What breed of goat is right for you?

What is listed here?
Nigerian Dwarf goat
American Lamancha
American Alpine
Pygmy goat
Boer goat
Dairy breed mixes
Meat breed mixes
Dairy/meat mixes
(More breeds to come)

          Every breeder is going to tell you their breed is the best. That's because they found the breed that was a fit for what they were looking for, and their personality. I believe that there isn't one breed that is better than the other, but there are breeds that are better fits for certain people than others. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to some of the better known breeds.
          The list is not in any particular order.

~Nigerian Dwarf Goat~
Dairy breed
          The Nigerian Dwarf goat is a miniature dairy goat -- their milk is the richest of all the breeds. Due to their small size it is easy to handle them, and they do not eat as much or need as much room as a full sized goat. They are generally very sweet and loving creatures.
          Nigerian Dwarves are allowed a straight or "dished" face, not a roman nose. They can be any color of the rainbow, and some even have blue eyes. This makes them colorful and popular as pets.
          Featured doe: RGCh Pocket Sized Waning Moon is pictured at six years old. She has large teats that are easy to milk.
       Featured buck: Dill's GA Headliner*B, showing off his beautiful coloring and conformation. The round, brown spots are called "moonspots". Moonspots are envied in the Nigerian Dwarf world, as they are unique, and change color from chocolate to tan as the goat ages. Picture courtesy of Lost Prairie Nigerians.
          Featured kid: Three Havens Patti D, a spunky and colorful little sprite.

~American Lamancha~
Dairy breed
          The American lamancha originated from Spain, and ever since they came here they've been capturing hearts everywhere. They are known to be extremely docile and one of the easiest breeds to handle. They are quirky and lovable, as well as being very hardy and healthy goats. They are good milk producers. 
          Their main major trademark, however, are their tiny ears! No longer than an inch or so, the Lamancha buck must have no point to his ear at all, and the lamancha doe is allowed a small tip to point and make an "elf ear". Lamanchas are allowed to be any color combination.
          Featured doe: A lovely cream colored lamancha doe, picture courtesy of Anne's Alpines.

Dairy breed
          Nubians are very distinctive for their roman noses and long ears. They have the richest milk of all the full sized breeds, and the second overall richest milk, next to the Nigerian Dwarf. They are vocal goats and love to tell you all about their marvelous day. They aren't known to be the smartest breed, but are very endearing with their silly ways. They are allowed to be any color, as long as they have floppy ears and roman noses.
          Nubians are a fantastic dual-purposed breed. They are dairy, but also carry enough meat to be used for that purpose as well. They are very popular in many industries for this reason.
          Featured DoeDorsey-Lane GD Talala is pictured here as a young doe. She has beautiful conformation and a feminine look -- both assets in the dairy world. Pictures courtesy of Bodoway Farm.

~American Alpine~
Dairy breed
          Alpines are an old and beautiful breed. They are good producers. They are known to bond better to their handlers than to each other, so they can be a bit rough with each other during playtime. Alpines come in a limited range of colors, and are known for their unique facial stripes.
          Kailey of Annie's Alpines says, "I like Alpines because they are very beautiful, friendly, adaptable, and they give lots of milk."
          Featured doe: A beautiful doe with quite the udder, picture courtesy of Annie's Alpines.
          Featured buck: Hull's HSTB Battle Cry, a handsome young Alpine buck. Picture courtesy of Cob Cottage Alpine Dairy Goats.
          Featued kid: An alpine kid with wattles, picture courtesy of Annie's Alpines.

~Pygmy goat~
Meat breed
          Pygmy goats started out as a miniature meat breed, but are now mainly used as pets. Pygmies are small, fluffy, and stocky. They can be black, agouti, or caramel. They must have brown eyes. Because of their lovely downy coat, they are often mixed with Angora goats to create what is known as the "Pygora", a small fiber breed.
          Due to their conformation, Pygmies are known to sometimes have more difficulty kidding than the other goat breeds. However, these instances can be greatly reduced through proper diet and care. 
          Featured doe: An adorable Pygmy doe, picture courtesy of Annie's Alpines.
          Featured wether: The trademark grey agouti Pygmy coloration, with a white belt. Picture courtesy of Annie's Alpines.

~Saanen goat~
Dairy breed
          Saanen goats are super milkers, and one of the top producing breeds. They are generally sweet, laid back goats. They are allowed a straight or "dished" face, not a roman nose. Saanens are always white, or white with small black freckles. A Saanen with any other coloration is not considered a Saanen, but rather, a Sable.
          Featured doeCapricorff Ranch Zelda  has that "dairy" look to her conformation that is a trademark of the high producing Saanen breed. Pictures courtesy of Bodoway Farm.
          Featured buckCapricorff Ranch Barclay is a lovely young Saanen buck. Picture courtesy of Bodoway Farm.
         Featured kid: A beautiful Saanen kid. Picture courtesy of Bodoway Farm.

