Are you looking for the best goat breeds to choose from? There are so many different options when it comes to buying a goat. Do you want to raise meat goat breeds? Do you want to raise dairy goat breeds? Or do you want to raise fiber goat breeds? What is the difference between them?! This post will help you decide on which goat breed is best for you!
17 of the Best Goat Breeds
When I first started raising goats I knew exactly which type of goat I wanted.
I wanted to raise a dairy goat so that I could provide my family with delicious and nutritious goat milk!
But which dairy breed was best? Which breed would benefit my family the most?
When it comes to choosing a breed there are various things to consider before deciding on which breed is for you. Let’s look at some of those things now!
Dairy Goat Breeds
If you want to raise goats so that you can get milk, then you need to have a dairy goat. Let’s look at some of the best dairy goat breeds so that you can pick which one is best for you.
Can’t decide? No worries, you can choose multiple breeds! Trust me, once you try one you’ll definitely want to try more;)
Nubians are a very popular goat breed. They are characterized by their long ears that hang down.
They can be a large goat ranging in weight from 135-175 pounds.
And while milk production varies based on the goat, nutrition, etc. a Nubian will average about 1-2 gallons of milk per day with a 4-5% butterfat content.
They can be a dual purpose breed, but are mainly used for milk. Also, beware, Nubians tend to be very vocal! So if you have neighbors really close by that are bothered by noise, these goats might not be the best choice.
The LaMancha breed was the very first goat breed that I purchased. I love the taste of LaMancha milk, it’s a very mild tasting milk that everyone loves.
LaManchas do look a little strange as their ears are so small they appear to be missing! But they are a very docile, even tempered goat.
They average about 100-150 pounds in weight and .5 – 1.5 gallons of milk per day. Their milk has approximately a 4% butterfat content.
The Oberhasli breed is my personal favorite! If I had to choose just one breed it would be this one!
Oberhasli goats are such beautiful animals with striking brown and black colorings. They have very sweet personalities and are very alert.
They also are said to have the sweetest milk out of all the dairy goat breeds. If you haven’t tried oberhasli milk before you definitely need to! It’s delicious!
Oberhasli goats weigh approximately 100-150 pounds and they produce an average of .5 – 1.5 gallons of milk per day with a butterfat content of 3.5 – 4%.
Nigerian Dwarf Goats
The Nigerian Dwarf goat is a miniature dairy breed and a year round breeder. Most dairy goats are seasonal, breeding once a year; but the Nigerian Dwarf can be bred twice a year.
They only get about 20 inches high and weigh less than 75 pounds.
Unfortunately, because they are a small goat, they give a lot less milk than most dairy goats. The Nigerian Dwarf averages 1-2 quarts of milk per day. What it lacks in quantity it makes up for in butterfat though, having a 6-10% butterfat content!
The Alpine is a very large goat averaging 135-180 pounds.
They give approximately 1 – 1.5 gallons of milk per day with a 3.5% butterfat content.
Saanen goats are one of the larger dairy goat breeds, averaging 150 pounds. They have light colored skin, making them more sensitive to the sun. This means that you should ensure that your Saanen goats get lots of shade.
They give a good amount of milk, averaging about 1 – 1.5 gallons of milk a day and have a butterfat content of about 3-4%.
Saanen goats are said to be very friendly and great with children.
Toggenburg goats are very gentle and make great pets.
While you should taste test the milk of all goat breeds before buying to make sure you like it, this is particularly true for Toggenburgs. They are said to have a particularly strong flavored milk which can differ from goat to goat.
The Toggenburg averages about 120-150 pounds and gives approximately 1 – 1.5 gallons of milk per day. Their butterfat content averages 2-3%.
Golden Guernsey Goats
The Golden Guernsey is a smaller goat. It is said to be the smallest of the standard dairy goat breeds. They commonly have a long coat and are very docile.
They give approximately .5 – .75 gallons of milk per day and have a butterfat content of 3-4%.
Meat Goat Breeds
If you are looking for the ideal goat to raise for meat, whether to eat yourself or to sell, here are some of the best meat goat breeds.
Boer goats are a large horned goat that is usually white with brown on it’s head and ears.
They average 200 – 300 pounds and will gain approximately .25 to .4 pounds per day. They can consistently produce more muscle in less time than any other breed making them an excellent choice!
The Kiko breed is a very hearty breed weighing in at 100 – 300 pounds.
They will gain up to .5 pounds per day and do not require a lot of supplemental feeding.
If this goat breed sounds unfamiliar to you, you might recognize it better as the Tennessee Fainting Goat. They are called this because they contain a trait called myotonia that causes their muscles to lock up so that they “faint”.
This breed is very resistant to parasites and while they have a slower growth rate they have a higher meat yield.
Spanish goats have long shaggy coats, are extremely hardy, and are able to survive and thrive under harsh conditions.
Their size ranges from 50 – 200 pounds.
The Kinder goat is a cross between a Pygmy buck and a Nubian doe.
They weigh approximately 100 – 120 pounds and while smaller in size, they make a good dual purpose breed giving about .5 – 1 gallon of milk per day.
Pygmy goats are small goats, weighing approximately 35 – 75 pounds.
While technically a meat goat, they are mostly used as pets due to their size and their friendly, lovable demeanor.
Fiber Goat Breeds
Did you know that goat hair can be used to make clothing and other products?
Yep, that fancy cashmere sweater that you love is made from goat hair! Cashmere is a type of goat fiber used to make some of the softest, lightest, yet warmest pieces of clothing.
If you are looking for the best fiber goat breed for you, here are some to choose from.
Angora goats have long hair called mohair.
They weigh about 70 – 100 pounds and yield about 8 – 16 pounds of fiber each year.
They require more care and shelter from the elements than most other goats, making them a less hardy option.
Pygora / Nigora Goats
These goats are a cross between a Pygmy / Angora and a Nigerian Dwarf / Angora.
They yield about 4 pounds of fiber per year and weigh about 60 – 80 pounds.
They can also be used as a dual purpose fiber and dairy goat as well.
Kashmir goats are not technically a breed, but are goats that have been bred for a specific quality of cashmere.
Their size can vary based on the breed as well as their fiber production. They can give up to two pounds of cashmere per year.
And that is 17 of the best goat breeds to choose from!
Which breed will you choose? Which type of breed fits your needs? Leave me a comment below and let me know! I can’t wait to hear which goat breeds you choose!