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Pre Test


  1. In order to be a judge you must
  1. Be a member in good standing
  2. Be at least 21 years of age
  3. Be an AFGO committee member
  4. Be certified with another registry


  1. Code of Ethics
  1. First and foremost the Judge should become familiar with the Fainting Goat Breed.
  2. Judges should not judge goats that they currently own
  3. Judges should not judge goats that they have sold within the last 90 days
  4. All of the above


  1. AFGO’s goal is to:
  1. Improve the breed
  2. Maintain the breed as a historically correct breed
  3. Offering bigger better meat goats
  4. None of the above


  1. The purpose of the breed standard is to give a clear picture of what is considered ideal, what is acceptable, and those things that are not acceptable.
  1. True
  2. False


  1. One of the most important and key components of the Fainting Goat breed is
  1. Their head
  2. Their size


  1. Their Muscling
  2. Their legs


  1. The ideal facial profile will be
  1. Dished
  2. Straight
  3. Roman
  4. All the above are acceptable


  1. The ideal ear should be rigid and open and held with the level of the eyes or slightly above and may also have a noted ripple
  1. True
  2. False


  1. The front assembly includes
  2. The neck and chest
  3. The neck, chest and front legs
  4. The chest and front legs
  5. The neck, chest, front legs, and the barrel


  1. A steep rump makes the leg too straight in the stifle with little or no angulation at the hock describes a goat with
  1. Sickle hocked
  2. Weak pasterns
  3. Post legged
  4. ideal legs


  1. What colors are acceptable in the Fainting Goat breed
  1. All colors
  2. Black & white
  3. All colors except moon spots
  4. Black & white and Tri color


  1. A Hippie goat is a goat with
  1. an extreme coat
  2. skirting
  3. A longer hair coat
  4. All the above


  1. A miniature buck must be
  1. 22” and under
  2. 23” and under
  3. 23.75” and under
  4. 25” and under


  1. A miniature doe must be
  1. 22” and under
  2. 21” and under
  3. 23” and under
  4. 22.5” and under


  1. When you measure your goat you should
  1. Be on flat ground
  2. Have the head level and not too high or too low
  3. Place the measuring stick just behind the front leg
  4. All of the above


  1. Your oral reasons should introduce the class, place each pair with 2 reasons selected from each of 2 different areas of the scorecard, then proceed to the next pair.
  1. True
  2. False


  1. Correct terminology is important in judging. Which terms are not acceptable when judging the Fainting Goats
  1. Pendulous
  2. Cannon
  3. Myotonic
  4. Blended


  1. Suggested terminology for reasons include
  1. Broader in the muzzle
  2. Greater spring of rib
  3. Stronger in the topline
  4. All of the above


  1. What is the Escutcheion?
  1. Arch between the hind legs, below the tail and vulva in does, and above the scrotum in bucks.
  2. The section of flesh on each side of the body between the last rib and the rear leg
  3. Pertaining to the groin
  4. Extremely thin



  1. A doe or a buck will be disqualified with an extra teat or teat scur
  1. True
  2. False


  1. A goat with a horn scur will be disqualified
  1. True
  2. False


  1. Wattles are acceptable
  1. True
  2. False


  1. AFGO give 30 Points on the head
  1. True
  2. False


  1. The Hippie goat is scored at 70% conformation and 30% on hair
  1. True
  2. False


  1. All goats should be productive
  1. True
  2. False


  1. What does” well sprung ribs” mean?
  1. Ribs are tight with little or no spacing between them
  2. The Abdomen area has lots of room
  3. The Ribs are not tight, have lots of spacing, and are without excess fleshing
  4. This doesn’t apply in the Fainting Goat breed, only the Dairy breed


  1. The head should be
  1. Short to Medium
  2. Broad
  3. Have ears that ideally have a ripple
  4. All of the above


  1. Judges should not visit with the exhibitors prior to the show.
  1. True
  2. False


  1. Judges are allowed to judge their own goats as long as someone else is showing them?
  1. True
  2. False


  1. Judges should always be professional and remember that they represent AFGO?
  1. True
  2. False


  1. The goats eyes should be
  1. Ideally buggy
  2. set widely apart
  3. Can be any color
  4. All the above


  1. Moon Spots are not allowed
  1. True
  2. False


  1. Which does Have to be freshened to show?
  1. All Does
  2. Only Mini doe
  3. Hippie Does over 3 years of age
  4. Standard Does over 3 years of age


  1. Wethers are judged differently than Does and Bucks. Wethers are
  1. Not judged on the mammary system
  2. Should be easy to handle
  3. Judged on their breed type
  4. All of the above


  1. Anterior
  1. Behind
  2. In front of
  3. Middle
  4. Jointed
  5. The Barrel is the total length, width, and depth of the body cavity
  6. True
  7. False


35.A freshened doe is a doe

  1. That’s under 1 year of age
  2. That’s under 2 year of age
  3. That has Kidded
  4. That has never kidded


  1. Tracking is
  1. The ability to find food
  2. The placement of each hind foot behind corresponding front foot as the goat moves forward
  3. noted as the goat stiffens
  4. Can’t be judges with a fainting goat


  1. Medial means midline or center
  1. True
  2. False


  1. Pendulous ears
  1. Hang down
  2. Are too erect
  3. The ideal ear
  4. Too forward
  5. An overshot jaw


  1. where the upper jaw is projecting beyond the lower jaw
  2. Where the lower jaw is projecting beyond the upper jaw
  3. Will not affect the goat
  4. Will be out grown with age


38.The stifle is the rear leg joint near the lower line of the flank.

