Dwarf goats: description of decorative breed and rules of keeping

Dwarf goats: description of decorative breed and rules of keeping

Dwarf - an ancient African breed brought to Europe from the Cameroonian savannas by whalers. Today, miniature animals are common throughout the world, but are bred not so much for the sake of obtaining products, but as decorative pets. Dwarf goats are valued for their carelessness in care and nutrition, the ability to adapt to any climatic conditions, low susceptibility to typical diseases of small cattle.

Origin story

Since ancient times, the peasants of the central and western regions of Africa bred small goats for milk and meat.When the time came for geographical discoveries and colonization of the continents, sailors often took dwarf animals on ships as live provisions. The unpretentious and compact animals were easy to keep, and the sailors always had milk and meat.

African goats came to Europe on whaling, merchant and warships. But Europeans were interested not in the productive, but in the decorative qualities of animals. Cute goats appeared in German and Swedish zoos, and aristocrats began to keep them as pets. Miniature goats walking on the lawns of noble estates have become an everyday sight.

Description and breeds of pygmy goats

Initially, there was a breed bred by African peasants - the Cameroon Pygmies. On its basis, Nigerian goats were created in the United States as a result of breeding work. It is difficult to distinguish representatives of the breeds, they are outwardly similar, and there are also frequent cases of crossing Cameroonians and Nigerians among themselves.

Nigerian goats are slightly smaller than Cameroonian goats, their features are closer to those of classic European breeds.

The standards of both dwarf breeds are shown in the table.

small, flattened, looking back, lack of horns is not a breed defect round, square pupil, black or brown iris medium length, well-developed undercoat, wild colors commonshort, slightly hairy, spotted and banded colors common
External signs CameroonianNigerian
height at withers50-60 cm30-55cm
body length70cm 55 cm
weight30-35 kg 20-25 kg
daily milk supply1 l 2.5 l
milk fat content5.2% 6 %
production typemeat milky
headtriangular shape, with a powerful skullelongated, narrow, skull of a classical form
eyes rounded, with a square pupil, blue, brown or golden iris
udderround, voluminous, with cylindrical nipplesoval, downward elongated, with triangular nipples
genitals visible, dark browninconspicuous, gray

Dwarf goats are not capricious, they quickly adapt to both heat and frost. They are able to climb boulders and trees in search of food. But susceptible to dampness, they can catch a cold. The character of dwarf goats is playful, lively. But the animals are not pugnacious, friendly, obey the owner. They are intelligent enough to be trained.

They are neat and clean, do not tolerate when their home is dirty and unkempt. Dwarf goat milk has no specific smell.

Besides Nigerians and Cameroonians, there are rare pygmy Oberhazli - a hybrid breed obtained from crossing Nigerian and Swiss goats. A farmstead model has also been developed - a variety of the Cameroonian breed, whose representatives have small horns and twist inwards.

Pros and cons

Dignity of Cameroon Pygmies:

  • non-capriciousness in care;
  • resistance to typical cattle diseases;
  • high adaptability to environmental conditions;
  • calm and friendly character;
  • 2-4 cubs per litter;
  • susceptibility to training.

Cons of the Cameroon breed:

  • low milk yield due to meat orientation;
  • possibility of an allergic reaction;
  • animal susceptibility to dampness.

Both Nigerians and Cameroonians do not tolerate solitary content well. So that the little goat does not mope, you need to buy a few more individuals.

Pros of Nigerian Dwarf Goats:

  • non-capriciousness in care and maintenance;
  • disease resistance;
  • friendly and lively character;
  • high average daily milk yield;
  • high-fat milk;
  • 2-4 cubs per litter.

Cons of the Nigerian breed:

  • skeletal fragility and weak muscle mass;
  • sensitivity to microclimatic conditions.

Rules for choosing good individuals

To buy a good and he althy mini goat, you should pay attention to:

  1. The seller has documentary evidence of the animal's belonging to the breed.
  2. Height. Even in the strongest and tallest individuals of the dwarf breed, it does not exceed 70 cm at the withers.
  3. Weight. If a dwarf goat weighs more than the standard, then it is obese, fraught with poor he alth and low productivity.
  4. Smell and taste of milk. A specific smell and taste are signs of a half-breed origin of a goat.

