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The Many Breeds Of Goats and Goat Cheeses

Updated on February 5, 2010

The many breeds of goats I raised were Pygmy and Nubian.

They have 1 to 4 kids usually 2.
The Billy goat is quite agressive,
as he will bunt you if you mess with him
 and it doesn't feel good.
My Pygmy Billy stayed with the horses and pretty well ruled
 the corral.
He wouldn't let the horses go anywhere without him tagging 
Billy Goats also smell like urine as they urinate on their 
They are easy to raise as they eat all types of vegetation.
You will not want them to roam free around the house as they
 will eat all your flowers and other plants.
They will get up on your automobiles,and the house if they
 find a way.
Goats are very good climbers and jumpers as well.
There are citys who rent goats to eat the weeds out of the 
ditches along highways,as this is cheaper and more economical
 than using machinery.
Also you don't need to use weedspray.

Goat remains have been found at archaeological sites in western Asia, such as Jericho, Choga, Mami, Djecitun and Cayonu, which allows domestication of the goats to be dated at between 6000 and 7000 B.C.

However, unlike sheep, their ancestry is fairly clear. The major contributor of modern goats is the Bezoar goat which is distributed from the mountains of Asia Minor across the Middle East to Sind.

Unlike sheep, goats easily revert to feral or wild condition given a chance. In fact, the only domestic species which will return to a wild state as rapidly as a goat is the domestic cat.

The French-Alpine is a breed of goat that originated in the Alps. The goats of Alpine type that were brought to the United States from France where they had been selected for much greater uniformity, size, and production than was true of the goats that were taken from Switzerland to France.

Size and production rather than color pattern have been stressed in the development of the French-Alpine. No distinct color has been established, and it may range from pure white through shades of fawn, gray, brown, black, red, bluff, piebald, or various shadings or combinations of these colors. Both sexes are generally short haired, but bucks usually have a roach of long hair along the spine. The beard of males is also quite pronounced. The ears in the Alpine should be of medium size, fine textured, and preferably erect.

The French-Alpine is a larger and more rangy goat and more variable in size than are the Swiss breeds. Mature females should stand not less than 30 inches at the withers and should weigh not less than 135 pounds. Males should stand from 34 to 40 inches at the withers and should weigh not less than 170 pounds. French-Alpine females are excellent milkers and usually have large, well-shaped udders with well-placed teats of desirable shape.

The French-alpine is also referred to as the Alpine Dairy goat and registration papers for this dairy goat use both designations and they are synonymous. These are hardy, adaptable animals that thrive in any climate while maintaining good health and excellent production. The face is straight. A roman nose, Toggenburg color and markings, or all-white is discriminated against.

The Pygmy Goat was originally called the Cameroon Dwarf Goat. The goat is mostly restricted to the West African countries. Similar forms of Pygmy goats also occur in all of northern Africa, in the south western African countries, and also in east Africa. However, what we call the Cameroon Dwarf goat is the one that we are concerned with and have in the United States. It is the breed that actually came from the former French Cameroon area.

The Cameroon goats were exported from Africa to zoos in Sweden and Germany where they were on display as exotic animals. From there they made their way to England, Canada, and the United States. In 1959, the Rhue family in California and the Catskill Game Farm in New York received the first documented shipments of Pygmy goats from Sweden. Offspring of these animals, as well as earlier imports, were sold to zoos, medical research, and to some private individuals.

Mohair Production

The most valuable characteristic of the Angora as compared to other goats is the value of the mohair that is clipped. The average goat in the U.S. shears approximately 5.3 pounds of mohair per shearing and are usually sheared twice a year. They produce a fiber with a staple length of between 12 and 15cm.

The mohair is very similar to wool in chemical composition but differs from wool in that it is has a much smoother surface and very thin, smooth scale. Consequently, mohair lacks the felting properties of wool. Mohair is very similar to coarse wool in the size of fiber. It is a strong fiber that is elastic, has considerable luster, and takes dye very well. Mohair has been considered very valuable as an upholstering material for the making of plushes and other covering materials where strength, beauty, and durability are desired.

The market valuation of mohair fluctuates more than does that of wool, but, in general, satisfactory prices are obtained for the clip. During depressed times, the market has favored fine hair and because fine hair is normally shorn from young goats, selection for fertility has also become increasingly important.

