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Published on 5th December 2022 by staff

Nigerian Dwarf Goat

Nigerian Dwarf Goat

The Nigerian dwarf goat is an American dwarf breed deriving its lineage from the West African dwarf breeds. Though primarily bred for being exhibited in shows, and even as a companion pet all because of its small size, and gentle, affectionate nature, they later became useful dairy goats too. These goats have a striking similarity to another dwarf breed, the pygmy goat is size, and appearance. However, the pygmy goat appears stocky with short legs, as opposed to the lean and long-legged features of the Nigerian dwarf goat.  

Also Known AsNot recorded
Physical CharacteristicsSmall; well-proportioned body; with or without horns; straight nose; upright ears; and concave or straight facial profile
Temperament/PersonalityLovable, playful, gentle, and calm; known to coexist peacefully with other livestock like llamas, donkeys, cattle, and horses when it comes to sharing pastures
ColorBlack, gold, chocolate withy markings of white;
Coat Soft and fine, with short or medium-sized hair
WeightAbout 35 kg (75 lb)
HeightMale: 48–60 cm (19-23.5 in);
Female: 43-57 cm (17-22.5 in)
UsesMilk, and as a show and companion animal
DietHay and grass
Lactation Period305 days
Lifespan8-12 years
Climate ToleranceCan adjust to varied climatic conditions
Country of OriginUnited States of America
Standard and Qualification InformationNigerian Dwarf Goat Association, American Dairy Goat Association, American Goat Society, https://www.andda.org/

History and Development

From the 1930s -1960s, several small goats belonging to the West African dwarf breed was imported to the USA from Africa, the purpose being to display in zoos. The Nigeria dwarf goat derives its lineage from these breeds, varying in appearance though, not inheriting the stocky appearance of the latter. Through the breeding process, a miniature-sized goat was developed, perfect for showing and petting, due to its appearance and docile nature. Eventually, they were rendered suitable for small-scale milk production, bred for dairy purpose. A herd book developed in 1980, the numbers increasing rapidly to about 7000 of them registered by 2002. The America Diary Goat Association recognized this breed in 2005.

There was a fluctuation in their numbers, putting these goats in the ‘recovering’ category of the Livestock Conservancy’s watchlist. However, they were removed from the same in 2013.

Full Grown Nigerian Dwarf Goats
Male Nigerian Dwarf Goat

Milk Production

Though not an out-and-out milk goat, this breed yield about 2 quarts of milk each day, rich in butterfat (6-10%) and protein (3-5%).  They need to be milked daily, with the sweet-tasting milk good enough to be consumed on its own or prepared into butter, and cheese.

Meat Production

Though one can eat them for their meat, they do not excel as good meat goats because of their small size and lean stature.

Female Nigerian Dwarf Goats
Adult Nigerian Dwarf Goat

As Companions

Due to their calm, gentle temperament, and small size, these goats are primarily kept as pets. They are quite easy to handle, apt for all age groups from kids to elderly and even the disabled.

Images of Nigerian Dwarf Goats
Photos of Nigerian Dwarf Goats


The Nigerian dwarf goat is a hardy breed not having much problem during kidding. They have a gestation period form 145-153 days after which mostly twins are born. Triplets and quadruplets are also common, and sometimes even five kids could be born of a single pregnancy.

Baby Nigerian Dwarf Goats
Pictures of Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Interesting Facts

  • Nigora, a new breed of goat developed during the 1990s by crossing the Nigerian dwarf with Angora and other prominent mohair breeds.

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