Dairy Goat Breeds

Saanen Goat Breed

Saanen goat breed is one of the most popular dairy breeds in the world. The breed was developed in Switzerland and has been used for crossbreeding to develop other dairy breeds like the German, Dutch, Israel, Australian, American and British breeds.

Characteristics of the breed

  • It has white and short coat hair.
  • Saanen possess short pointed ears and a straight face
  • Mature Saanen male weighs 75kg while females weigh 50kg.
  • Its milk production averages 500-900kg per 250-300 milking days.

Toggenburg Goat Breed

Toggenburg, a Swiss breed is a dairy goat breed that originated from the Toggenburg valley of Switzerland. The breed was developed through crossbreeding between Chamoisee and Appenzell goats. It was crossbred with Somali goats to produce dairy goats in Ethiopia. Toggenburg is the oldest registered breed among livestock breeds

Characteristics of the breed

  • The breed is fawn to light grey to dark chocolate in color, characterized by white strips that run from the muzzles to the eyes and polls. Ears and legs are also white.
  • Mature males weigh 65kg while females weigh 45kg.
  • Males stand at 75-85cm while females stand at 70-75cm in height.
  • Its coat is shakier compared to other goat breeds
  • Its milk production is 930kg per lactation with 3.0% butterfat and 2.7% protein content.
  • Toggenburg is less docile compared to other goat breeds.

Alpine goat breed

Alpine goat breed is a medium sized breed kept for milk production. It originated from the alp mountains of France. The breed is widely used for crossbreeding to improve other goat breeds dairy qualities as the breed is a heavy milker. There are 3 breeds of alpine namely British alpine, French alpine and rock alpine.

Characteristics of the breed

  • A mature alpine male weighs 77kg while a female weighs 61kg.
  • Alpine buck stands at 81cm while doe stands at 76cm in height.
  • Coat color range from grey to brown and black.
  • The breed has erect ears that are medium sized.
  • Its coat hair ranges from short to medium in length.
  • Alpine goat is a hardy breed that is able to adapt to any climatic condition.
  • Alpine kids take 5-6months to mature.
  • The breed is horned and bearded.
  • It is a docile breed that is friendly.
  • It produces 970kg of milk per lactation with 3.4% butterfat content and 2.8% protein content.

Damascus/Shami Goat Breed

Damascus, also known as Shami goat is a dairy breed that is popular in eastern Mediterranean countries and Iraq. The breed is one of the Nubian breeds. The breed has been developed in Syria and Cyprus to improve its dairy characteristics.

Characteristics of the breed

  • It is normally a polled breed; when horns are present, are medium-sized in length and diameter that orient backward and downwards. The horns tend to twist in Bucks while sickle-shaped in does.
  • It has long and pendulous ears, reaching 25-30cm.
  • The breed is tall in height with male measuring 75-89cm while females measure60-76cm; with pronounced “roman-type” nose.
  • milk production averages 250-558kg per lactation
  • mature bucks weigh 50-90kg while does weigh35-65kg
  • Birth weight of Damascus kids is 3-4.2 kg and wean at 19 kg.
  • Multiple births are common and are registered at 70% of the births.

Jamnapari Goat Breed

Jamnapari goat breed is an Indian indigenous breed native to the Uttar Pradesh state. The breed is widely distributed within the state and areas bordering Madhya Pradesh state. The breed was exploited in the development of Anglo Nubian and Boer goat breeds. Jamnapari is mainly kept for milk production.

Characteristics of the breed

  • It has short coat hair with relatively long tufts around the rump.
  • The breed has a convex nose line that has tufts of hair.
  • Its ears are long and dropping, measuring 27 cm in length.
  • Coat color is usually white with small patches around the neck and the head.
  • Jamnapari has short horns flat horns.
  • Mature bucks weigh 45 kg while does weigh 38kg.
  • Bucks measure 78cm while doe measure 75 cm in height.
  • Birth weight of a Jamnapari kid is 4kg.
  • Multiple births are about 30% of total births.
  • Jamnapari goat produces an average of 200litres of milk per lactation.

Galla Goat Breed

It is a dairy breed native to the northern part of Kenya. The breed is also known as Somali or Boran goat. It is the main milk producer in ASAL areas of Kenya.

Characteristics of the breed

  • Galla breed is white in color but its skin, underneath the tail, muzzle and legs are black.
  • A mature male weighs 60kg while a female weighs 45-55kg.
  • Female goats have a high longevity with the ability to produce for up to 10yrs.
  • Galla goat produces ½ liters of milk per day.
  • It is a docile goat breed that is easy to handle.
  • Galla goat is a horned goat breed
  • the goat does not do well in a cool and wet climate
  • Its compensatory growth after a long drought is very high.