Head and Body Characteristics

The Angora is very picturesque animal in which both sexes are horned. The bucks usually have a pronounced spiral to the horn, which comes back and away from the head; the horns of mature bucks sometimes reach two or more feet in length. In contrast, the horn of the female is comparatively short, much smaller, and has only a very slight tendency to spiral. The horn of the female seldom exceeds nine or ten inches. The ears are heavy and drooping.

The Angora goat is a small animal as compared to sheep, common goats, or milk goats. There is considerable variation in the size of goats, but mature bucks will usually fall in a weight range of from 180 to 225 pounds but do not reach their maximum weight until after five years of age. Does will fall in a weight range of from 70 to 110 pounds when mature.

The form of the goat should be similar to that of sheep, but the mutton characteristics are much less developed. The back should be straight, the rib well sprung, and the body deep and uniform in depth. The chest should be wide, the legs straight, and the rear quarters should show ample development.

Ringlet and Flat Lock Hair

Modern Angoras are often classified according to the type of ringlet or lock hair in which the hair grows. Ringlet type goats are often referred to as the C Type, while B Type is used to designate those with a flat mohair lock. In the case of the ringlet type goat, the mohair is carried in tight ringlets throughout almost its entire length and represents the finest mohair produced. The flat lock, in contrast, is usually wavy and more bulky in appearance.

A Valuable Foraging Animal

The Angora has a grazing habit which has made it very adaptable to certain agriculture sections. Goats are great consumers of "browse" and have a tendency to eat as high as they can reach by standing on their hind legs. This adapts goats for grazing areas on which sheep would not do well. Angoras have been able to make economic returns on land that is unsuitable for usual agriculture pursuits.

Shortcomings of the Angora

The Angora goat is not as prolific as other goats and twins are not the usual birth. Goats in large range bands will usually kid from 60 to 70 percent, but in well-managed small bands of purebred goats the rate of reproduction may be slightly over 100 percent.

The Angora is among the most delicate of our domesticated animals. They are more susceptible to damage from internal parasites than are sheep. They are extremely delicate at birth, and the young need some protection during their first few days if the weather is cold or damp. Although the mature goat is fairly hardy animal when in full hair, it cannot withstand cold wet rains immediately after shearing. Storms cause excessive losses in Angora flocks at kidding time or at shearing time.

Meat Production

For many years, goat carcasses have been sold as low-grade sheep carcasses. Angora goat breeders, however, have sponsored an endeavor to have the Angora goat carcass referred to as "chevon' and sold as such on the market. It is maintained that the flesh is quite acceptable, particularly from young goats in good condition, and some people refer to it as a delicacy. The carcasses are characteristically thinner fleshed and the dressing percentages correspondingly lower than those of sheep that have been fed in a similar manner.

The Boer Goat is also called the meat goat

The breed standard for the meat goat is primarily designed to enhance structural correctness of the breeding meat goat, with an emphasis on muscle volume, function, and survivability of the commercial animal.

General Appearance: A long body is desirable, with leg and cannon bone length in proportion to the animal. Extremely long legs are no more desirable than extremely short legs. A strong level back is desirable, extending from the neck to the hook bones, keeping in mind that heavier, older animals are more likely to have a weaker top line than young animals. The back should be long, wide, and strong. Width and length of loin are important to volume of meat in the carcass. The back should be wide from the withers to the rump, with smooth shoulders, that blend smoothly into the neck. The rump should be long and wide also, with the same width between hooks as pins, if not wider between the pin bones. The rump should have a slight slope from hook bones to pin bones, but should not be overly steep. Some angle is necessary for easy kidding.

The front end should be wide and smooth. Well spaced front legs representing a wide chest floor, and the legs perpendicular to the ground. Muscling should be visible in the forearm. Feet should be pointing straight ahead. Knock-knees, buck knees, pigeon toed, or splay footed animals are not desirable. The barrel needs adequate spring of rib indicating capacity for foraging, pregnancy, and maintenance of body condition.

Rear legs should be wide apart and straight when viewed from the rear. Muscling should be evident as demonstrated by a thick thigh, and the depth of the twist. A side view should show a straight line from pin bone to hock and pastern to touch just behind the hoof. These angles are most desirable for correct free movement of the legs. The pasterns should be strong and straight. The feet should have tight toes, and a level sole. Frame size indicates growth potential. Adequate to moderate bone is acceptable. Sickle hocked, post legged and cow hocked animals are unacceptable.

