Goats are some of the oldest defined animals and their breeds, especially dairy goats, are also known to be one of the oldest breed standards with production records. There are various recognized breeds of Capra aegagrus hircus, otherwise known as domestic goats. In the case of selective breeding of goats, the breeders mainly focus on improving the production of goatskin, fiber, dairy and meat products. Goat breeds are generally classified depending on their primary use, though there are several goat breeds that have dual or multi-purpose. Breeds are generally classified based on their primary use, though there are several breeds which are considered dual- or multi-purpose.
There are various breeds of pet goats; some people prefer small goats while some want large goats. Some prefer goats with perky ears while some like those floppy-eared goats. Regardless of the characteristics that you are looking for in a goat, you’re sure to have a lot of options to choose from. The entire population of goats are known for its versatile breeds, ranging from small pet-sized goats to big-horned bucks. Below are some of the popular goat breeds known all over the word.
In choosing a goat breed, you need to determine the available space you have in your house or backyard to fence in your goat. This will greatly influence your decision in picking the right goat breed.
Nubian goat breeds, first bred in England in the 1920s-1930s, are known for their large and sturdy bodybuilt. Known for their roman nose and long,floppy ears, Nubian goat breeds are vocal dairy goats that come in any color or pattern. Nubians are the most popular breed of dairy goat in the U.S.
In terms of height at the withers, Nubian goats should be at least 30 inches at the withers and should weigh at least 135 pounds. Meanwhile, bucks should weigh at least 160 pounds and be at least 32 inches tall. Since these goats weigh more than their counterparts, they have more meat to offer.
Nubian goat milk has one the largest fat content of any of the goat breeds at an astounding 5%. Nubian goats can produce .5 – 1.5 gallons of milk a day. While they aren’t the highest milk producer of the dairy goats, Nubian goats can produce milk all year long. If you are considering getting a pet kid Nubian, make sure that you get it tested for G-6-S, a disease in animals that only affects Nubians.
Nubians are favored by some breeders because they are considered as a dual-purpose goat breed – they’re ideal for both meat and milk production.
Goat milk is considered to be more healthy which is why it is more preferred by lots of health conscious individuals. Goat milk is also known to have less lactose than other types of milk which makes it easier to digest for people who are lactose-intolerant. This is just one of the many reasons why the demand for goat milk is higher than its counterparts.
Alpine goats can produce 1 – 2 gallons of milk with an average fat content of 3.5%, which can be considered as high fat content. The milk is used to make many thick substances made from milk, such as ice cream, cheese and butter.
The Nigerian Dwarf goat breed is known for its physical similarity with the French-Alpine breed. The maximum height for the Nigerian Dwarf doe is 22.5 inches at the shoulders while bucks are expected to measure at 23.5 inches at the withers.
Despite their small size, Nigerian Dwarfs are great milk producers. They are also described as friendly and gregarious. In fact, they can be petted, and trained to walk on a leash like a dog. In terms of color, this goat breed exhibits any pattern or color and this is the only breed of dairy goat that may produce offspring with blue eyes.
The Nigerian Dwarf goat breed is ideal for producing your own milk at home. Although they only produce a couple of pints in a day, the milk that they produce has an astounding 6.1% butterfat, making their milk extremely rich, creamy and desirable. Nigerian Dwarf goats are such great milk producers because they are also prolific breeders.
Originally bred in Oregon, the roots of the LaMancha goat breed go back to Spain. LaMancha goat breeds are easy to spot because of their extremely short ear pinnae. Because of this unique characteristic, this goat breed is often called “earless goats” because at first glance, there are no distinct ear flaps even though they do have ears.
There are two varieties of LaMancha goat ears – the elf and the gopher. Gopher ears have no cartilage while elf ears can grow up to 2 inches in length and only found on does. Just like its cousins, LaMancha goats are excellent producers of dairy milk, regardless of which type of ears they have.
