Miniature Goats

Miniature goats are equally great for breeders looking to raise them on their homestead and for people seeking a pet goat. They take up less space, require relatively less feed, and are easier to handle, making them generally easier to care for and raise.

Naturally Small vs. Miniature Goats

Before learning about specific breeds, it’s essential to note the difference between terms like ‘small,’ ‘miniature,’ and mini.’ To explain simply, a ‘small’ goat is naturally small and stays that way even when it becomes full-grown. The Nigerian Dwarf would be one of the most noteworthy examples of a naturally small goat. A miniature goat, on the other hand, is usually the result of crossbreeding or selective breeding. These usually have the word ‘mini’ or ‘miniature’ as part of their name.

Small and Miniature Goats

List of Naturally Small Goat Breeds

Here are some recognized goat breeds known for their small size, arranged by height:

Goat BreedAverage Height (in)Average Weight (lbs)Purpose
American Pygmy15-2050-90Companions and pets
Nigerian Dwarf17-2040-75Dairy, also as pets
Tennessee Fainting Goat (Myotonic)17-2560-174Pets
Nigora19-2960-135Dual-purpose for milk and fiber
Kinder26-28115-150Dairy (mainly used in ice cream)
Nubian  30-35135-175Meat, milk, and hide 

List of Miniature Goats

Crossbreeding and selective breeding are common among goat breeders, who experiment and create miniature versions of various breeds. The list below contains well-known examples arranged according to their height.

Goat BreedOriginAverage Height (in)Average Weight (lbs)Purpose
Mini ToggenburgNigerian Dwarf ×Toggenburg16-2335-60Dairy
Australia MiniNigerian Dwarf × American Pygmy × Other Breeds16-2425-60Vegetation control
Mini OberhasliOberhasli × Nigerian Dwarf21-2350-75Dairy
Miniature Silky Fainting GoatTennessee Fainting × Nigerian Dwarf22.5-23.550-80Pets
Mini NubianNigerian Dwarf Buck × Nubian Doe23-29100-135Dairy
Mini GuernseySelectively bred standard Golden Guernsey24-2660-80Dairy
Miniature BoerBoer × Kalahari × Savannah × Australian Red × Australian Miniature × Pygmy24-2880-90Show
Mini LaManchaNigerian Dwarf × LaMancha27-2990-120Dairy
Mini AlpineNigerian Dwarf Buck × Standard Alpine28-2960-80Dairy (used in cheese and yogurt)
Mini SaanenSaanen × Other Breeds29-31125-150Dairy 

Does Being Small Affect Their Utility

It is worth noting that small goats are generally less productive than regular and bigger breeds for milk, fiber, etc. This remains true even when it comes to miniature versions of larger goats. So, a mini Oberhasli or a mini Saanen would have a lower dairy yield than their standard counterparts.

Still, they might make up for it by producing sweeter milk due to a higher butterfat content. For instance, Nigerian Dwarf produces milk with a butterfat content of 6-10% as opposed to 3.5% in average goat milk.

Raising Miniature Goats

There are several things to keep in mind when rearing miniature goats.
Long Lifespans — Being small does not affect their life expectancy. So, like larger breeds, these goats can live for over a decade on average. So, keeping them as pets is a long commitment.
Space — Though small, they still need about 15-20 square feet to frolic about in. This will reduce any tendency the goats might have to escape.
Diet — While there are widespread beliefs about goats being able to eat anything, they will have issues if they ingest plants that contain toxins. It is essential to ensure they are well-fed so that they aren’t tempted to eat any plant they lay their eyes on.

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