  1. True
  2. False


  1. The thurl is palpable, bony protuberance located on the anterior end of the femur.
  1. True
  2. False


  1. The handler is
  1. The person that owns the goat
  2. The person that is showing the goat
  3. The person that is buying the goat
  4. None of the above


  1. Genetic traits are
  1. Produced by bad breeding
  2. Created by the environment
  3. Produced by heredity
  4. Are passed on to the offspring 100% of the time.




  1. A Fainting Goat ____
  2. A Standard _____
  3. A fault_____
  4. A breeder_____
  5. A Hippie goat_____
  6. A Mini goat____
  7. Cow-Hooked____
  8. Poll___
  9. Asymmetrical___
  10. Blending____


  1. Flowing of one portion of the body into the next
  2. A breed
  3. An undesired trait
  4. The top of the head
  5. A guide to what the goat should like or not look like
  6. The owner of the Doe at the time of conception
  7. A goat in a smaller package with all the same characteristics
  8. Not the same on both sides
  9. The hide legs are bowed in toward each other at the hocks
  10. A goat with some type of longer hair


  1. The best goats to have are
  1. Fainting Goats
  2. Boer Goats
  3. Myotonic Goats
  4. All goats are great













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Mineral Feeders

Here are a few examples of some mineral feeders. They can also be used for baking soda.


mineral feed

These are made from liquid laundry soap jugs


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Diarrhea can range from a dog-like stool to watery and explosive. Most breeders will have occasion to deal with diarrhea from a number of causes.

Goats probably have pellets, instead of cow pats, due to muscular contractions as ingesta moves through the large intestine. Through regurgitation and cud chewing, goats have a very fine particle size of ingesta, and this may also be a factor. Moisture is absorbed through the intestinal walls as ingesta travels through it. Normal goat pellets are between 0.5 to 1.5 cm in diameter. I consider anything other than hard goat pellets to be diarrhea, with the exception of neonates.

A healthy digestive tract is very important. Fecal consistency is an easily observable indication of digestive tract health and some problems elsewhere.

Adults: Pasty, watery or dog-like feces are abnormal and may indicate: parasitism, Johne’s disease, overeating, displaced abomasum, enterotoxemia, or a diet that contains too much concentrate and not enough roughage. Blood in the stool is uncommon but can occur in enterotoxemia and coccidiosis. Whole grain is not usually seen in the feces unless the goat is on a very high concentrate level. Feces containing mucus indicate constipation or a prolonged time in the large intestine due to disease condition elsewhere in the body.

Older goats usually get diarrhea from overeating a high carbohydrate source, like grain. They have rumen acidosis and a bacterial imbalance in the gut. Give 2 to 3 ounces of Milk of Magnesia, take away all grain and feed palatable hay. If the goat is off feed and running a temperature, penicillin can be given. Such cases should turn around in 12 hours. A goat that is down and depressed should be seen by your veterinarian.

Kids: Coccidia is an uncommon cause of diarrhea in kids less than one week old; umbilical and bacterial gut infections are more usual. Bacteria can enter the umbilicus at birth to multiply and cause problems in the liver. Long-term, aggressive antibiotic therapy is necessary to correct the problem.

Escherichia coli is the usual culprit in intestinal bacterial infections in kids. This organism enters the body by mouth. Antibiotics are needed. Overeating also causes kids to scour.

Diarrhea in kids over two weeks old is usually due to either coccidia or overeating. The young kid is treated as a simple-stomached animal, as its rumen is not highly developed. It is important to find and treat the cause as soon as possible. Monitor kids closely.

Oral sulfa (Albon®) can be used for coccidiosis and bacterial bowel infections. This is a good product to start with, especially if the cause of the diarrhea is unknown. Re-evaluate the kid often, and get professional help early if it is not responding.

While microscopic examination of the feces is important to diagnose and monitor intestinal parasitism, daily gross examination of feces can be a valuable aid in determining the general health of the goat.

Excerpts from:
Kinne, Maxine, ed. Pygmy Goats: Best of Memo 3 (1988-1996)
National Pygmy Goat Association: pp 107

This document is for informational purposes only and is in no way intended to be a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified veterinary professional. The information provided through this document is not meant to be used in the diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or disease, nor should it be construed as such.

