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Last month we covered some of the considerations for selecting a breed of dairy goat, and we discussed the Alpine and LaMancha breeds. In continuation of this article by Andrea Green as first printed in the Homesteader's Connection, we now will discuss the other four breeds of dairy goat recognized by the American Dairy goat Association - the Nubian, Oberhasli, Saanen and Toggenberg.

One of the most popular breeds of dairy goat is the Nubian. Their long floppy ears and roman noses make them look quite fetching. According to ADGA, the Nubian has oriental origens. Another possible place of origin is Egypt (from the area of Nubia). Still another source says they were developed from the Anglo Nubians of the British Isles. Nubians are also considered to be a dual purpose goat. Their kids are raised for meat as well as milk.

One thing that many people like is the wide variety of colors. If that weren't enough, they even come with spots. Nubians are large, heavy yet graceful dairy goats. They can be somewhat stubborn and willful. They tend to give less milk, but have the highest butterfat production, which is great if you want to make a lot of cheese. Some say that the Nubian can be difficult to train as a milker, but once trained is a willing milker. Altho very thrifty, Nubians do better in the warmer climates. One drawback, according to some, is that Nubians use their mouths. They will talk to you. They can scream at you. Its because they like you and want to be with you. (Editor - personally, I like an animal that is exceedingly friendly, but is no milktoast)

The next breed is the oberhasli. It is a western Swiss breed recognized by its dark red coat with black around the head, black dorsal stripe, black underbelly, and black stockings. They are also known as Swiss Alpines. These goats can do very well at higher altitudes.

Oberhasli are a spunky breed. It has been said that they hit the ground running. They are feisty and thrifty. Over the past several years breeders have really improved the udder attachments, teat size and placement, and milking ability. They are a good family goat. They are also used more and more for packing.

Saanens are large, Swiss-type dairy goats. They originated in the Saanen valley in Switzerland. They are known for their high milk production. They have a calm, easy-going disposition. Saanens do better in crowded quarters than the other breeds. Because of their large udders, Saanens do not adapt well to mountainous or rough ground cover. Or maybe they just like being pampered. Some say that if a Sannen gets sick or hurt, they do not have as strong a will to live as some of the other breeds. If you want a goat that is easy to handle, gives lots of milk, and shows a lot of love, then a Saanen is for you. They are also are used for packing, altho are not as popular as some of the other breeds.

Last, but not least, is the Toggenburg. It is a light brown goat with white facial, ear, and leg stripes. It is a Swiss type with the straight nose and erect ears. They come from northeast Switzerland. The Togg is the smallest of the dairy breeds, being almost 4" shorter than the Saanen. However, today many breeders are producing larger, taller Toggs. For over 300 years they have remained pure. That is longer than many of our other breeds of domestic livestock.

Their milk is reported to have a somewhat almond taste. They are reliable milkers in both summer and winter in almost all climates. Toggs are very independent. As a friend of mine described her Toggs - they are feisty. They may be little, but they are strong. Their kids look smaller, but will outweigh other breeds at the same age. They are good dual purpose goats.

So there you have it - a brief synopsis of the six recognized breeds.Each breeder has his/her reasons for having the breed that he/she does.There is a wide variety of personalities within a breed. There are feisty Saanens and laid back Nubians. So when you're ready to buy a goat, get to know some of the individuals of the breed you are considering. Ask the breeder to discuss the personalities of his individual animals, as well as the utility of each. That certain "someone" is waiting out there just for you.


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Welcome PageDescription of Dairy HerdWhat's New at the Site?Crafts and Nifty StuffAlchemy's MenagerieTip of the MonthPrevious Tips of the MonthOther Resources of Interest