Mouth: The dental pad: Length of the upper and lower jaw should be equal. Teeth should touch the dental pad in young goats. In older goats, some leaning of teeth is acceptable, as long as the length of the jaw and dental pad, as viewed from the side is equal. No over or undershot jaw is acceptable. No allowances will be made for bad bites.

Does: The doe should have a feminine head, and a feminine wedge appearance of the body, with a long elegant neck blending smoothly into wide smooth shoulders and back. The body should be of adequate size for age of the animal. Does should exhibit good spring of rib and depth of body; these are good indicators of volume. There should be adequate muscling in the rear leg without loosing femininity. The body should have volume and capacity, which demonstrates productivity to breed, carry, and rear young in a pasture situation.

The udder should ideally be round, with good suspension (not pendulous), and teats that are easily nursed by a newborn kid. Both sides of the udder must be functional. Breeding age females should show evidence of having kidded by the age of two years. Evidence of reproductive activity, as demonstrated by a well-developed mammary system, and vulva is very important. Large well-developed does, with infantile, reproductive systems are not acceptable.

Bucks: Bucks should exhibit masculinity, and adequate muscling. The head should be masculine, with a broad strong muzzle and horns set far apart enough to not trap and break legs of other goats. The neck should smoothly flow into wide smooth shoulders. The body should demonstrate the Masculine profile with the heavier chest and fore body. Masculinaztion of older bucks as demonstrated by higher, heavier, coarser shoulders is acceptable, as this is a manifestation of testosterone. Testicles should be of equal size, and large for day of age. No split is preferred in the scrotum however; a split up to 2.54cm or 1 inch is acceptable. Mature bucks should have a minimum scrotum circumference of 25cm or 10 inches in circumference. Overly pendulous testicles are undesirable. Testicles should be smooth, and free of bumps or lumps.


Saanens are another Swiss breed. These goats are large, kind, and friendly. This breed of goats is generally all-white, with forward-facing ears.




Breed Characteristics

A full coat of straight, medium-long hair which varies in density with seasons and climates. On females, beards may be non-existent, sparse, or trimmed. On adult males, abundant hair growth is desirable; the beard should be full, long and flowing, the copious mane draping cape-like across the shoulders.

All body colors are acceptable, the predominate coloration is a grizzled (agouti) pattern produced by the intermingling of light and dark hairs, of any color.

Breed-specific markings are required: muzzle, forehead, eyes, and ears are accented in tones lighter than the dark portion of the body in goats of all colors, except goats that are solid black. Front and rear hoofs and cannons are darker than main body coat, as are the crown, dorsal stripe, and martingale; except in goats that are solid black. On all caramel goats, light

vertical stripes on front sides of darker socks are required.

The Angora goat originated in the district of Angora in Asia Minor. The Angora dates back prior to early biblical history. Mention is made of the use of mohair at the time of Moses, which would fix the record of the Angora some time between 1571 and 1451 B.C., according to the Angora Goat Mohair Industry publication from USDA (Miscellaneous Bulletin 50, 1929). Mohair became a valuable product in commerce early in the nineteenth century. In order to increase the supply of mohair available for export to the European countries, the Turks crossed the Angora goat with common stock to increase the poundage of salable hair. Probably there was no effort to keep the original Angora separate, and the general increase in size and vigor of the goats in the Angora area was, no doubt, partially the result of this infusion of other blood.

Angora stock was distributed to different countries, and a pair of Angoras was imported to Europe by Charles V about 1554. In 1765 an importation was made by the Spanish government and twenty years later a considerable number were imported into France. None of these importations were successful in establishing mohair production. On the other hand, Angoras were taken to South Africa in 1838, and from this importation and later importations mohair production was established in that country. The Union of South Africa is one of the three leading mohair-producing sections in the world and is exceeded in production only by the United States and Turkey.

Saanen Breed

Pygmy Billy

Some Types Of Goat Cheese


Country and Region of Origin: Varied

Type of Cheese: Goat's milk cheeses come in various shapes and textures as can be seen in the photo above. They can be very fresh, soft and creamy with a mild flavor, as in the Montrachet log on top of the plate. Or they can be aged with a rind as in the Gouda Goat cheese at the bottom of the plate. French Goat cheeses are often referred to as Chèvre. Commonly imported varieties are Montrachet, Bucheron Valençay and Sainte-Maure. Other cheeses that can be made from goat's milk or cow's milk include Gjetost, Cabrales, Feta and Arina.

Texture: Varied from soft in the fresh young goat cheese, to semi-firm in the aged cheeses.