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Listeriosis (Circling Disease) published by ACES





Listeriosis is a life-threatening disease caused by the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. L. monocytogenes are gram-positive, extremely antibiotic-resistant coccoid to bacillus-shaped bacteria found in the environment. Spoiled forages and feed contaminated by L. monocytogenes are sources of contamination for goats. Listeriosis can infect animals and humans alike. The disease occurs worldwide and is widely distributed among avian species. L. monocytogenes is commonly found in the feces of infected birds, wild mammals, fish, crustaceans, insects, and in sewage. L. monocytogenes can contaminate water, milk, cheese, fetal feces (meconium), adult feces, and soil. L. monocytogenes can withstand various temperatures ranging from 39 to 111° F (4 to 44° C). Listeriosis is most prevalent during spring and winter months, which suggests that the prevalence of L. monocytogenes on ruminant farms is seasonal. Thus, management practices can be applied to minimize the risk of infection.


Listeriosis in goats is transmitted via the oral-fecal route, usually when animals ingest contaminated water or feed, or by fecal shedding of L. monocytogenes. Infection can also occur by inhalation. Infected animals could die if improperly treated.


Clinical Signs


Listeriosis can be presented in two forms:


Encephalitic form: Characterized by encephalitis or meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain). This form contributes to the highest mortality rate. The bacterium enters the body through an opening in the mucosa of the oral cavity and migrates to the brain where it multiplies and causes inflammation. Early clinical signs are depression, decreased appetite, decreased milk production, and fever. Signs progress to neuromuscular incoordination where animals circle in the same direction. Other progressive signs include seizures, facial nerve paralysis (on one side), ear droop, salivation, lack jaw, impaired swelling, and death.



The encephalitic form of listeriosis seems to be the most prevalent in small ruminants. Differential diagnosis must be accurate in order to exclude this disease from other neuromuscular system disorders such as those that result from polioencephalomalacia, rabies, caprine arthritis, encephalitis, pregnancy toxemia, and poisoning. Researchers have suggested that listeriosis can be disseminated in goats as a venereal route of transmission.


Septicemic form: The bacteria enter through the mouth and reach the bloodstream where they multiply and spread to other organs. In this form of the disease, diarrhea, abortion, and death are frequent. This form seems to be most prevalent in monogastric (humans, swine) species of all ages.




Diagnosis is based upon clinical signs. A serological diagnosis using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) may also be used to confirm the presence of the bacteria. Confirmation of the clinical diagnosis can be done postmortem by a bacteriological culture, gram-staining, and immunohistochemistry in brain tissues extracted at necropsy. A DNA restriction analysis can be used for the confirmation of a Listeria monocytogenes infection.


Treatment, Prevention, and Control


  • Successful treatment is dependent upon prompt diagnosis. The survival of an animal depends on whether diagnosis is made at an early stage and correct treatment applied.
  • Administer penicillin and tetracycline orally at 25 mg/kg for 1 week or 11.5 mg/lb per day for 3 consecutive days. In the encephalic forms, intravenous sodium penicillin at a dosage of 40,000 IU/kg or 18,000 IU mg/lb every 6 hours until signs are improved, followed by administration of procaine penicillin at a dosage of 20,000 IU/kg body weight twice a day for 3 days.
  • Administer intravenously 1-2 mg/kg or 0.05 mg/lb mg/kg or dexamethasone is recommended to treat inflammation in the brain. Intravenous fluid and electrolyte therapy and supplemental feeding are also recommended.
  • Discard spoiled feed and hay.
  • Improve sanitation of pens, water supply, pasture, and housing.
  • Keep wild birds away from the herd as much as possible as these birds may serve as vectors for the disease.
  • Identify the source of infection in order to help eliminate the causative agent.
  • In the case of abortion, isolate aborting does and send aborted fetuses and placentas to a diagnosis center for isolation of the causative agent. (Wear latex gloves when handling placental membranes.)
  • If a doe has listeriosis, feed kids pasteurized colostrums, milk, or a milk substitute.
  • Human listeriosis is associated with the consumption of contaminated meat products, as well as milk and cheese obtained from nonpasteurized milk. Humans can also contract listeriosis by handling fetuses and specimens from aborted animals, and newborns of infected does. Always wear gloves when handling fetuses and specimens from aborted does.




With the exception of ceftiofur, and neomyscin, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the antibiotics discussed for treating goats. Their use is considered extra-labeled, requiring consultation with a veterinarian for product usage and guidance.




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All goats should be productive. So what does this mean? It means that they should serve some type of purpose. There are many different purposes that allow goats of all breeds to serve us. One major purpose is by being a pet. Fainting goats make great pets. They have super personalities and can be very funny. They are a very easy going breed and most of them thrive on attention. Goats in general can be used for milk production, meat, and fiber as well. Goats make good agility choices for competition and will also exceed as a therapy goat too! Then there is the show ring. Many breeders enjoy showing their goats. You can meet some really nice people at the shows and it is a great place to show off your herd.

I guess the biggest reason people get into goats is to breed them. We will focus on the breeding aspect of the goat in this article. Conformation and breeding go hand and hand and you will learn why as you read this article. Conformation and breed characteristics are also very important. Breed characteristics are how you know you have a Fainting goat and not a Boer goat. Kind of like a Labrador and a poodle. They each have a very different set of characteristics to tell them apart.

