Goat is a mammal that belongs to the family Bovidae. Being a member of the sub-family Caprinae, it is placed with and closely related to sheep. There is a large number of goat breeds in different parts of the world. All of the types of goats have descended from the wild goat which is known as Capra aegagrus in the scientific world. Various domestic breeds have been developed owing to the usefulness of this animal, particularly for its meat, milk, hair and skin.
Discussed below are different popular goat types.
Capra aegagrus is the ancestor of all the different varieties of domestic goats. This species emerged from the mountainous regions of western Asia as well as Eastern Europe. Today, it is found in a widespread area of the world including various parts of Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The animal is herbivore and loves to feed on grass or leaves of plants. Among the wild goat types, this member is well-adapted to live in mountainous regions. It is agile and can climb up steep and rocky slope owing to its cloven hooves.
Capra aegagrus possesses the following distinct traits.
- Both the males and females have horns. However, the males have larger horns which are curved up and backwards to give them a formidable appearance.
- It is diurnal specie and feeds in the early hours of the morning. During warm weather conditions, however, it feeds during the late afternoon.
- Capra aegagrus has a coat of hairy fur, the color of which varies. It may be grey, brown, black, white or a combination of two different shades. The color helps them camouflage with the surroundings to evade their predators.
The domestic goat is one of the most popular types of goats. It is a sub-species of the wild goat and is known as Capra aegagrus hircus in scientific terms. You can find it in woodlands as well as mountainous regions.
Discussed below are the unique features of this animal.
- Both the male and female domestic goats possess horns.
- The average size of a mature individual ranges between 15.7 and 31.5 inches.
- A fully grown Capra aegagrus hircus may weigh up to 77 kg.
- The running speed of this animal can reach up to seventeen kilometers per hour.
- The availability of sufficient food supplies and favorable living conditions can lead to an average lifespan of ten to fifteen years.
- Domestic goats possess hairy fur coats which may be brown, black or white in color.
Another sub-species of the wild goat is known as Capra aegagrus aegagrus. In common language, it is called Bezoar Ibex. This variety is found in different parts of Western Asia including Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq. Herds of Bezoar Ibex are also found on the Greek islands.
The animal possesses the following distinguishing traits.
- Both genders are found with sharp horns which are shaped like a scimitar.
- The average size of a fully grown bezoar can be up to four feet.
- The weight of the animal can vary between 130 and 300 pounds.
- The entire body is covered with wool which is coarse in texture. However, it does not cover the legs of the animal.
- The color of the wool coat can be brown, red, grey, black or white. It may also be a combination of two or more of these colors to provide camouflage to the animal.
- Be it a male or female bezoar, both have small beards. The color of the beard is the same as the color of the fur coat.
Sindh Ibex is one of the most valuable types of goats. It is known as Capra aegagrus blythi according to scientific nomenclature. This variety derives its common name from the southern province of Pakistan – Sindh. The goat is native to this area.
Discussed below are some important facts about the Sindh Ibex.
- The males possess formidable-looking, scimitar-shaped horns.
- The average length of a grown up Sindh Ibex can be up to forty inches.
- The females as well as the young ones have a yellowish-brown coat.
- The age of the male goat can be estimated through the extent of white hair at the hind neck. The older the animal, the greater is the number of white hair.
- The males possess a short beard but the females lack it.
- Adult males possess a prominent black stripe which runs down to the front of the shoulders up to the chest.
This sub-species of the wild goat is found exclusively in Pakistan. It is also known as Chiltan Markhor by the natives. On the other hand, scientific nomenclature has given it a different name—Capra aegagrus chiltanensis. Unfortunately, this variety is critically endangered today.
Following are some interesting facts about the Chiltan Ibex.
- The goat derives its name from the Chiltan mountain range in Quetta, Pakistan where a large population of the species used to exist before it became endangered.
- Mature males possess uniquely shaped horns which are twisted with a flattened keel that flares in the outward direction.
- The hair on the body of the males turns silvery grey with age.
- The IUCN Red Data Book has placed the Chiltan Ibex in the list of critically endangered organisms.
Turkmen Wild Goat
Also known as the bearded goat, the Turkmen Wild Goat is another valuable variety of this hoofed animal. In the scientific world, it is known as Capra aegagrus turcmenica. The goat is found mainly in Iran and Turkmenistan from where it derives its common name.
Like other varieties, the bearded goat also possesses horn. The body color may be brown, black, white or a combination of these shades. In addition, the animal also has a beard as implied by its common name.
Kri – Kri
According to scientific nomenclature, Kri-kri is known as Capra aegagrus cretica. The goat inhabits different parts of the Eastern Mediterranean. Today, it is found only on the island of Crete in Greece and three offshore islands including Agii Pantes, Dia and Thodorou. Kri-kri is also commonly known as the Cretan goat or the Cretan Ibex. In some parts, it is also called Agrimi.
Go through the following interesting facts about Kri-kri.
- Capra aegagrus cretica did not originate from the island of Crete. In fact, it was imported to this area during the Minoan Civilization.
- The horns sweep back slightly rather than being curved.
- The coat of the Kri-kri is light brown. The animal also possesses a dark band which runs around the neck.
- This variety of goats exhibits a shy behavior and avoids close contact with humans.
- Kri-kri has the ability to climb steep slopes. It can also leap over a short distance.
Domestic Goat Breeds
There are hundreds of different types of domestic goat breeds developed through the process of selective breeding. These goats are bred and raised on farms for their milk, meat or fur coat. Given below is a brief description of some of the most popular domestic goat breeds.
As the name implies, the Alpine goats originated in the French Alps through a cross between British goats and Swiss Alpine varieties. The Alpine goats are valued owing to their milk production.
A cross between the Nubian Jamunapari and Zaraibi with UK’s English goat breeds gave rise to the Anglo-Nubian goat. This valuable domestic breed serves multiple purposes. It is popular for its fine and glossy coat as well as high quality milk and meat.
Boer is a popular goat breed developed through a cross between Indian and European varieties of goats. It is valued for its high quality meat.
These are large sized goats which can grow up to a height of 70 to 90 cm. Saanen goats are pure white in color with dark spots on the ears and nose. Their country of origin is Switzerland. Saanen is popularly referred to as the “Milk Queen” and is valued for its milk production.
Another goat variety with desirable milk production is known as Surti. Like saanen goats, surti is also pure white in color. It possesses a well-developed udder which contributes to good production of milk.
Beetal is a popular breed found in large numbers in India. It has an average height of 70 to 80 cm with large and well-developed udders. Therefore, beetal is preferred for its milk.
Feral goats were crossed with dairy goats in the 1980s in New Zealand giving rise to Kiko goats. The desirable qualities of this variety include fast growth and the ability to survive with little food provided by the farmer.
Popular in the US, the Boer goats can adapt to different types of climate conditions. Their production rate is high since they can rebreed during the nursing period.
The Angora goats are popular for their wool. They produce high quality fiber called mohair.
There is a number number of other cross breeds developed for their valuable meat, hair or milk. Selective breeding imparts desirable quality to the animal and increases profits for the producer.