Nigerian Dwarf Goat

Nigerian dwarf goat is a small goat native to West Africa. Original dwarf goats were transported to West Africa after being captured for food for large cats when they were being delivered to zoos. They are kept as pets and for milk production because of their low maintenance costs, easy temperament, colorful markings and their small size.

Characteristics of the breed

  • Nigerian dwarf goat breeds are docile and playful.
  • The breed is very fertile; triplets or quadruplets are common.
  • It has the ability to produce an average of 1.2kg of milk per day.
  • It is a small breed with does measuring 43-48cm while bucks measure 48-53 cm in height.
  • Its coat color varies from white, gold, red, black and cream characterized by markings on the head.

Rove Goat

Rove goat is one of the youngest goat breeds. Being developed in France at a place called Le Rove and Bouches Du Rhone hills, the breed was intended for meat production. However, France had a poor market for meat, forcing the breed to be used for milk production. The breed was once considered one of the endangered animal species but as of the year 2003, there were more than 5000 registered Rove goat breeds in French farms. Today, it is one of the leading goat breeds in France.

Characteristics of Rove Goat Breed

  • The breed has prominent long and spiraling horns that slightly curve backward and bend upwards at the tip.
  • Its coat color is brown, ash grey and black but there are speckled strains that have red-grey, red-white or black and tan mixture.
  • It is a hardy goat breed that can thrive in rugged landscapes.
  • A mature rove buck weighs 70-90kg of while does weigh 45-55kgs.

Dual purpose goat breeds

Anglo Nubian

Anglo Nubian goat

Anglo Nubian is a goat breed kept for both milk and meat production. It was developed through cross breeding between common breeds, Indian Jamnapari and Egyptian zaraiby breeds that had Damascus and Indian origins. The breed is highly adapted to tropical climatic and environmental conditions. Its performance is equally amazing for milk and meat production in both pure and crossbreeds.

Characteristics of the breed

  • Anglo Nubians are naturally polled breeds.
  • They have a convex face and lopped ears.
  • Its milk production is 830kg per lactation, with 4.6%buterfat content and 3.7% protein content.
  • The breed is one of the largest breed weighing about 61kg.
  • Anglo Nubians are characterized by a distinctive sound they make and tend to be a bit stubborn.

Beetal Goat Breeds

Beetal goat

Beetal is a dual purpose goat breed that was developed from the Indian Jamnapari. The breed is found in the Indian states of Punjab Haryana and other states. It is widely used in the improvement of local breeds in the Indian sub-continent.

Characteristics of the breed.

  • It is a horned breed with thick and medium sized horizontal horns with backward and upward orientation.
  • The breed has long curled and dropping ears, measuring 25 cm in length.
  • Beetal has a convex face characterized by “roman nose”.
  • It has a shiny, multi-colored coat dominated by black or brown color with white patches of different sizes.
  • Mature Beetal bucks weigh 59kg while does weigh 35kg.
  • Beetal kids weigh 2.8kg at birth.
  • Multiple births are common and occur at 60% of births.
  • The height of a mature male is 92 cm and 77 cm for a female.
  • Milk production is 195kg per lactation that usually lasts for about 6 months.
  • The breed has a high fecundity.

Meat Goat Breeds

Boer Goat Breed

This goat type was developed in South Africa by crossing South African common, Afrikander, indigenous Bantu, angora, European and Indian breeds. The breed is mainly kept for meat production; its milk and skin are also valued.

Characteristics of the breed

  • It is a horned breed and its ears are large and dropping.
  • The breed has an excellent muscling ability, good body length, and superior rib.
  • Boer goats are very fertile breed with 50% twinning being recorded.
  • Boer kids weigh 3-5kg at birth.
  • A mature Boer buck weighs 130kg and while doe weighs 80kg.
  • The breed is medium sized measuring 75-80cm in height.
  • Coat color of the breed is white, with brown or red on the head and the neck region.
  • Its hair is short and shiny.

Small East African goat

Small east African goat as the name suggests, is a multicolored small breed of goat that is found throughout Kenya and east Africa. The breed is kept for meat production because of its low milk production, slow growth rate, and good body conformation. It is suitable for crossing with other goat breeds like Galla, alpine, and Anglo Nubian to produce superior breeds.

