Let's Look at all the

Different Breeds of Goats...

The goat, along with sheep, were among the earliest domesticated animals. Goat remains have been found at archaeological sites in western Asia, such as Jericho, Choga, Mami, Djeitun and Cayonu, which allows domestication of the goats to be dated at between 6000 and 7000 B.C.  However, unlike sheep, their ancestry is fairly clear. The major contributor of modern goats is the Bezoar goat which is distributed from the mountains of Asia Minor across the Middle East to Sind.1

The six traditional breeds of goats are Nubian, Alpine, Saanen, Toggenburg, LaMancha, and Oberhasli. Other breeds which are growing in popularity include Pygmy, Boer, Cashmere, and Angora.  Almost all goats are born with horns, but most goats (except for Pygmies) are dehorned at a young age to protect both the goat and humans.

The Six Primary Breeds:


This is the most popular breed. This breed is large, has long, wide, pendulous ears, and a roman nose. Goats of this breed usually are brown, but can be almost any color. The Nubian breed originated in the United Kingdom from British and Near-East descendants. Nubians have a high butterfat content in their milk. Nubian milk is therefore good for cheese making.


Alpines originated in Switzerland. They were later imported to France and England, and then to the United States. Most Alpines are either black and white, brown and white, but can have various other color patterns. This breed has dished, or curved, noses, and upright ears.


Saanens are another Swiss breed. These goats are large, kind, and friendly. This breed of goats is generally all-white, with forward-facing ears.


Toggs are medium-sized chocolate animals who also originated in Switzerland's Toggenburg Valley.

La Mancha

This breed was developed in the United States of a Spanish breed that was crossbred with other breeds. This breed is distinguished by having very short ears.


Oberhasli, another Swiss breed, is colored Chamoisee, ranging from light to a deep red bay with black facial stripes, muzzle and forehead. Oberhaslis can also be black in color.

Other Breeds Include:

The Pygmy Goat was originally called the Cameroon Dwarf Goat. The goat is mostly restricted to the West African countries. Similar forms of Pygmy goats also occur in all of
northern Africa, in the south western African countries, and also in east Africa. The breed originated in the former French Cameroon area. The Cameroon goats were exported from Africa to zoos in Sweden and Germany where they were on display as exotic animals. The first Pygmys probably arrived in the United States in 1959 from Sweden.  Pygmy goats are primarily kept as pets as they do not produce milk of any significant quantity.

The Boer Goat was developed in South Africa as a breed meant solely for meat production. The Boer goat is considered far superior to any other goat for meat. 

Cashmere production is a new industry for the United
States. The first Cashmere goats were imported from Australia and New Zealand in the late 1980's. Since then
several Cashmere breeders and growers have been producing breeding stock to launch this new industry in the US.  They are sheared once a year and a full grown adult buck will yield as much as 2.5 pounds of fleece. The fleece consists of two kinds of fiber, cashmere and guard hair.

Angora: The most valuable characteristic of the Angora as compared to other goats is the value of the mohair that is clipped. The average goat in the U.S. shears approximately 5.3 pounds of mohair per shearing and are usually sheared twice a year. The mohair is very similar to wool in chemical composition but differs from wool in that it is has a much smoother surface and very thin, smooth scale. Consequently, mohair lacks the felting properties of wool. Mohair is very similar to coarse wool in the size of fiber. Mohair has been considered very valuable as an upholstering material for the making of plushes and other covering materials where strength, beauty, and durability are desired.