In doing research for my upcoming book “The Joy of Raising Goats” I’m compiling a list of the most common breeds in the United States and Canada. If you note any that I’ve missed please leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to include it. I will be adding photos and deeper descriptions in the future so add this page to your bookmarks or favorite it on Facebook to return easily.
Dairy Goat Breeds
Alpine and French Alpine
Ranging in color from pure white through shades of fawn, brown, black, red, gray, buff, and piebald, this goat breed are usually short-haired and have compact, erect ears. Buck beards are pronounced and may have longer hair along their backs.
A stocky Pygmy and Nubian cross with does that produce ample milk and wethers that produce ample meat quantities.
Originated in California. A hardy breed with small or non-existant ears.
Also raised as pets, novelties and children’s 4H or FFA projects.
Short haired, long ears. Best suited to warm climates. High butterfat content.
White or light cream in color with erect ears.
Good performers in cooler climates. Considered to be the oldest known dairy goat. Originating from Switzerland.
Fiber Goat Breeds
Often sheared twice annually. Mohair production.
Meat Goat Breeds
New Zealand wild goats cross-bred with domestic breeds.
Myotonic (aka Tennessee Fainting Goat)
Easy to keep, well muscled goat breed. Does are minor, but consistent milkers.
Originated from European explorers to North America. Escaped or released these goats adapted and multiplied across the United States and Canada.
see: Nigerian Dwarf goat above
Other Popular Goat Breeds Around the World
Altai Mountain Goat (USSR)
Anatolian Black (Turkey)
Appenzell (Germany) – Dairy goat
Barbari (Pakistan) – Meat goat
Beetal (Pakistan/India) – Meat and Dairy goat
Benadir aka Digwain (Somalia) – Meat and Dairy goat
Bhuj (Brazil) – Meat and Dairy goat
Bionda dell’Adamello (Italy) – Diary goat
Bengal or Black Bengal (India/Bangladesh) – Meat and Dairy goat
British Alpine (UK/Australia) – Dairy goat
Brown Shorthair Goat (Czech Republic) – Dairy goat
Canary Island (Spain) – Dairy goat
Carpathian (Widespread throughout Europe) – Dairy and meat goat
Changthangi (India) – Meat and fiber
Chappar (Kohistan) – Meat goat
Chengde Polled (China) – Meat and fiber goat
Chengdu Brown (China) – Meat and dairy goat
Chigu (India) – Fiber and meat goat
Daera Din Panah (Pakistan) – Dairy goat
Damani (Pakistan) – Dairy goat
Damascus (Syria/Lebanon) – Dairy goat
Don (Russia) – Fiber and Hide goat
Dutch Toggenburg (Netherlands) – Dairy goat
Erzgebirge (Germany) – Dairy goat
Finnish Landrace (Finland) – Dairy goat
Golden Guernsey (UK) – Dairy goat
Hailun (China) – Dairy goat
Haimen (China) – Meat goat
Hasi (Albania) – Meat and dairy goat
Hejazi (Arabia) – Meat goat
Hexi Cashmere (China) – Fiber
Huaipi (China) – Meat
Huaitoutala (China) – Fiber
Hungarian Improved (Hungary) – Dairy goat
Irish Goat (Ireland) – Meat and dairy goat (n.b. check on status of fiber as this is a long haired breed)
Jining Grey (China) – Fiber and hide (kids) goat
Kaghani (Pakistan) – Meat and fiber goat
Kamori (Pakistan) – Dairy goat
Loashan (China) – Dairy goat
Murcia-Granada (Spain with many imports) – Dairy goat
Norwegian (Norway) – Meat and dairy goat
Philippine (Philippines) – Meat goat
Poitou (France) – Dairy goat
Pyrenean (Spain) – Dairy or meat
Qinshan (China) – Hide
Russian White (Russia) – Dairy goat
Sahelian (Sahara desert) – Meat, dairy and hide goat
Somali (Kenya/Somalia) – Meat breed
Swedish Landrace (Sweden) – Dairy
Uzbek Black (Uzbeckistan) – Fiber
Valais Blackneck (Switzerland) – Meat and dairy
Verata (Spain) – Meat and dairy goats
Xinjiang (China) – Dairy, meat, fiber
Zalawadi (India) – Dairy, meat, fiber