These goats are also considered gentle and calm, making them excellent 4-H goats. The 4-H Meat Goat Project is a fast-growing animal science project. There are two main types of Meat Goat Projects – meat goat breeding project and market meat goat project. LaMancha does should measure at least 28 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh at least 130 pounds. Bucks should weigh at least 155 pounds and measure at least 30 inches tall at the withers. Milk of LaMancha goat milk has 4.2% fat concentration.
Pygmy goats are considered to be the most comical looking among all the goat breeds, thanks to its unproportionate limbs and its compact and short body structure. Pygmy goats have long beards and in this breed standard, the hairier the goat, the better. Pygmy does should not be taller than 22.5 inches while bucks should just be 23.5 inches or shorter.
Myotonic goats are slowly not being used for meat anymore because The Livestock Conservancy has labeled it as “threatened”. However, the good news is that the breed is now recovering. In the past, this goat breed belonged to the group which are used primarily for goat meat which may be one of the main reasons why it was labeled as nearly endangered.
For breeders who are hesitating on whether to crossbreed Myotonic goats with other breeds, the fainting condition is reportedly not passed on to crossbreeds because it is a recessive gene. However, once crossbred with, Myotonics lose their most desirable traits which include being affectionate, easy to manage and being friendly.
The Saanen goat breed is known to be adaptable to varying climates, mellow and eager to please. Considered to be the largest of the dairy goat breeds, Saanens have erect ears and exhibit a short, fine hair coat. Saanen does weigh at least 135 pounds and measure up to 30 inches tall. Bucks should weigh at least 160 pounds and measure up to 32 inches tall.
Saanen goats can produce 1 gallon of milk every day. Their milk contains about 2.5 – 3% of fat. These goats are primarily domesticated, making them perfect for pets.
Sable goats are known for their large ears and short, thin hair. Some variations of this goat breed have dark coloring which can result in unusual patterns. The dark coloring of these goats comes from recessive genes. This goat breed is perfect for those who are looking for unique patterned goats.
Known to be adapted from the Saanens, Sable goat breeds produce milk with an average of 3-4% of fat content. The average weight of a Sable goat is 145 pounds. Does typically measure at 30 inches at the withers while bucks measure at 32 inches.
The Guernsey goats are oftentimes called olden Guernsey. From the name itself, these goats are popular for their gorgeous, golden color. This goat breed is considered to be the smallest of medium-sized dairy goats. Guernsey goats generally produce 3.16 kg of milk with an average 3.72% fat content. It is worth noting that it is not legal to import Golden Guernsey goats into the United States.
Toggenburgs are a smaller Swiss goat breed and are considered to be one of the oldest breeds of goat, first noted in the 1600s. This goat breed has a straight face, small but erect ears, full beards, soft hair and exhibits white markings on a solid color. This goat breed also has flaps of skin found on their neck. Toggenburg does measures at least 26 inches at the withers and should weigh at least 120 pounds while bucks should weigh at least 145 pounds and measure 28 inches at the withers.
The fat content in milk produced by Toggenburg goats is quite low at 3.3%. However, Toggenburgs breed well which makes it reproduce regularly. This goat breed is also ideal to breed with meat producing goat breeds.
This goat breed originated from Switzerland. Oberhasli goats are quite small, perfect for farmers with limited space or living in an urban setting. This goat breed may have sweet personalities but they also have a big potential to cause some damage. For this reason, the horns of Oberhasli goats are removed by most breeders at an early age.
The milk of this goat breed is less creamy with 3.6% of fat. Oberhasli goats can’t produce all year round; however, they can produce .5 – 1.5 gallons of milk per day. The milk of Oberhasli goat is also very sweet.
Most Americans may not consider goat meat as their primary meat source. However, health buffs and other nationalities consider it as a ready source of nutrition, an alternative to beef, pork and chicken.
Goat meat is considered to be relatively healthy mainly because it almost has fewer calories than that of chicken meat. However, when cooking goat meat, make sure that you cook it properly because the meat can end up dry and stretchy. When prepared properly and with the right recipe, goat meat can make a nutritious and scrumptious meal.