Let us look at the definition of conformation. Conformation is the shape and structure of the animal. Allen Jackson states, “Unlike many animals, almost all conformation is directly related to production, ease of kidding and dairy Character”. This is a very important statement. A goat with poor conformation may have problems kidding or nursing her young. This is true about all breeds. Even meat goats require a nice udder to feed her kids.

If we begin by looking at the goats head we should be first and foremost be able to tell that this is a Fainting Goat. It will match the breed standard. The head also plays an important part in overall productivity. The mouth must be able to take in and chew food for the goat. If the goat has a parrot mouth ( overshot where the top is longer than the bottom)  or a undershot mouth the goat will have a harder time  being  able to properly nurse, get enough nutrition, eat from the creep feeder, or even  graze. These things will hurt the goats productivity. It is also believed that these jaw defects are inherited.

Legs and Feet are another very important area to look at. Legs and feet are very important.  Without a good  legs and feet your goat will not be able to carry their weight around as easily as they should be. It will also be harder for them to move around to find their food. Remember that the legs must be able to last the goats lifetime.

The pelvis is so very important in the productivity of the goat because it also determines the width of the rear legs. Overall this could lead to kidding difficulties for the doe. The shape and slope of the pelvis may create problems with the rear legs. A small or poorly shaped pelvis often extra wear and tear on the thurl joints and repetitive strain to the rear legs and feet. A pelvis that is too short will lead to kidding complications. The pelvic structure is a key component of your goats ability to be successful in breeding and kidding.

Breeding ease is yet another thing to look at because if the angle is wrong it will be harder for the buck to breed the doe.  A steep rump will cause a steeply angled vaginal vault thus compromising breeding.

We also need to look for a nice big body Capacity. This is another strong asset for the goat to have. Here is where the internal organs are housed and where the food is digested. It is also where the babies will grow! They need enough room to develop properly. Here you want some length, width, and depth.

The mammary systems is important even with meat goats. They need to be able to feed the babies. It is important that the teats placement, size, and shape are such that the kids will be able to easily nurse. The udder attachment is also important because it could help prevent an injury.

The biggest Characteristic of the Fainting Goat that may effect productivity is their size. They are a smaller breed normally around 17-25″ and weighing only    . This is an important fact. A Fainting goat that is breed to a larger meat type of goats will end up with kidding complications.

Maxine Kinne makes this statement. Correct structure is species specific. Whether they are goats, cows, sheep or Loch Ness Monsters, evolution selected for function. When humans interfere with the selection process, they often face unintended consequences. On the farm, we breed for the type we think we like or that the judges want to see in the show ring. Nature isn’t nearly as picky: if a trait doesn’t work well in nature, the trait disappears immediately.



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june 30 show 2012

Show Report for June 30, 2012 judged by Scott Horner



B=Best of Show

Pts=pts earned in show

Total pts are the points earned from ALL show towards the championship!

Small-Standard Jr. Does 0-6 months

1st/PFA Bonnie=4 pts (total 5 pts)

2nd/PFA Connie=2 pts (total 6 pts)

3rd/WWR Fancy=1 pt (total 16 Pts)

Small-Standard Jr. Does 6-12 months

No Entries

Small-Standard Jr. Does 1-2 years

1st/G/BOS/Brassring Diva=15 (total 19 pts)

2nd/R/7F Ranch Snowball=5 (total 5 pts)

3rd/LSA Star=3 (total 6 pts)

4th/WRR Hanna=2 (total 3)

5th/RNA Sunshine=1 (total 6 pts)

Small-Standard Sr. Does 2-3 years under 24”

1st/G/Brassring Fancy=9 pts (total 9 pts)

2nd/R/WRR Evie=3 (total 4 pts)

3rd/Bayshore’s Somersault=2 (total 6 pts)

4th/7F Ranch Sunkist=1 (total 4 pts)

Small-Standard Sr. Does 2-3 years over 24”

No Entries

Small-Standard Sr. Does under 24”

No Entries

Small-Standard Sr. Does over 24”

No Entries

Small-Standard Jr. Bucks 0-6 month

1st/G/BOS/PFA Aaron=8 pts (total 13)

2nd/PFA Gabriel=2 pts(total 2)

3rd/WRR Capone=1 pt (total 1 pt)

Small Standard Jr. Bucks 6-12 month

No Entries

Small-Standard Jr. Bucks 1-2 years

1st/R/PFA Denim=3 pts (total  11pts)

2nd/Blessed Assurance Cheyenne=1 pt (total 1)

Small-Standard Sr. Bucks 2-3 years under 25

1st/R/7F Ranch Kota=4 pts (total 6 pts)

2nd/Bayshore’s Rock N Elvis=2 pts (total 17 pts)

3rd/WRR Yoyo=1 pt (total 4 pts)

Small-Standard Sr. Bucks 2-3 years over 25”

