Looking for the right kind of goat breed seems easy and effortless. Most people just simply choose the type of breed, either milk breed, meat breed or fiber breed, where each type of breed includes dozens of specific goat breeds. But do you know exactly how many breeds of goats are there? You’d actually be surprised. We just know the common, top and the best breed of goats for their types or classifications but there are actually a lot more.
We classify goats depending on the product characteristics they have. Goats that are highly capable of producing a sufficient amount of milk are classified as milk breeds, although some of them are capable of producing good and quality meat. The same thing with meat breeds. Some meat goat breeds can produce an amount of milk but classified as one of the top or the best meat breeds due to its substantial amount of meat, body size, growth rate, quality meat and more. Fiber goat breeds can either produce the quantity of milk and quality of meat but classified as the best fiber goat breed as it can wildly grow fiber.
Goat is just one of some species that got domesticated by humans several thousands of years ago. This livestock or farming animal has stood the test of time along with horses and sheep. Today, there are so many breeds where some can grow to up to 275 pounds as an adult and smaller breeds can weigh lighter to only about 25 pounds. The average life span of a goat is about 15 to 18 years. But smaller breeds have a hard time catching the drift where they have a lower average lifespan of about 12 years. Larger breeds have a greater chance to reach equal or more than 18 years.
How Many Breeds of Goats Are There?
As an estimation, there are actually more than 200 breeds known today. Most of these breeds came across combining two different breeds with a great end result. Surprisingly, most of us are just used to the best breeds that are on the top of their classifications. That’s a normal notion because it would be far impractical for farmers and livestock owners to invest for some breeds within the 200 that cannot produce sufficient amount of profitable assets such as milk, meat, and fiber.
The reason why it reached more than 200 breeds of goats is that up until today, breeders still tries to combine and look for a breed that could be a great provider of either of the three, meat, fiber or milk. They are also trying to breed for research and knowledge purposes. Objectives such as productivity, longer lifespan, higher growth rate, size, weight, etc., are one of the factors why breeders continue to grow and raise mixes of goat breeds to find that holy grail of goat breed.
Below are some of the best goat breeds in their classification or type:
Milk goat breeds are known very well with their capability of milk production with a low-cost maintenance. The most popular breed is the Nigerian Dwarf goat. This goat is one of the smallest breed of goats in terms of size, height, and weight. They are not ideal for growing meat due to their size but potentially a great producer of milk. The breed can produce about 1 to 2 quarts of milk a day. Imagine growing a farm with several Nigerian Dwarfs.
Next on the list is the Nubian where it can produce an average of 2 gallons a day, followed by the Alpine with average milk production of 1 gallon a day. La Mancha can also be a good choice. It can also produce 1 to 2 gallons of milk a day but with lower butterfat content, which makes the Nubian still on top of it. Saanen goat also has great potential. It produces milk with a lower butterfat content of just about 3 percent but can produce about 1 and a half gallons of milk per day.
One of the largest and the best meat producing goat breeds are the Boer goats. The superior meat breed was first raised in the southern part of Africa. It is now one of the popular choices for livestock owners and farmers that are in goat breeding for meats. The next ideal breed is the Spanish goat. Spain is one of the countries that popularly breeds goat for over centuries. This Spanish goat breed is known for their long and twisted horns.
The smallest and among the popular meat breed would be the Pygmy goat. The pygmy goat is small than other milk and fiber breeds but is classified as a meat breed. It does not produce a lot of milk and the meat is quite small due to its size but the quality and taste of the meat is none other in comparison. That’s why many farmers and livestock owners choose to raise the breed for meat. Some prefer this breed to be a great pet due to its lovable characteristics. It is interactive with humans and other animals, adorable, cute and does not require much effort in raising and breeding.
The top breed for growing fibers for goats would be the Angora goat. It produces a basic color of fiber, white. Breeders have been long experimenting in producing a different color of quality fiber from Angora, cross-breeding it with other breeds of goat. One of the best cross breeds created is the Pygora. It is a fiber goat breed that came from combining Pygmy goat and Angora goat. The hybrid is a small goat like that of a Pygmy but produces a great amount of fiber like that of the Angora. However, it can only produce about 4 pounds of a fiber of fleece yearly, much less to a full grown Angora. The nice thing about it is that it is small, very easy to grow, handle and maintain.
Even thou there are many or more than 200 breeds of goats. There are only a countable amount of goat breeds that are viable for livestock, poultry and farming purposes. The rest can be a choice to whether or not, you’ll gamble with the breed. But regardless, buying or investing in goats as pets means that breeds really doesn’t matter. All or at least most goat breeds can adapt well with humans and are capable of living alongside. They are usually smart, lovable, a little mischievous, interactive and playful.