Goat Breeds – Which One Do I Choose?

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I am going to be getting goats this summer, and trying to decide which breed is best for me. So I have been doing a bit of research, and thought this might be informative to others that are considering getting goats as well. The breeds listed below are for milk, pets, clearing brush etc. and from my research the best for these particular tasks. I will upload pictures of each breed in a photo album so you may get an idea of what they look like.

The Alpine, also known as “French Alpine”, originated in the Alps. They are medium to large goats with upright ears. Alpines are hardy, adaptable and come in a variety of colors and patterns. Their milk has an average butterfat of about 3.5%.

Alpines are seasonal breeders.

The LaMancha is a medium sized breed, developed in the USA from goats of Spanish origin. They have an excellent dairy temperament and are all-around sturdy, friendly, naturally healthy animals. LaManchas can come in a variety of colors and patterns. Their milk has an average butterfat of about 4.2%. LaManchas have tiny ears which come in two types: “gopher ears”, which are little “sweet rolls”; and “elf ears”, which are little hooked ears less than 2 inches long.

LaManchas are seasonal breeders.

The Nigerian is a miniature dairy goat of West African origin with upright ears. They are bred to have the length of body and structure, in proportion, of a full sized dairy goat. They come in a variety of colors and patterns. Nigerians can also produce a surprising amount of milk for their size (3-4 four pounds per day) but their small teats can sometimes be difficult to milk. Their milk has an average butterfat of about 6.1%.

Nigerians breed year round.

The Nubian, also know as “Anglo-Nubians” is a large, proud, and graceful goat with long pendulous ears and a “Roman nose”. They were developed in England by crossing British goats with bucks of African and Indian origin. They are not heavy producers but milk has an average butterfat of about 4.6%. Nubians come in a variety of colors and patterns. They are very vocal. They are very popular but not quite as hardy as some other breeds

Nubians are usually seasonal breeders but sometimes may breed year round.

The Oberhasli, sometimes called “Swiss Alpine”, are a medium sized breed. Their coloring is known as “Chamoisee” which is bay in color with distinctive and specific black markings. Does may sometimes be black but chamoisee is preferred. Their milk has an average butterfat of about 3.6%.

Oberhaslis are seasonal breeders.

The Saanen goat originated in Switzerland. They are white, large in size with upright ears. Saanens are heavy milk producers, but there milk is lower in butterfat than some of the other dairy breeds. Their milk has an average butterfat of about 3.5%.

Note: Saanens must be white. If a Saanen is born with color (which sometimes happens) they are called “Sables”.

Saanens are seasonal breeders.


The Toggenburg
is a Swiss breed credited as being the oldest known dairy goat breed. They are medium in size with upright ears. “Togg” coloring is varying from a light fawn to dark chocolate, with distinctive and specific white markings. Their milk has an average butterfat of about 3.3%. This breed was originally developed to provide milk for cheese production and so their milk can sometimes have a strong flavor.

Toggs are seasonal breeders.

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I am a woman in transition. Working hard to build my little mini farm, and be a good mom, and grandma! I have my own Harley, and love to feel the wind in my face. I am a Christian, tree hugger, homesteader, biker chick! Now that is a combination.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I have nubians, alpines and combo of both, an Oberhosli, and have had a nigerian in my herd (goat sitting)

    I like them all. I find that the Nubians to be the most personable, if bottle raised. I love the alpine for consistancey in their milking and bag quality. The nigerian gave a surprisingly good amount of milk for her size. I have not bred or milked the Oberhosli but love how beautiful she is.

  2. Diane, I was looking to get goats too. I’m leaning towards the Nigerians, they seem to be the best all around. Any you are leaning towards?? I guess what is availible will be making my decision.

  3. Thank you Diane, that was very informative!
    We have 2 Nigerian Dwarf goats and absolutely love them! I never would have thought I would own goats, especially in my small city lot! I also never knew I could love a goat so much! They are very precious and social animals. I have 2 young children and the goats love to play with my kids and are extremely friendly to them and anyone “who comes to visit them in their yard”. They really are not that loud at all. The first few weeks we had them they were quite talkative, but they hardly make any noise at all now…but they do get a whole lot of attention! I highly recommend Nigerians 🙂

  4. Hi Diane, I have just recently purchased a Toggenburg goat, only a young one… She wont stop crying! I thought they were a quiet breed! Was I wrong?

  5. Hi Amy,
    How many goats do you have? If you only have one that could be your problem. Goats are herd animals and need the company of another goat ESPECIALLY if she was taken off her mother or out of a herd setting. Good luck. Quiet that goat down so the neighbors don’t start making noise!!
    Goodluck

  6. @Amy- Toggs are very quiet, but all goats need to have companions. They are herd animals and will get anxiety attacks if isolated. You probably notice that she quiets down when she can see you. You are all of her “herd”. If you get another goat of her age (age/size is important) they should be quiet. Good luck!

  7. I’m getting two Nigerian wethers and I’m SO excited! They are the best fit for my little farm because of their size and I must say, other than Toggs and Saanens(which are both too large for me), I think they’re one of the ‘cutest’ breeds. My boys are due to be born in April…..oh the days pass so slowly! 🙂

  8. I have 2 pygmies and they are great at clearing brush, have a charming personality, and are calm even tempered.. my children are able to handle them easily and they follow me around.. I know they are not renowned for their milk but they do produce milk that’s high in butterfat content so get a nice rich milk (hoping I can start milking in few months once all goes well). I had a nigerian dwarf and she was a sweetheart and was just like a dog. I found that that she was louder than my pygmies. My friend who has alpines, nubians, boers, etc.. found that their nigerian dwarf is the loudest of them too.. But that also could just be coincidental..Just some thought and points about the breeds I have.. Hope it helps

    • That’s interesting, about which goats are noisy. I’m thinking of getting a pair of small goats on a suburban lot. What are other differences between Nigerian Dwarf goats and pygmies?

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