No Entries

Small-Standard Sr. Bucks over 3 years under 25”

1st/Fern Hill Mark=0.5 pts (total 0.5 pts)

Small-Standard Sr. Bucks over 3 years over 25”

1st/G/Bos/Bakken’s Farm Mighty Max=10.5 (total 16 pts)

Mini Jr. Does 0-6 month

No Entries

Mini Jr. Does 6-12 months

1st/G/RLF Malibu=5 pts (total 5 pts)

2nd/R/RLF Magdalene=4 pts (total 4 pts)

3rd/RLF Rebekah=3 pts (total 7 pts)

4th/RLF Cookie= 2 pts (total 3 pts)

Mini Jr. does 1-2 years

No Entries

Mini Sr. Does 2-3 years

1st/PFA Twillight=2 pts (total 4 pts)

2nd/PFA Bella=1 pt (total 4 pts)

Mini Sr. Does over 3 years

1st/G/Bos/LSA Sky=15 pts (total 20 pts)

2nd/R/ Titian Farms Black Betty=5 pts (total 5 pts.)

3rd/Harley Ranch Cranberry=3 pts (total 8 pts)

4th/ Brassring Mary Poppins=2 pts (total 4 pts)

5th/WRR Mighty Mouse=1 pt (total 1 pt)

Mini JR. Bucks 0-6 months

1st/PFA Musketeer=0.5 pts (total 2.5 pts)

Mini Jr. Bucks 6-12 months

1st/ RLF Nicky=0.5 pts (total 1.5 pts)

Mini Jr. Bucks 1-2 years

1st/R/PFA Snickerdoodle=3 pts (total 12 pts)

2nd/PFA Shakespear=1 pt (total 1 pt)

Mini Sr. Bucks 2-3 years

No Entries

Mini Sr. Bucks over 3 years

1st/G/BOS/Brasssring Dealer=12 pts (total 14 pts)

2nd/7F Ranch Tx Tumbler=1 pts (total 8 pts)

Note: For this show only the Grand and Reserve were chosen from All the mini bucks.





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DOB: 11/29/13
Judges Comments: 2 over 3 for deeper girth and stronger in rump
lucas front 2
lucas rear
lucas front
 Playful Acres Peanut Brittle
Judges Comments: Blends nicely
 peanut front
peanut firtual
 peanut side2
Judges Comments: 1 over 2 for wider chest and more muscle
cheetos rear
cheestos 2
Sr. Bucks Over 3 Years
DOB: 2/27/2009
Judges Comments; 1 over 2 for better rear angulation, and better bone
 tumbles front
tumbles rear
Fridays Fainters Friday
DOB: 12/19/12
Judges Comments: Nice muscle
fridays rear
GRAND CHAMPION SR BUCK: Texas Free Falling Farm Cheetoes
BEST IN SHOW BUCK: Texas Free Falling Farm Cheestoes
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July 2013 Virtual Show Hippie Goats

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Goat Color Explained by Dr. Phil Sponenburg

Goat Color Explained


©D.P. Sponenberg, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA  24061


The wide range of colors and patterns in goats is part of what makes them so fascinating. A goat’s color can be the “icing on the cake” of an otherwise good goat, and can be an important final touch to a goat’s appearance. Goats have great variation in color and the genetic control can be tricky, although moreso for some breeds than for others. The huge variation in goats color can sometimes lead to some confusion. Color genetics is an intricate and complicated subject, but if it is broken down in to pieces anyone who studies the details can understand the intricacies and use them to good advantage. This might take a couple of readings, but the result should be a better understanding of why your goats produce the colors they do.


Basic Principles of Genetics


A goat’s final color results from the interaction of several independent processes, which makes control of color complicated. Interaction of the independent processes results in a wide array of colors. A general rule is that each final color is produced by a single combination of interacting components, although a few colors are exceptions. The interactions can be understood if the basic factors are taken one at a time. The final colors can then be appreciated as various combinations of the factors working together.


Genes are responsible for the machinery of life. In goats, as in all mammals, genes occur on chromosomes. Chromosomes can be thought of as strings of genes. Chromosomes occur in pairs and an individual gets one (of the pair) from the sire and the other (of the pair) from the dam. When a goat reproduces it contributes a random half of its chromosomes (one of each pair) to its offspring. The other half of the offspring’s genetic makeup comes from the mate. Each gene takes up a specific site on a specific chromosome. This site is called a locus (plural loci), and frequently the genes are described by the locus name. Locus simply means an address for the gene:  a specific place it occupies. Each member of a pair of chromosomes has identical loci, which accounts for the genes occurring in pairs.


When a gene occurs in more than one form the different forms are called alleles. The alleles of a gene all occur at the same locus, although each chromosome is limited to having only one allele at each locus. Each goat has at most a total of two different alleles per locus, since it has only two of each chromosome. Goat color varies because individual goats differ from one another in the specific allelic combinations they have at the various loci controlling the components of color.


