You can break goat breeds down into three general categories or types of goats: dairy goats, fiber goats or meat goats. When you are trying to decide what type of goat to get, you should know what each goat breed is used for. Afterall, it wouldn’t really do you much good to get a type of goat that is a meat goat when you are wanting to get goats for milk or vice versa. Some goat breeds are dual purpose breeds as well, so that may also play a factor in your decision.
There are so many different kinds of goat breeds out there, but here are are going to look at a few breed examples for each of the three main types of goat:
The purpose of breeding and keeping dairy goats are for their ability to produce high quality and high quantities of milk. There are multiple reasons to get dairy goats. So, if you decide that dairy goats are for you, what goat breeds should you be looking at?
1. Nigerian Dwarf Goats – Ok, so we are probably a little biased towards this breed since this is the breed that we raise. Nigerian Dwarf goats are friendly, mini goats that have high butterfat content in their milk. This high butterfat makes their milk sweet and delicious.
2. Alpine Goats – alpines are a medium-large goat that produce considerably more milk than the smaller Nigerian Dwarf goats. Alpines are considered to be friendly and great for use on homesteads or goat dairies.
3. Nubian Goats – Nubians are cute, floppy eared goats. They are around the same size as Alpines. Nubians, like Nigerian Dwarf goats, have a higher butterfat content in their milk. However, they do not produce quite as much volume (usually) as an Alpine.
Fiber goats are goat breeds that you use for their hair. These types of goats are also sometimes called hair goats or wool goats. Their hair has special qualities that make it good to use for making yarn and other spun fiber products.
You generally shear these goats to collect their fiber (it will grow back so that you can shear them again). You can leave the fiber raw and sell it. Or you can dye it and spin it to make yarn, clothes, blankets or other processed and finished products that you can sell (or use yourself).
1. Cashmere Goats – Cashmere goats, not surprisingly, are the source of cashmere fiber products. Cashmere goats are not actually one specific breed, but a group of goat breeds that have cashmere hair.
2. Angora Goats – Angora goats’ fiber is mohair. Their hair is long and wavy. They are really adorable with their curly locks. They can produce a large percentage of fiber annually.
3. Pygora or Nigora Goats – These are mini fiber goats. They come from Angora goats that are crossed with Pymgy (Pygora) or Nigerian Dwarf (Nigora), so that you hopefully get the high quality fiber properties of the angora goats in a smaller package.
Farmers will raise meat goats for meat. Meat goats will go to the butcher when they are large enough and can make a variety of different foods.
1. Spanish Goats – Spanish goats (originally from Spain, hence the name) are a very hardy, large breed of goat. They are great brush clearers. Spanish goats are famous for producing a large amount of meat with smaller input (food).
2. Boer Goats – Boer Goats can get to be huge. They are also fast growing (they can go to market at weaning age usually). Additionally, boer goats can breed year round – which makes it easier to produce kids.
3. Kiko Goats – Kiko goats are a newer goat breed. They are from New Zealand orginially. The aim of breeding kiko goats was to create a hardy, fast growing goat breed.
If you need more help with deciding on what breed, or type of goat to get. Check out our eCourse: How To Get Started Raising Goats!
So, now you should have an idea of the types of goat breeds out there as well as specific examples of each. What goat breed do you find most interesting?