According to the USDA, as of January 1, 2017, the United States had 373,000 milk goats. The largest number of milk goats are found in Wisconsin (44,000 head) and California (41,000 head), followed by Iowa (30,000 head), Pennsylvania (15,000 head) and New York (13,700 head) (NASS).
The Dairy Goat industry experienced rapid growth in the early 1900's when several dairy breeds were brought to the US from Europe in large numbers, and the first dairy goat show in America was held at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. Goat milk has long been a staple product for people who suffer from allergies, and in recent years the demand for additional goat products, including soaps, cheese and lotions has added to the market for dairy goat products.
Information and drawings are provided by the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) and do not necessarily reflect information from other dairy goat breed registries or associations. This information and the drawings are copyrighted by ADGA.
Visit ADGA website for more information about dairy goats and ADGA breed standards.
The Alpine Dairy Goat is also referred to as the French Alpine and ADGA registration papers for this dairy goat use both designations and they are synonymous. The Alpine dairy goat is a medium to large size animal, alertly graceful, with erect ears, offering all colors and combinations of colors with distinction and individuality of appearance. They are hardy, adaptable animals that thrive in any climate while maintaining good health and excellent production. The hair is medium to short. The face is straight. A Roman nose, Toggenburg color and markings, or all white is discriminated against. [MORE INFO]
The Guernsey dairy goat was developed using genetics from the rare Golden Guernsey Goats, an official dairy breed registered with the British Goat Society. The Guernsey dairy goat is medium in size. The ears are erect and often set slightly lower than Swiss breeds and carried horizontally, or forward in what is termed the "bonnet" position when viewed in profile. Ear tips can be slightly upturned. The ears must not be pendulous. The nose should be either straight or dished. The Guernsey coat/hair color should be shades of gold, ranging from very pale flaxen cream to deep russet or bronze. Full or partial roaning; white patches; white face; star/blaze are acceptable. The golden body color should be dominant, with no preference shown to any shade or pattern. Hair may be short or long and flowing or a combination of both. A long curtain, skirt, and/or dorsal fringe of body hair are desirable, although not required to meet standard. Skin color must display a gold tone, ranging from peachyflesh to orange-gold in one or more of these places; muzzle, ears, eyes, under tail, mammary or scrotum. Swiss facial stripes and/or rump marking; black markings or spots over 1 1⁄2 inches are not allowed. (Note: Although the American Dairy Goat Association has recognized the Guernsey breed, a Guernsey herdbook has not yet been created.) [MORE INFO]
The LaMancha goat was developed in the U.S.A. It has excellent dairy temperament and is an all-around sturdy animal that can withstand a great deal of hardship and still produce. Through official testing this breed has established itself in milk production with high butterfat. The LaMancha face is straight with the ears being the distinctive breed characteristic. There are two types of LaMancha ears. In does one type of ear has no advantage over the other. 1. The “gopher ear” is described as follows: an approximate maximum length of one inch (2.54 cm) but preferably nonexistent and with very little or no cartilage. The end of the ear must be turned up or down. This is the only type of ear which will make bucks eligible for registration. 2. The “elf ear” is described as follows: an approximate maximum length of two inches (5.08 cm) is allowed, the end of the ear must be turned up or turned down and cartilage shaping the small ear is allowed. [MORE INFO]
The Nigerian Dwarf is a miniature breed of dairy goat originating in West Africa and developed in the United States. The balanced proportions of t he Nigerian Dwarf give it the appearance of the larger breeds of dairy goats, but does stand no more than 22.5" (57cm) and bucks no more than 23.5" (60cm). Any color or combination of colors is acceptable. The medium length ears are erect and alert. The face is either straight or dished, and the hair is short and fine. [MORE INFO]
The Nubian is a relatively large, proud, and graceful dairy goat of mixed Asian, African, and European origin, known for high quality, high butterfat, milk production. The head is the distinctive breed characteristic, with the facial profile between the eyes and the muzzle being strongly convex (Roman nose). The ears are long (extending at least one inch [2.54 cm] beyond the muzzle when held flat along the face), wide and pendulous. They lie close to the head at the temple and flare slightly out and well forward at the rounded tip, forming a “bell” shape. The ears are not thick, with the cartilage well defined. The hair is short, fine and glossy. Any color or colors, solid or patterned, is acceptable. [MORE INFO]
The Oberhasli is a Swiss dairy goat. This breed is a medium size, vigorous and alert in appearance. Its color is chamoisee. Does may be black but chamoisee is preferred. Chamoisee is described as: Bay—ranging from light to a deep red bay with the latter most desirable. A few white hairs through the coat and about the ears are permitted. Markings are to be: two black stripes down the face from above each eye to a black muzzle; forehead nearly all black, black stripes from the base of each ear coming to a point just back of the poll and continuing along the neck and back as a dorsal stripe to the tail; a black belly and light gray to black udder; black legs below the knees and hocks; ears black inside and bay outside. Bucks often have more black on the head than does, black whiskers, and black hair along the shoulder and lower chest with a mantle of black along the back. Bucks frequently have more white hairs through the coat than does. Ears should be erect and alertly carried. The face is straight or dished. A Roman nose is discriminated again. [MORE INFO]
The Saanen dairy goat originated in Switzerland. It is medium to large in size with rugged bone and plenty of vigor. Does should be feminine, however, and not coarse. Saanens are white or light cream in color, with white preferred. Spots on the skin are not discriminated against. Small spots of color on the hair are allowable, but not desirable. The hair should be short and fine, although a fringe over the spine and thighs is often present. Ears should be erect and alertly carried, preferably pointing forward. The face should be straight or dished. A tendency toward a Roman nose is discriminated against. [MORE INFO]
The Sable dairy goat is medium to large in size with rugged bone and plenty of vigor. Does should be feminine, however, and not coarse. Their hair is short; ears should be erect and alertly carried, preferably pointing forward. The face should be straight or dished. The Sable may be any color or combination of colors, solid or patterned, EXCEPT solid white or solid light cream. [MORE INFO]
The Toggenburg is a Swiss dairy goat from the Toggenburg Valley of Switzerland. This breed is of medium size, sturdy, vigorous, and alert in appearance. The hair is short to long in length, soft and fine. Its color is solid, varying from light fawn to dark chocolate with no preference for any shade. Distinct white markings are as follows: white ears with dark spot in middle; two white stripes down the face from above each eye to the muzzle; hind legs white from hocks to hooves; forelegs white from knees downward with dark vertical stripe below knee acceptable; a white triangle on each side of the tail; white spot may be present at root of wattles or in that area if no wattles are present. Varying degrees of cream markings instead of pure white acceptable, but not desirable. The ears are erect and carried forward. Facial lines may be dished or straight, never Roman. [MORE INFO]