The specific genetic makeup of a goat is called its genotype. The external appearance is called the phenotype, and may or may not completely reveal the underlying genotype. The condition of having two identical alleles at a locus is called “homozygous”. When the alleles are different, the situation is called “heterozygous”.


Alleles at a genetic locus interact in a variety of ways. Some alleles are not expressed unless both doses of the gene in an individual are the same (homozygous). These are recessive alleles (or genes, the terms are often used interchangeably). Dominant alleles, in contrast, are expressed identically whether in one dose (heterozygous) or two doses (homozygous). The dominant allele masks the expression of a recessive allele when the two are paired together. Recessive alleles are expressed as surprises when they are paired up following the mating of two individuals that carry them but do not show them (due to their being masked by dominant alleles). Dominant alleles cannot be carried along in a hidden state like this, and if a dominant allele is present it is expressed. Dominant alleles, if present, show up in each generation.


Another interaction of genes is epistasis, which is the ability of specific allelic combinations at certain loci to mask the expression of another locus. It is similar to the relationships of dominant and recessive alleles, but concerns two or more loci instead of only one. The gene that is masked by an epistatic gene (or allelic combination) is referred to as being hypostatic, while the gene or combination causing the masking is called epistatic. Hypostatic genes can pop up as surprises, much as do recessive genes.


Genetic loci can be considered as separate little biochemical factories. Each locus controls some unique aspect of the final color. Each locus can be considered to be a switching mechanism. At most loci the choice is either “situation A” or “situation B”. The choice at each locus will affect the final color, which is built step by step from all the choices at the various loci controlling color.


General considerations of color in goats


Pigments in goats consist of two main types: eumelanin and pheomelanin. These two pigments can be present or absent in varying combinations. Some genes affect only one of the two; others affect both.


Eumelanin is responsible for black-bluegrey-chocolate brown colors. On most goats eumelanin is only one shade, unless it has become bleached by the sun or changed by some other environmental (and therefore nongenetic) factor. Therefore each goat, where it has eumelanin, is all black, or all chocolate brown, and not some combination of the two. Brown eumelanin varies from very dark to very light, but the goat is one basic color overall. Eumelanin on an individual animal is always one basic color, either black, bluegrey or brown.


Pheomelanin is responsible for tan, cream, and red colors. The pheomelanic tans are extremely variable, and unlike eumelanin they frequently vary on an individual goat. Some goats have dark tan as well as pale cream pheomelanic areas. This makes accurate identification of pheomelanin tricky at times. Pheomelanin can vary from very dark to very light. At the light extreme it is nearly white. At the dark extreme it can be confused with the browns of eumelanin. Generally pheomelanic colors have a reddish tinge. This is in contrast to eumelanin, which (when brown) is usually a flatter brown with little red in it.


The position of eumelanic and pheomelanic areas determines the basic color of goats, and the classification of goat color depends on the specific pattern of pigmented areas. Unfortunately, white spotting can obscure portions of goats, making it difficult (and at times impossible) to appreciate their pigmentation type and pattern. 


White regions on otherwise colored goats are not pigmented, and pigment cells are usually completely absent in white regions. This phenomenon is called “white spotting”. White spotting is superimposed over any base color, and masks it. White spotting can be thought of as painted on to a colored goat, and not the other way around. Goats can have many different patterns of white spotting, and each of these is totally independent in terms of genetic control. Even goats with very extensive white spotting do indeed have the genetic machinery, if hidden, for some base color. The hidden color genes of extensively white goats can be just as useful in a breeding program as the more obviously expressed color genes of darker goats.


The final color of the goat is due to the interaction of eumelanin (black/brown), pheomelanin (red brown/tan/cream/white), and white spotting (white). It takes practice to see every goat as some combination of these, but this approach is very helpful in figuring out what genes a goat is expressing.


The control mechanisms for final color suggest two pathways to a white goat. One of these uses the pale end of pheomelanin. Basically, first make the goat totally pheomelanic and then fade the pheomelanin to a very, very pale shade until the goat is essentially white. This is a dilution mechanism, and pigment cells are present in the white areas but are simply ineffective at producing pigment. Another general mechanism to produce a white goat is to use white spotting – in which the background color of the goat could be anything, but superimposed over this is white spotting which masks all the color with bright, pure white. White spotting can occur as multiple, independent patterns, each of which can result in a white goat. White can be a very confusing color, since just looking at a white goat does not tell much about the genetic mechanism producing the white.


A good basic approach to figuring out a goat’s color, and hopefully which genes are present, is to first ignore the white. If the goat is solid white, this is obviously impossible. The goal is to figure out what pattern of tan and black areas the goat has, if any. Next, figure out the basic intensity of the tan and black. Is the tan very dark red, tan, or cream? Is the black diluted to grey or brown? Finally, add the white back on and see if the white has any specific pattern that suggests one of the genes adding white.


Color Genetics


The genetic control of color in goats is complicated, but can be broken down into components that are fairly easily understood. Confusion usually comes from not realizing that final color is the result of the interaction of several different components. Each component resides at a separate locus, and at each locus various choices occur. The sum of the choices made at each locus produces the final color.


