Dominick the Donkey is a Christmas song written by Richard Allen, Sam Saltzberg and Lou Monte, first sung by Monte in 1960. Monte was an Italian-American singer best known for a number of best selling, Italian themed novelty records recorded for both RCA and Reprise records in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Monte continued to record until 1981 and passed away in 1989. The song describes a donkey who helps Santa Claus bring presents to children in Italy. While the song is only loosely connected to actual folklore, Dominick the Donkey is a well known symbol of Christmas in Italy.
The song was listed at number 14 in Billboard’s “Bubbling under the Hot 100” list in December 1960. The song received little airplay at the time due to the perception of its novelty and some Italian lyrics, but was quite popular in Italian-American households. The song is most popular in New York around Christmas more than any other state.