Around 25 million Black Bengal goats can be located in Bangladesh, specifically in Orissa, Bihar and West Bengal. Considered as a relatively poor nation, families with Black Bengals consider themselves fortunate as they can support themselves with its meat and milk. Farmers take advantage of Bengal Goats from its milk, coat, down to its meat. The goat can produce up to 11kgs and the goat skin or coat can weigh up to 20kg. Coat and meat are considered to be the most important products from this animal because when it comes to milk, it does not appear to be a very good producer.
Just like other goat breeds, the Black Bengals are easy to care for, feed and house, so it’s an ideal option for farmers and breeders. The goats are good breeders and are able to give birth to 2-3 kids once or twice a year. Black Bengals start proliferation at about 15 months old.
As its name suggests, Black Bengal goats are usually dark in color. Their body is lean but their structure is short. They have small to medium horns and the ears are placed on top of their heads. Black Bengal goat meat is considered to be the best meat among all goat breeds because of the meat taste and quality.
From the name itself, Spanish goats came originally from Spain. They were brought to Mexico and were later on brought to the United States.
Spanish goats are resilient when it comes to handling different climates. Typically, this goat breed is made for travel and is relatively low maintenance. Spanish goats are usually bred and raised for their meat, which started in the 1980s. Other variations of Spanish goats include scrub goats, wood goats, hill goats, briar goats and brush goats.
Boer males can grow to be 300 pounds. Because of this large size, they are one of the most popular breeds for meat production. Other advantages are that they are resistant to disease and reproduce often.
Australia is the top exporter of goat meat, and they use Boer goats to do this. While they are popular in Australia, they originally derive from South Africa in the early 1900s.
Rangeland goats make up 90% of the goat meat industry. The sanctuary of these goats is primarily in Australia, where most of them were also bred and raised. Rangeland goats that are considered to be premium are tall, wide-bodied and short-haired.
This goat breed can thrive and reproduce in dry areas. Considered to be low maintenance, Rangeland goats easily mate with other goats, but they are usually bred with Boers.
Also known as the Kalahari Red, this beautiful animal mostly lives in South Africa. As the name suggests, the Kalahari Reds have a brown/reddish color. This coat makes it useful for them to blend in the surroundings. This goat breed can withstand dry weather and hot temperatures. The feature that this goat breed is known for is that its meat is more tender and leaner than other breeds.
Kalaharis are ideal to breed because they are durable and have been bred to be immune to parasites and common diseases. They breed throughout the year and usually give birth to three kids every couple of years. The body structure of a Kalahari Red is long and tall. Some breeders breed these goats to larger goat breeds to make them meatier.
This is a new goat breed that originated in New Zealand in the 1980s. They were bred intentionally to create an adaptable meat goat. This process was done by breeding Toggenburg goats, Anglo-Nubian goats, Saanen goats and feral goats. Kikos are low maintenance goat breeds and are expected to survive in most conditions.
Some positive attributes of Kiko goats include good hooves, lean meat, better milk production, good mothering skills and weighing more than its counterparts.
Verata goats are famous for its one of a kind, twisted horns. Taking from its name, this goat breed can be found mostly in Vera, Spain. There are approximately 17,000 Verata goats in Spain and like most of its counterparts, Verata goats are strong and durable and can withstand all climates. Having these kinds of characteristics make it easy for the farmers to raise Verata goats.
This goat breed is rather on the small side, reaching about 7 centimeters tall and just weighing around 70 kilograms. Most of the Verata goats have dark colors (brown or black) and 40% of them have beards.
Verata goats can breed prolifically and a breeder can expect a maximum of three kids every two years. This goat breed can produce milk for 175 days, up to 150 liters in total. Kids used for meat are usually ready at around 45 days of age.
The diverseness of goat breeds make it quite fascinating and challenging when it’s time for you to choose what breed to raise. Before choosing a goat breed, just make sure that you are fully-equipped on the needed area, food, cost, etc., in raising a healthy, thriving goat. When raised in a healthy environment, goats not only serve as a basic provider of dairy, cheese and meat – they can also be good and loyal animal companions.