An Alpine Goat standing on the rock with snowy mountain on the background.

11 Best Goat Breeds For Beginners

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Raising goats can be a truly rewarding experience if you select the right breed starting out. There are many different goats breed to choose from, making the decision a difficult one, to say the least.

Choosing the best goat breed for any farm depends entirely on the purpose for raising the goats. Each breed is ideal for a different purpose so it is important not to make the wrong choice.

Here is a list of the 11 best goat breeds for beginners and how they will fit in on your farm.   

1. Nigerian Dwarf

Nigerian Goat and its kid on the field.

The Nigerian Dwarf is a miniature breed, just like its name suggests. Their compact size along with their friendly nature make them an ideal goat breed choice for beginners.

Nigerian Dwarf goats are raised primarily for milk production, however, they are considered to be a dual-purpose goat.

Being dual-purposed simply means that the goat can be raised for both meat and milk production on farms.

Nigerian Dwarf goats can produce a surprising 729 pounds of milk in a single year!

Nigerian Dwarf goats are usually no taller than 22.5 inches tall, making them the perfect goats for small farms. They tend to be friendly around people and are relatively easy to handle.

2. Pygmy

A Pygmy goat standing on the green grass field.

Pygmy goats are another miniature goat breed that is ideal for beginners looking for goats for meat production or pets.

Pygmy goats can be rambunctious as youngsters, however. They enjoy being with people as long as they are raised in friendly, social environments. They tend to make excellent pets for goat owners.

Pygmy goats produce only enough milk for their young and are not considered great milk producers for humans. They are used primarily as pets and sometimes for meat production.

The Pygmy goat breed produces goats that are even smaller than Nigerian Dwarf goats. They usually stand between 15 to 20 inches tall as adults.

If milk production is not your primary intention, Pygmy goats may just be the best goat breed option for your beginner goat farm.

3. Nubian

A Nubian goat resting on the ground.

Nubian goats are medium-sized goats that are great for beginners looking for a friendly, dual-purpose goat. Many farmers raised Nubian goats for milk as well as meat production.

Nubians do not make an exceptionally large amount of milk annually, however, it is sufficient for small farms. What they lack in milk production they make up for in personality and adorableness.

Nubians are easy to recognize thanks to their extremely long ears that fall on each side of their face. Their ears can even reach below their noses!

Nubians typically stand at least 30-35 inches tall, and sometimes taller. They are friendly, lovable goats that are easy to handle.

4. LaMancha

LaMancha standing on tall green grass.

The LaMancha goat breed is a great breed option for beginners thanks to their high milk production and good-natured personality.

LaMancha goats are known not only for their superior production of milk, but also for their almost non-existent ears! Do not be mistaken, LaMancha goats do have ears, they are just extremely small.

LaMancha goats are medium-sized and most stand at least 28 to 30 inches tall.

They are resilient goats that adapt well to different environments. LaMancha goats usually have friendly demeanors and make excellent pets on any farm.

5. Alpine

An Alpine Goat standing on the rock with snowy mountain on the background.

Alpine goats are one the best goat breeds for beginners because they are considered extremely versatile and hardy.

The Alpine goat is classified as a high-producing dairy goat. An adult doe can produce up around 2,266 pounds of milk per year, making the breed a perfect choice for beginners wanting to yield goat milk.

Alpine goats stand at a minimum of 30 to 40 inches tall. They are considered a large-sized goat.

Alpine goats have short, straight-standing ears that almost look like those of a horse. This goat breed is known to be very friendly and can be raised as pets.

6. Saanen

A flock of Saanen goats in the meadow.

Saanen goats are another solid beginner goat breed because they are exceptional milk producers and they have friendly dispositions.

Saanen goats stand at least 30 inches tall or more and are always either have either solid white or cream-colored coats of hair.

Their ears stand straight, much like those of Alpine goats.