~Boer goat~
Meat breed
          The Boer goat is a meat breed, known for their quiet natures. They grow slower than some other meat breeds, but eventually surpass them all in size and weight. This breed originated from South America. Traditionally They have a red head and "cape" around their neck, and their bodies are white. South American Boers also tend to be "meatier" than American Boers. 
          The American Boers tend to be longer with more emphasis on style in comparison to the South African Boers. American Boers also come in a range of colors -- painted is especially envied.
          Boer goats are very popular as 4-H goat projects, especially for kids who raise "show wethers" for a season, then sell it at a special auction, or harvest it. They are not the tallest breed, but they are very chunky, teddy-bearish goats. 
          Featured doe: Miracle is a happy pet Boer. She has the "painted" coloration. Picture courtesy of Kayla, her caretaker.

Dairy breed
          The Oberhasli  are a calm, and quiet breed -- making them good for showmanship classes. They are also one of the oldest breeds. They are  rare in the USA, as for a long time they were considered the same breed as the Alpine, though they are very different. The does are allowed to be pure black, or chocolate chamoisee; while the bucks are only allowed the chocolate chamoisee coloration.
          Featured doeHaycreeks Arrio Satin is a gorgeous Oberhasli with an udder to match. Pictures courtesy of Ober-Ridge farm.
          Featured buckOber-Ridge Clandestine Affair, a stunning young buck. Picture courtesy of Ober-Ridge Farm.
          Featured kidOber-Ridge Magnolia, pictured as a fuzzy baby. Pictures courtesy of Ober-Ridge farm.

Meat breed
          The Kiko is a very old meat breed, known for it's incredible hardiness and ability to survive hardship on its own. However, that doesn't mean that when you buy a Kiko you can just leave it be ... as with any animal, once taken out of their natural habitat, it is our responsibility to care for them. Kikos, however, are known to be very easy and cost efficient to care for.

Dairy breed
          The Toggenburg is an extremely hardy breed, and originated from Switzerland. They are generally quiet and calm, and are allowed straight or dished faces. They are allowed any shade from light to dark brown, and have distinct white markings on their face and legs.
          Featured doe: "Beatrice" is a young Toggenburg doeling, and will soon be used as a milking doe! Pictures courtesy of Elder Trail Dairy Goats.

~Kinder goat~
Meat breed
          Kinders originated from mixing Pygmies with Nubians, and have only recently been accepted as a registered breed. They double as meat and dairy goats, and produce rich milk due to the Nubian in them.
          Featured doe: A white kinder doe. Picture courtesy of Annie's Alpines.
          Featured buck: A young kinder buck. Picture courtesy of Annie's Alpines.

~Angora goat~
Fiber goat
          The elegant angora goat is shorn twice a year and are great producers of mohair. Most angoras are white, but there are several breeders out there who prefer to breed colorful angoras. Angoras, along with other fiber breeds, are kept horned as they need the horns to keep themselves cool in the summer with all that hair! 
          Angoras have unique "crimped" hair that makes it easy to weave and handle. Angoras are a truly beautiful breed, though they tend to be more fragile then some other goat breeds. Newborns need particular care in the winter so that they don't get too cold, as cold weather can kill angora kids quickly.

~Dairy breed mixes~
          Though most "mixes" do not sell as highly as registered breeds, there are many that have become very popular, and with good reason! Mixes are very fun, and it is exciting to contribute to a developing breed. And as for those mixes that are not as common -- who says you can't have fun raising goats, mixing the best of both worlds? Sure sounds fun to me!
          The only rule of thumb is, if you are mixing a bigger and smaller breed, the bigger breed must always be the female. You don't want to lose the female to an oversized kid.
          Featured doe: Shaggy, the Nubian/Toggenburg cross. Here is what Shaggy's breeder said about why she has chosen to breed European dairy breeds: "I chose Nubian/Swiss (or European dairy breeds) because I have found they are VERY hardy. They are very quiet and very mellow. Definitely not as smart as the Boers or Nigerians I had before, but very laid back and loving. I have switched around from dairy/meat crosses to Boers to Nigerians and this is the 'breed' that my husband and I have found is best for us." Picture courtesy of Amanda Hersey.
          Featured kid: This sweet kid is a Mini Nubian. Mini Nubians are a breed created by crossing a Nubian doe to a Nigerian Dwarf buck. This particular kid has wattles, little flaps of skin formed like earrings under the chin. Picture courtesy of Amanda Hersey

~Meat breed mixes~
          Meat mixes, especially with the Boer goat, are very popular, as Boer goats grow slowly, and having a little "something else" in there will sometimes speed up their growth. That and it's just plain fun to mix it up sometimes.
           Featured does: Cupcake Sparkles is a Kiko-Boer mix, pictured with her five year old handler. Picture courtesy of Candice Chavez.
~Meat/Dairy mixes~
          Although any dairy breeder will be able to use their bucks or wethers for meat, these specific breeds are meant to be dual purposed. They will not be as dairy as other breeds, but they will make more milk than other meat breeds, while still having some decent meat on their bones.
           Featured kid: This sweet fellow is a Nubian/Boer mixes. Nubian/Boer mixes grow faster than purebred Boer goats, so are often used in meat breeds. There is also the option of milking the does, though they will not produce as much milk as fullblood dairy goats. Pictures courtesy of Candice Chavez and Amanda Hersey.

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