Agouti locus


Most of the variation in goat color occurs at the Agouti locus. This locus controls the distribution of eumelanic and pheomelanic areas. The intermediate alleles at this locus result in patterns with distinctive striping patterns on the face, and this characteristic is very helpful in establishing the Agouti locus as the cause of these patterns.


The pattern of dominance at the Agouti locus is that all pheomelanic (tan) areas are expressed. When a goat has alleles for two different patterns, each is demonstrated in the final color as the tan areas of both patterns. The patterns are superimposed, with all the tan areas being expressed. This can result in some very interesting combinations, and some wonderfully appealing patterns.


Two patterns at the Agouti locus cause difficulties. One of these is the recessive “no pattern” allele, which is completely eumelanic. This is usually black, and can be thought of as “recessive black”, when considering the Agouti locus. Such goats are completely eumelanic with no stripes, so this is not intuitively assigned to the Agouti locus. At the opposite extreme is an allele “white or tan” which causes wholly tan (or white) goats. Again, stripes are missing. The “white or tan” allele is dominant to all the others, for it codes for a uniformly pheomelanic color. Whether the goat is stark white, cream, gold, or dark red (or something in between) is determined by genes not at the Agouti locus, so these color types are equivalent when considering the Agouti locus.


While the Agouti locus alleles can produce both black and white goats, there are multiple genetic mechanisms can account for both solid white and solid black goats. The specific mechanism behind a black or white goat cannot be determined by just looking at the goat. The Agouti alleles are one of many mechanisms for these colors, and are the usual mechanism in goats. Most black goats are black because they have the correct Agouti locus allele (Pygmies and black Oberhaslis are good examples). A white goat is generally white because it has the “white or tan” Agouti locus allele (Saanens and Cashmere goats are good examples).


The Agouti patterns are listed in the next table and are somewhat in order of dominance or tan-ness. Each is described as if eumelanin is black, and pheomelanin is an obvious tan.


pattern symbol description
white or tan AWt wholly tan, red, or white, sometimes with darker shoulder, face.
sable Asb pale legs, belly, face stripes with tan body that may have considerable eumelanic sootiness. Can be white.
black mask Abm tan with black on head, brisket, and down spine. pale stripes on head. may overlap with white or tan. Can be white.
caramel Acr tan with minor black on head and lower legs, sometimes with a black belly, and usually lacking a complete dorsal stripe typical of the blackbelly pattern.
bezoar A+ wild color: tan body, dark head with stripes, pale belly, striped legs and back. black shoulder stripe. More dark (eumelanic) in males than in females.
blackbelly(badgerface) Ab tan with black belly, backstripe, lower legs, and face stripes. This is the Oberhasli pattern. Darker males than females.
tan sides Ats similar to blackbelly but with wider backstripe and nearly black head so that tan sides are all that remains of pheomelanin.
san clemente Asc black front half, tan rear half, pale stripes on dark head, pale legs and belly. Varies from dark enough to confuse with “black and tan” to pale enough to nearly be “black mask” or “sable.” The intermediate phases are very disinctive.
repartida Arp black front half (generally lacking light eyebars), tan rear half,legs black on backs and tan on fronts, black sides of thighs.
peacock(cou clair) Apk tan front half, black rear half, dark legs, tan head with black stripes, including a distinctive one below eye and one above eye.
striped grey(grey togg) Asg Mixture of black and white hairs over body, with the pale ears, eyebars, muzzle, and legs of the toggenburg pattern.
grey Ag fairly uniform mix of black and white hairs, with somewhat darker legs, head. Varies from near white to very dark.
grey agouti Aga fairly uniform mix of black and white hairs, with distinctly darker legs. Typical of Pygmy goats.
toggenburg(swiss markings) Asm black body, dark belly, pale legs, ears, facial stripes. The Toggenburg pattern, when eumelanin is brown.
eyebar Aeb black with tan belly, rear legs tan on back and black on fronts, front legs tan on back with tan all around leg above knee and black on fronts below this. Prominent wide tan stripes on face. Can have tan on rear thighs. resembles dark “san clemente.”
black and tan At black, with tan belly, rear legs tan on back and black on fronts, front legs tan on back with tan all around leg above knee and black on fronts below this., light inside ears, light face stripes which are thin or just above eye.
fishy Afsh black with front half of belly tan and rear half black. black udder or scrotum. medium wide bars on face, legs with continuous black stripes down fronts.
lateral stripes Als as “black and tan” but darker zone on belly, reversed leg stripes (black back portions).
mahogany Am fairly dark mix of black and tan hairs, dark legs, head, minor striping, usually with tan thighs.
red cheek Arc black with tan patches on cheeks, back of thighs, tops of ears.
no pattern Aa black.