Many beginner goat enthusiasts enjoy the Saanen goat breed thanks to their calm demeanors. They also produce a lot of milk annually, an average of 2,577 pounds!

7. Boer

A Boer goat smiling and sitting on the ground.

Boer goats are one of the best beginner goats breeds for those looking for a meat production goat or a pet.

Boer goats do not produce high quantities of milk, apart from what they need for their own offspring.

The Boer goat breed grows very fast, making a good option for producing meat, but they also make great pets as well. Boer goats are calm, friendly, and easy to handle.

They stand around 30 inches tall when fully grown. Boer goats have distinguishable solid white bodies with light to dark brown heads.

8. Kiko

A close-up picture of a Kiko goat.

The Kiko goat breed is popular among goat owners, especially beginners that want to harvest goat meat. Kiko goats also make excellent pets because they are easy keepers and tend to be rather hardy.

Kiko goats reportedly do not suffer from many health issues, as opposed to other goat breeds. They are strong, intelligent, and the does tend to make great mothers.

Kiko goats are not excellent milk producers beyond what they produce for their own young. These goats usually stand up to 37 inches tall.

9. Fainting

A Fainting Goat standing on the field.

Also known as myotonic goats, the fainting goat is a very interesting goat breed and one that is very popular with beginners. They are most often bred and raised to be pets and are poor choices for meat or dairy production.

Fainting goats do not faint like their name suggests, but they do fall over and look like they have fainted.

A neuromuscular glitch in their system causes their muscles to stiffen up when they move unintentionally, such as when they are frightened.

Fainting goats are small-sized goats, usually only growing to about 25 inches tall or shorter. They tend to be friendly and quiet goats that do not cause their owners many issues.

10. Angora

An Angora goat sticking its tongue out with the field on the background.

Angora goats are an ideal breed choice for beginner goat owners that are interested in fiber production.

Angora goats, unlike the short-haired goats on this list have thick coats of mohair, a fleece fiber that can be sold for profit.

The downfall to raising Angora goats is that their coats have to be sheared at least twice a year to prevent health issues and to keep their coats vigorous.

Angora goats stand up to 26 inches tall when fully grown. They are raised primarily for fiber or meat production. They are typically solid white, brown, black, or gray in color.

Angoras have a reputation for being calm, friendly goats that are easy to handle if socialized regularly and from a young age.

11. Nigora

Nigora goats are one of the best goat breeds for beginners because it is a combination of two other popular beginner goat breeds.

The Nigora goat breed was created by goat owners who bred Nigerian Dwarf goats with Angora goats.

By combining these two breeds, goat owners were able to produce a small-sized goat that has a thick coat of fiber. These goats are triple-purpose being used for milk, meat, and fiber production!

Nigora goats are small, usually reaching a height between 19 and 29 inches tall as adults. They usually have calm demeanors and their small size makes them easy to work with.

BreedHeightPurpose
Nigerian DwarfUp to 22.5 inchesDual-Purpose, Pets
Pygmy15 – 20 inchesDual-Purpose, Pets
Nubian30 – 35 inchesDual-Purpose, Pets
LaMancha28 – 30 inchesDairy, Pets
Alpine30 – 40 inchesDairy, Pets
SaanenAt least 30 inchesDairy, Pets
BoerUp to 30 inchesMeat, Pets
KikoUp to 37 inchesMeat, Pets
Fainting Up to 25 inchesPets
AngoraUp to 26 inchesMeat, Fiber, Pet
Nigora19 – 29 inchesMeat, Fiber, Pet

Final Thoughts

Getting into goats is probably one of the best decisions someone can make, however, it is imperative to choose the best goat breed right out of the gate. Once you decide what your goals are for raising goats, the easier your decision will be.

Thankfully, with all the goat breeds detailed here, beginners in the goat world will have no problem finding the best goat breed for their farm!

Resources:

Researching the best goat breeds for beginners is an exciting adventure. Here are the sources used for this article.

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