Nuances of breeding and care

The barn should be insulated and spacious. The area of space per individual indoors should be 0.8-1.2 m2, and the corral should be about 5 m2. In the corral, snags and various elevations should be placed to make it interesting for the goats to walk.

The floor in the barn is lined with straw, the aisles are lined with a clay-gravel mixture. African goats are rocky, so shelves are attached to the walls on which the animals will sleep. Optimal microclimatic conditions in the barn:

  • temperature - 16-18 °C;
  • humidity - 60%;
  • duration of daylight - from 6 am to 9 pm.

In the winter months, when the daylight hours are insufficient, lighting fixtures are installed. On frosty days, pets are not allowed out of the barn into the yard.

What and how to feed

Dwarf goats eat 3 times less than standard breeds.

The diet should consist of:

  • hay;
  • grazing;
  • corn, oatmeal, barley;
  • dry foliage and twigs;
  • forage legumes;
  • vegetables;
  • concentrated feed.

You can't treat goats with bread. To replenish vitamins and mineral elements, pets are given s alt, algae for livestock, vitamin complexes.Water goats 2 times a day. The water is changed regularly. It should be slightly warm. It is poured into the drinker either after the animals eat juicy food, or before feeding with compound feed.


Adult pygmy goat should consume daily during the summer months:

  • 2-3 kg fresh grass in grazing;
  • 500 g of hay;
  • 200g concentrated food.

During the winter, when grazing is not possible, the diet of goats includes:

  • 500 g of hay;
  • 200g grain feed;
  • 150g vegetables;
  • 200 g feed;
  • one sprig of aspen with dry leaves.


The diet of pygmy kids is determined by their age. Newborn cubs up to a month are fed 4 times a day: at 6, 11, 16 and 20 hours.

A kid up to 3 months is fed as follows:

  • until the 10th day of life - mother's milk;
  • until the 20th - hay, oatmeal, 5g minerals as s alt;
  • until the 30th - bran, cake, crushed oatmeal, oatmeal, 10 g of minerals in the form of chalk;
  • up to 40 - hay, bran, concentrated food, chopped vegetables - all 50 g, 1.2 l of milk;
  • up to 50 - 75g concentrated feed, 100g bran hay, 600ml milk;
  • up to 60 - 150g hay, 130g compound feed, 70g chopped vegetables, 50g bran, 500ml milk;
  • up to 70th - 150 g of hay, 180 g of compound feed, 100 g of chopped vegetables, 50 g of bran, 200 ml of milk;
  • up to 80th - 200 g of hay, 250 g of feed, 100 g of vegetables, 50 g of bran;
  • until day 90 - 250 g of hay, the same amount of concentrated feed, 150 g of vegetables, 100 g of bran.

Then young goats are fed on an adult diet.

Subtleties of breeding

So far, there are few pygmy African goats in our country. There are nurseries, but they sell animals mainly for decorative purposes, so the number of livestock is small. There is a high probability of getting a pet born from inbreeding or mestizo.

Dwarf goat is allowed to be mated after it reaches 4 years of age. Although representatives of the breed mature by 5-6 months, knitting animals at such an early age is fraught with problems with their he alth and bearing sick offspring. Most often, dwarf goats give birth to two kids.The cub weighs about 350 g. Despite its tiny appearance, it is strong and developed;

Can I buy for an apartment?

Although dwarf African goats look cute, get along with other non-aggressive domestic animals, they can be trained, but it is undesirable to keep them in an apartment environment. A pet can be taught to use a litter box, but she will still often shit on the floor.

Representative of rock will briskly jump over furniture, climb on bedside tables and chests of drawers, which not every owner will like. And goats are ruminants, so the pet will probably tear curtains, tablecloths, and duvet covers with its teeth. The owners, who nevertheless risked having a dwarf goat in the apartment, should make soft shoes for her so that the hooves do not knock on the parquet. For a pet, you need to equip a corner with straw bedding.

This page in other languages: