared to the other golden yellow and brown characters.
  • It resembles real donkeys – many real world donkeys have grayish-blue coats, especially miniature Mediterranean breeds.
  • The original sketches were black and white – E.H. Shepard’s early drawings were monochromatic, so the blue tones likely evolved when colour was added.

Overall, the blue-gray colouring serves to make Eeyore appear more downtrodden and different from the happier, brighter animal characters. It matches his personality and sets him apart visually from the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood residents.

Eeyore’s Colouring in Adaptations

While Eeyore is widely accepted as blue-grey, there have been some variations on his colouring over the many Winnie the Pooh adaptations:

Version Eeyore’s Colour
Original E.H. Shepard sketches Dark gray
Early colour editions (1920s) Purplish-gray
Disney cartoons and merchandise (1960s-onward) Blue-gray
Russian adaptations Green
Live action films (1990s-2000s) Grey with a blue tinge

As you can see, most portrayals stick to the blue-gray palette established in Shepard’s early colour illustrations. The Disneyversion has become the most common depiction in popular culture. But a few adaptations like the Russian cartoons took some creative liberties and made Eeyore green!

Significance of Eeyore’s Tail

Eeyore’s tail plays an important part in his characterisation. He is prone to losing his tail, which symbolizes his melancholy nature:

  • The tail falls off easily, representing Eeyore’s tendency towards sadness and depression.
  • When Eeyore loses his tail, it underscores his perpetually gloomy attitude – he expects nothing to go right.
  • Eeyore’s friends try to cheer him up by finding and reattaching his tail, showing their care for him.
  • But the tail keeps falling off, suggesting Eeyore’s sadness is a chronic condition his friends can’t cure.

The tail is a clever literary device to reinforce Eeyore’s pessimistic personality. It also highlights the loving dynamics of his friendships – his friends never give up trying to “fix” Eeyore’s tail, even knowing he’ll just lose it again. Ultimately Eeyore’s tail conveys a message about accepting your friends even when you can’t solve all their problems.

Eeyore’s Popularity

Eeyore has become one of the most popular Winnie the Pooh characters despite (or perhaps because of) his gloomy personality. Fans respond to several aspects of his character:

  • His pessimism is humorous and relatable – everyone feels “Eeyore-ish” some days.
  • His dry, deadpan remarks and sarcastic quips are amusing.
  • His loyalty and willingness to help friends even when depressed makes him admirable.
  • His melancholy nature also makes him seem wise, introspective and non-judgemental.

Eeyore appeals to children and adults alike. Young fans find his sadness engender sympathy. Older fans appreciate his complexity – he comes across as the most multidimensional character. His distinctive gloomy personality has made Eeyore beloved by generations of Pooh fans.


Eeyore’s notoriously depressing personality is perfectly complemented by his blue-grey colouring. The cool toned, gloomy shade matches his melancholic nature. Eeyore’s color also gives him a visual distinction from the happier, brighter characters in the Hundred Acre Wood. While adaptations have played with his exact tone, Eeyore is unanimously portrayed as a blue-gray, perpetually pessimistic donkey. His colour and personality have endeared him to readers and viewers, making Eeyore one of the most memorable and oddly lovable residents of Pooh Corner.