Rind: Once again this varies. A fresh Montrachet log has no rind. Aged cheeses may have a pale, straw color rind as in a gouda. Others have been covered with ash, and aged to develop a mold on the outside.

Tasting Notes: Most goat cheese has a distinctive goat flavor, although some pick up the characteristic flavoring of the variety they've been used for such as a gouda.

Wine Pairing: A fresh, young goat cheese would be accompanied well by a delicate, light, fruity red or white such as a Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc. An aged goat cheese would be better with a more robust Cabernet or Zinfandel. A pungent, moldy rind goat cheese could be served with a sweet dessert wine such as a Merlot, Sauternes or Riesling.

Serving Suggestions: A variety of goat cheese is always an interesting addition to a cheese board. Goat cheeses also go nicely in salads, spread on crackers, or as an addition to a bruschetta.

Recipe for Goat Cheese




Goat milk

Fresh lemon juice or vinegar

A large pot


Salt and pepper to taste


Additional seasonings

Make a grocery list and obtain the basic materials needed to make the cheese. The list includes goat milk (about 1/2 gallon), lemons, kosher salt and cheese cloth. Also, you may also add buttermilk for an extra creamy flavor, if desired. Heat the milk in a stainless steel/non-reactive pot to at least 185 degrees (or low heat). Allow to simmer, watching carefully to avoid boiling or burning. Remove the milk from heat and allow to sit. Add lemon (or vinegar), stirring until the curds separate from the whey. The mixture should look like large clumps of cottage cheese when properly separated. Line a colander with several layers of the cheesecloth. Ladle curds into a strainer, discarding the whey. Allow curds to cool, squeezing as much moisture out of them as possible. Put curds in a bowl and season with sea salt. You can also add other seasonings of your choice, such as Herbs de Provence or whatever else you desire.Press curds into the bowl to make a block, or wrap in cheesecloth. Place curds in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 days before removing and tasting.

Milking Goats


South African boer Goat


The Boer goat was developed in South Africa in the early 1900s for meat production. Their name is derived from the Dutch word "Boer" meaning farmer. The Boer goat was probably bred from the indigenous goats of the Namaqua Bushmen and the Fooku tribes, with some crossing of Indian and European Bloodlines being possible. They were selected for meat rather than milk production; due to selective breeding and improvement, the Boer goat has a fast growth rate and excellent carcass qualities, making it one of the most popular breeds of meat goat in the world. Boer goats have a high resistance to disease and adapt well to hot, dry semi-deserts. United States production is centered in west-central Texas, particularly in and around San Ange;lo The original US breeding stock came from herds located in New Zealand Only later were they imported directly from South Africa.

Boer goats commonly have white bodies and distinctive brown heads. Like the Nubian Goat. they possess long, pendulous ears. They are noted for being docile, fast growing, and having high fertility rates. Does are reported to have superior mothering skills as compared to other goats. Mature Boer bucks weigh between 110-135 kg (240-300 lb), and mature does between 90-100 kg (200-220 lb).

Boer Meat Goat

Easy made cheese

Meat Goat

Mozzarella cheese making

Good book on growing your own food


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thank you very much....

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      hey grandpa could we make cheese when you come down in april??

    • flread45 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Montana

      thank you and good luck

    • Kind Regards profile image

      Kind Regards 

      10 years ago from Missouri Ozarks - Table Rock Lake

      flread45, Great hub. We've recently been discussing goats, so this is a timely article for me. Thank you, Kind Regards

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      11 years ago from NW Indiana

      Good Goat Info. I like to eat goat, I have had a few pygmies as pets and I love goat cheese. Now you struck up a nerve with me and goats. Thanx for this one. C.S.Alexis

    • tjmum profile image


      11 years ago from Isle of Wight

      I am amazed there is so much to learn about goats! I've always had a liking for them (could be because I'm a Capricorn) and I drink goats milk because it is much easier to digest and tastes wonderful. I always wanted to keep goats, though I am a little worried about them getting on the car and the roof! Great hub.

    • Karen Ellis profile image

      Karen Ellis 

      11 years ago from Central Oregon

      I've always liked goats, but thought it would be a lot to handle as just a pet. That's too bad about the smelly beards.

    • pjdscott profile image


      11 years ago from Durham, UK

      I was very interested in the functionality of the goat, previously thinking they had little function in the food chain. Most interesting.

    • donnaleemason profile image


      11 years ago from North Dakota, USA

      They are kind of cute and have definite personalities.



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