As small-scale and urban homesteads increase in popularity, many new owners are trying to expand their livestock – and between their personalities and their milk production, goats are the perfect addition.
Eight breeds of dairy goats are most popular for homesteads. These are Nigerian Dwarf goats, Saanens, Alpine goats, Oberhasli goats, La Manchas, Nubian goats, Toggenburg goats, and Sable goats. Each is popular for different reasons, with some favored for milk production, some for personality, and others for climatic adaptation.
Dairy goats produce a lot of milk, take up far fewer resources than dairy cattle, and can be affectionate pets. Read on for eight popular breeds of dairy goats that will take your homestead to the next level.
Popular Goat Breeds For Your Homestead
If you are researching goats for your homestead, there are several good breeds to choose from. They are each popular for different qualities and suited to different roles around the homestead.
Nigerian Dwarf Goats Are Popular Homestead Pets
Suitably named, these little goats are the smallest milk goats on the market.
Nigerian Dwarf goats are approximately half the size of an ordinary goat and have remarkable milk-producing abilities for their size!
Despite standing at just two feet (61 cm) tall and weighing only 75 pounds (34 kilograms), these little goats produce an impressive two quarts (nearly two liters) of milk daily!
Nigerian Dwarf goats can be very affectionate and obedient if owners raise them with a lot of contact. They make good pets, and owners can even train them to walk on leads!
Nigerian Dwarf Goats don’t need much space, making them the perfect goats for small homesteads or fields. Nigerian Dwarves are also a popular choice for those with children, as they are friendly and docile.
Saanen Goats Are Popular Among Homesteads With Children
In contrast to the minute size of Nigerian Dwarfs, Saanen goats are much larger – they are the largest dairy goat breed.
Saanen goats produce the second-greatest daily milk yield of all goats. Their milk production makes Saanen goats very popular among individuals hoping to depend on their goats for all their dairy needs.
Saanen goats are mild-tempered and friendly, making them well-suited for homesteads with small children and other animals.
Additionally, with their origins in Switzerland, they are well-suited for homesteads in colder climates.
Alpine Goats Produce The Most Milk Of All Dairy Breeds
If high milk production is your main priority when keeping goats, one breed of goat stands above all the rest– Alpine goats.
Alpine goats have the highest rate of milk production of any goat, which makes them very popular in homesteads. These efficient goats produce up to 2 gallons (7.5 liters) of milk daily!
Furthermore, Alpine goats produce some of the best goat milk for cheese, so they are very popular among cheese lovers!
Alpine goats have additional advantages too. These include:
- Alpine goats are relatively quiet goats.
- Alpine goats are tolerant of people.
- Alpine goats can adapt to almost any climate and thrive in cold conditions.
However, Alpine goats are high-maintenance goat breeds. As they produce so much milk, their diets must be nutritionally balanced at all times, so owners have to take extra care when feeding them.
Oberhasli Goats Are Popular As ‘The Dogs Of Goats’
The Oberhasli goat is another popular choice among homestead owners for its personality and milk production.
You can instantly recognize Oberhasli goats by their striking copper coat and black markings.
This goat has a particularly mellow temperament and bonds with humans for companionship, similar to a dog– which is why it has been called the dog of goats!
They are among the calmest of all goat breeds, making them well-suited to families with small children.
However, despite their friendly nature, Oberhasli goats have a mischievous streak and are well-known escape artists! You will have to build a high barrier to these goats’ enclosure to ensure they don’t go for an excursion!
The La Mancha Goats Are Popular For Their Personalities
Another breed of goat that is particularly popular among those with smaller farms or homesteads is the La Mancha strain.
La Manchas are instantly recognizable because they have very tiny ears or no external ears (these two variants are elf ears and gopher ears, respectively!).
They are among the best milk goats available and are also popular among homestead owners for their personalities. La Manchas can be very patient and affectionate goats, and with good handling early on, make for good pets.
Nubian Goats Are Popular In Hot Climates
Nubian goats are another firm favorite of small-scale farmers and homestead owners everywhere.
They are good dairy and dual-purpose goats. They are particularly well known for their milk, which contains about five percent more buttermilk than average – perfect for cheese, yogurt, and butter.
Nubian goats are a good choice for homesteads in hotter regions, as they originated from the Middle East, and adapted to hot and dry climates. They are, however, not suited to humidity.
Another advantage of Nubian goats is their longer-than-average breeding season. This makes them particularly popular among homestead owners who wish to make money breeding goats.
Toggenburg Goats Make Great Family Milk Goats
Toggenburg goats are another highly productive breed of dairy goat of Swiss origin.
These medium-sized goats yield up to six pounds (2.5 liters) of milk daily (for nanny goats). This makes Toggenburg goats incredibly popular in homesteads, as a few goats can easily supply a family’s milk.
Toggenburg goats also produce milk much later into the winter than many other goat breeds, making them a good choice for a consistent milk supply.
Toggenburg goats have another advantage in their temperament, as they are a docile, notably friendly, and intelligent breed – making them fun animals to have around a homestead.
Sable Goats Are Good For Homesteads In Hot Areas
Sable goats are another popular dairy goat breed that has been selectively bred for high milk production.
Sable goats are easy to milk and produce a good amount of milk, of about 3-5 percent fat (which makes them a healthy milk option!)
Like many goats on this list, Sable goats arise from Switzerland. However, they originated from a different climatic zone from many other Swiss goats, so they have adapted to a different environment.
This adaptation means that sable goats are well suited for homesteads in hotter regions, where other Swiss goat breeds might do badly.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is natural to have questions when considering buying livestock! These are the most commonly asked questions by those considering goats for their homestead.
What Is The Most Common Goat Breed?
Globally, the most commonly owned dairy goats are Alpine, Saanen, Oberhasle, and Tonnenburg goats.
What Is The Most Common Domestic Goat Breed In The US?
The most popular breeds of domestic goats in the United States are Nubians, Alpines, and Saanen goats.
What Are The Best-Selling Goats?
The best-selling goats in the United States are Saanens, which makes them the most profitable goat to breed.
What Goat Breed Makes The Best House Pets?
Nigerian Dwarf goats make the best house pets, as they are the smallest goat breed and can be raised to be very affectionate with their owners.
Goats are a fantastic addition to any homestead and make a great lower-space dairy alternative to cows.
Several breeds of dairy goats are particularly popular among those with homesteads, and these offer various sizes, temperaments, and amounts of milk production.