Understanding Different Types of Goats

There are many different types of goats that, depending on the breed, may be used for dairy, meat, wool, show or companionship. An adult male goat is a buck, an adult female is a doe and a baby goat is a kid. Castrated males are called wetheres. Heights of goats are measured at the shoulder.

Dairy Goats
Goats are divided into two broad groups: dairy goats and pygmy goats. Pygmy goats are raised to show. There are six species of dairy goats:

  • Nubians
  • LaManchas
  • Alpines
  • Oberhaslis
  • Togenburgs
  • Saanens

The pygmy goat is smaller than the dairy goat. While they can produce meat and milk, they are more commonly used as family pets and show goats.

Boer Goats
A Boer goat is a large breed with a muscular body. Its hair is short and glossy, and the coat around the head and ears is brown. The healthy Boer goat has strong, round horns. The Boer goat has a dominant temperament. This breed is very fertile and has a high resistance to infection, so it is one of the best types of goats to have if goats in your area are prone to infections. Many cashmere goats have a Boer lineage to increase their size and make them valuable for meat production as well as fleece.

French Alpine Goats
French Alpine Goats are used mostly for dairy production and artificial insemination projects. These descendents of mountain goats are a very hardy breed that has been farmed in France since the 1970s. This breed can be any color or color combination and has quite long bodies. The males (called Wales) range from 34 to 40 inches tall. The females are about 20 to 30 inches tall. The milk of the French Alpine Goat is about 30% protein and 35% fat.

Nigerian Dwarfs
The smallest goat on Earth first appeared in West Africa. Nigerian Dwarfs love human company. Males can reach 23 inches tall, and females are 22 inches tall, although most males top out at 19 inches and females average 17 inches. The Nigerian Dwarf comes in many different colors and may even be spotted. There are two species of Nigerian Dwarfs: the Dwarf and the Pygmy, which is stockier than the Dwarf. The Pygmy also has a smaller range of colors.

The African Pygmy Goat only grows to about 15 to 20 inches tall. This breed is considered a meat goat, but it does produce a small amount of high-quality milk. The bucks are taller than the does. The African Pigmy Goat has stockier bones than any of the dairy breeds and and a dish-shaped head. Though most African Pigmy Goats are grizzled in color, they can be any color.

Tennessee Fainting Goats
The Tennessee Fainting Goat first appeared in the late 1800s. The Tennessee Fainting Goat got its name because when this breed gets excited or scared, it grows stiff and collapses to the ground. Though this breed may come in many colors, the most common is black and white. The Tennessee Fainting Goat is a good milk producer and is excellent at climbing.

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