12 Popular Goat Breeds | successful farming

1. Alpine

This dairy breed originated in the French Alps and can thrive in almost any climate. They are the most productive milkers, with the best goats producing up to two gallons a day. Due to the amount of milk they produce, these goats have high nutritional requirements and their diet should be closely monitored. PJ Jonas, who raises Alpines to provide milk for his family of 10 and runs a goat products business, says the breed is calm and inquisitive and tolerates humans well.

2. The English Channel

La Mancha goats are born with very small ears. They are good milkers, producing milk that is high in protein and fat. One of the big advantages of this breed is that it can be milked for two years without refreshing. They are generally easy-going, cooperative and hardy.

LCL Image: The English Channel

3. Nubian

Nubian goats are easily recognized by their long drooping ears and convex “Roman nose” muzzles. Due to its Middle Eastern heritage, this breed can thrive in warmer climates than other dairy goats and has a longer breeding season. Although they don’t produce as much milk per goat as other breeds, Nubian milk is very high in fat. This breed is also raised for meat, or for meat and dairy.

LCL Image: Nubian

4. Saanen

Saanen goats are the largest dairy goat breed and are second in milk production after Alpine goats. These popular goats have short, white hair and erect ears, and are known for their easy-going temperament.

LCL Image: Saanen

5. Boers

If you’re looking for an economical meat animal or want to earn a little extra cash, consider raising Boer goats. Originally bred in South Africa, Boers are now one of the leading meat goat breeds in the United States.

LCL Image: Boer

Photo courtesy of wideopenpets.com

6. Spanish

When the Spaniards arrived in the Americas in the 16th century, they brought goats with them. However, even though many goats in the United States have a Spanish lineage, there are few purebred Spanish goats. These meat goats are excellent foragers and will climb a tree for the last leaf if they have to. They are good mothers, easy births, robust and resistant to many parasites.

LCL Image: Spanish

7. Kiko

This New Zealand meat goat is easy to raise, reaches market weight quickly, and even cleans weeds from your acreage. The Kiko goat was developed in New Zealand by crossing feral goats with dairy goats in the 1980s. The goal was survivability and growth rate. The breed took off in the United States around 2000 when breeders began crossing Kikos with Boer goats to combine meat production with maternal ability.

LCL Image: Kiko

8. Tennessee Fainting (Myotonic)

It is the only breed of goat native to the United States. The term fainting stems from the goat’s tendency to stiffen or stiffen when startled or excited, due to a genetic condition called myotonia congenita. Muscle stiffness can cause goats to freeze in place for about 10 to 20 seconds and, occasionally, fall. Although they are classified as meat goats, many landowners keep them as pets due to their docile nature and entertaining ways. They come in a wide variety of colors and coat lengths.

LCL image: Tennessee fainting (myotonic)

9. Pygmy

An adult pygmy goat is about as large as a medium-sized dog, making these mini goats perfect for acreage. Although this breed produces milk, it is most often kept as a pet and for show.

LCL Image: Pygmy

10. Nigerian Dwarf

This little dairy breed has a big personality! They are proportionate to larger breeds, only about 2 feet tall and 75 pounds. This breed is gentle and lovable, and even breeding males are easily handled. They are known as great pets and perfect animal projects for young children in 4-H or FFA.

LCL Image: Nigerian Dwarf

Photo courtesy of Deb Miller

11. Angora

Angora goats produce mohair, which is often used in making sweaters, scarves, and other garments. These goats need a bit more protection from the weather, as they can suffer from hypothermia if their long hair gets wet from cold rain or snow.

LCL Image: Angora

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M University

12. Cashmere

Cashmere is the fluffy undercoat produced by all goats and harvested by brushing rather than shearing. Cashmere goats are not a specific breed, but not all goats have what it takes to produce cashmere on a commercial scale. Goats bred for cashmere production have been selectively bred to produce high quality cashmere in significant quantities. Yet it takes about four goats a year to produce enough cashmere for a sweater.

Cashmere is actually made from goat fur!

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