Characteristics of the breed

  • Its coat color ranges from white, black, brown or mixed colors of all.
  • A mature buck weighs 30-40kg while does weigh 25-30kg.
  • It is a hardy breed that is able to tolerate a wide variety of climatic conditions.
  • The breed is tolerant to internal parasite infestation and parasite borne diseases like trips, nagana etc.
  • Small east African goat is a fertile breed.
  • The goat breed measures up to 65cm in height.
  • Its hide is of good quality.
  • It is a horned breed with horns measuring 2.5-20cm.
  • Its coat hair is short, both male and female grow long hair on the hindquarters.
  • Its ears are medium sized about 12 cm and slightly dropping.

Kalahari Red Goat Breed.

Kalahari Red Goat Breed
Kalahari Red Buck
Kalahari red goat breed
Kalahari doe

The Kalahari red goat breed has its origins in Namibia and South Africa in the 1970s. The breed is a descendant of the Boer goat breed it was developed by a South African farmer, named Ben Vorster who realized that his Boer goat gave birth to a boar kid and an exclusively red kid each year. He noticed the red that the red kid upon maturity had unique traits and he started contacting other farmers to collect the red goats. His collection expedition took him as far as Namibia and by the end of it, he had collected 30 red and red dappled goats which he started breeding. Since then, other farmers who came after him have taken on the breed due to its hardiness and the ability to do well in the Kalahari arid conditions. It is used for beef production; it derives its name from the red soil of Kalahari Desert and is currently used to improve the coat color, and carcass quality of indigenous goat breeds.

Characteristics of Kalahari red goat breed

  • Its goat color is brown, roan to red.
  • It is a horned breed and its horns grow backwards.
  • Kalahari red has a high adaptability to arid and desert.
  • The breed has good mothering ability and low mortality rate.
  • It has a high resistance to diseases.
  • A mature Kalahari red buck weighs about 115 kg while doe weigh 75kg, thus classified as one of the large breeds
  • The breed has a high longevity.
  • Its ears are long and floppy.
  • The skin around its neck loose and slightly wrinkled.
  • Kalahari red goat gives birth three times every 2 years.

Kiko Goat Breed

Kiko Buck

Kiko goat breed is a meat goat whose origin can be traced back to New Zealand.it is scientifically known as “Capra aegagrus hircus” The breed was developed in the 1980 by Anne Batten and Garrick by crossing the Anglo Nubian, Toggenburg and saanen goat breeds with indigenous new Zealand goat breeds. Kiko is a word used to describe meat producing animals by the Maori people of new Zealand and comes from Polynesian language spoken by them. The breed is best known for its high feed conversion ratio and the ability to easily adapt to adverse climatic conditions.

Characteristics of the Breed

  • Kiko is a hardy goat breed that can survive harsh climatic conditions.
  • The breed is an aggressive forager thus able to perform well on pastures without supplementary feeding.
  • Kiko goat has a high feed conversion efficiency that result in fast growth rate.
  • It is a horned goat breed; its horns curve backwards and outwards; “shallow spirals”.
  • Its coat color varies from pure white cream to pure black with some strains having black strip on the back-line and extremities that include beards in bucks, forehead, tail and the breast region.
  • Kiko goats have a considerable resistance to diseases and internal parasite infestation.
  • It is also less prone to hoof problems
  • The breed performs well under different management conditions that may include open grazing and stall-feeding.
  • A mature Kiko buck weighs 80-125kg while does weigh about 55-68 kg.
  • It has a high ability to raise multiple kids that have a high daily weight gain

Mohair goats

Angora goat breed

Angora goat is a Turkish breed of goats kept for its flexy and shiny fleece. It originated from the Asian district of Angora. The breed was first introduced in Australia in 1832-1833but pure breeds were imported from Ottoman Empire in the years that followed until 1873. The breed is currently distributed all over the world.

Characteristics of the breed

  • Angora goat produces up to 4kg of hair per annum.
  • Its oat color is usually white but colored breeds are gaining popularity. The colored breed range from grey, black, brown and silver.
  • The breed is prone to external parasite infestation du to their denser coats that favor parasite breeding. This makes it less hardy breed.
  • Its fertility is quite low as compared to other goat breeds.
  • The breed has a high nutritional requirement to cater for the development of the hair. Poor nutrition will negatively affect the growth of hair.
  • Angora goat is a horned goat breed.
  • A mature angora buck weighs 80-102kg while does weigh 45-50kg.


Goat breeds-Alpine

Nubian History- America and Great Britain

Goat Breeds

Nigerian Dwarf Goat Association

American Nigerian Dwarf Goat Association

Dairy Goat Production

Kalahari Reds

The Kalahari Red Stud

International Kiko Goat

National Kiko Registry