Don’t let the names on these patterns make this more difficult than it is. Some of the names are very, very poor choices, but these are the names used by most geneticists when communicating with one another. Another tactic for naming patterns is to use breed names if patterns are especially common in certain breeds. That can be confusing, too, though, since many of these patterns occur in several breeds. For example, the blackbelly pattern is the usual pattern of the Oberhasli, and so that would be a good name for it. This pattern is very, very common in a number of breeds – just that it is the usual one in the Oberhasli. Swiss markings, likewise, is uniform in the Toggenburg but is present in many breeds.


The point of the digression is that the names of the patterns do not imply a breed of origin – they only imply that a specific pattern is usual in a breed, probably secondary to specific selection for that pattern.


Brown locus


Another major source of variation goats is the Brown locus. This locus acts to switch eumelanin from black to brown. This means that anywhere a goat could be black, it is now brown instead. Brown varies from dark chocolate brown, light brown, or a medium brown (confusingly called “red” by Pygmy owners, but lacking the real redness of the darker tans and much more like the liver color of dogs). The Brown locus does not affect tan colors, only black, and causes any black on the goat to be brown instead. The result, on Agouti patterns, is an interplay of tan and brown instead of tan and black areas. As an example, Toggenburg goats have the “toggenburg” pattern at the Agouti locus, with the “light brown” change at the Brown locus. The result is a distinctively patterned brown goat, still easily recognizable as having an Agouti pattern. Brown combinations of Agouti patterns are common in many goats. In some breeds both a dark and light brown are present, and some also have a medium brown were also present. The brown combining with tan is especially pretty on some Agouti patterns.


The dark browns can be confusing, as these are born nearly black. They are so dark at birth that they can easily be misidentified as black instead of dark brown, but become more obvious at a few weeks of age.


The alleles at the Brown locus likely include:


allele symbol description
dark brown BD dominant, a dark chocolate brown eumelanin
light brown Bl dominant, a light milk chocolate eumelanin, usually in Toggenburgs
wild type B+ black eumelanin
medium brown Bb recessive liver brown, somewhat reddish.


Other color loci


Other loci that affect color directly are poorly documented in goats. Most species have a number of loci that act to reduce the intensity of tan areas caused by pheomelanin. These modifiers cause tan areas to be pale, and can cause the tan regions of the Agouti patterns to be yellow or cream instead of tan. Some of these modifiers are likely to be important in the production of patterns such as the Toggenburg goat, on which the pheomelanic areas are so pale as to appear to be white. These are also important in white goats based on the white or tan allele. In general (with some exceptions) the paler tans tend to dominate the darker tans and reds. In some families the switches between “dark tan” “medium tan” and “light tan or white” seem to be very simple, and may be at a single locus.


Pheomelanin can also be intensified to a deep reddish tan, or even a dark red. The shade of pheomelanin can drastically affect the overall appearance of the Agouti patterns. When pheomelanin is very dark and eumelanin is changed to brown it can be very, very difficult to appreciate that Agouti patterns are present, simply because the “tan” and “brown” areas end up being so similar in color. This is the “trick” used to produce many of the reddest breeds, for example the Rove goat of France and the Boer goat of South Africa. In those breeds the tan is taken to dark red, and the black is taken to chocolate brown. In these breeds the red is based on relatively dominant mechanisms, and so other patterns and even black goats will occasionally segregate out as recessives. This is not really all that surprising once the basics of color genetics are understood.


Moon Spots


Moon spots are those interesting tan or pale round spots that can be superimposed over any other color or pattern. They are very, very common in Nubians and in some Spanish goats. The extent of the moonspotting and the final color of these is variable. They are random, as opposed to the strict symmetrical appearance of the Agouti patterns. Most of them are distinctly round – inspiring the name. Most moonspots are fairly dark in newborns, and then become distinctly paler later. This is so pronounced that they could be missed on some kids, even though they might be very obvious later.


White and Black of Angoras


Angora goats have a few genetic variants that are rare or nonexistent in other breeds. This provides for some potential confusion when selecting Angora goats for colored fleeces. In the usual Angora, white is dominant but is not at the Agouti locus. The result is that the white of Angoras is very, very persistent in crossbreds. And, it seems to be truly white (probably from a white spotting mechanism) rather than the diluted tan that is typical of most other breeds. This is due to an allele called white angora at the White angora locus (WhWh). So, all colored goats lack this allele, and the only difficulty is encountered in whites, especially Angoras, as if this is present it masks all other color information.


Colored Angoras are rare, and most of these are either a faded red, due to the white or tan allele at Agouti, or are black. The black of most Angoras is not at the Agouti locus, and is instead a dominant allele at the Extension locus (ED). The importance of this is that this black is dominant rather than recessive, and can cover up all of the Agouti patterns. Where confusion can come in is that in some populations (usually Angoras) both the dominant Extension black and the recessive Agouit black are present. In those populations the black goats can be very confusing, although the intermediate Agouti patterns still follow all the expected rules.


important alleles for Angora goats.


allele symbol description
white angora WtaD dominant white, regardless of other loci
wild type Wta+ allows color information at other loci to determine color
dominant black ED eumelanin throughout coat, regardless of Agouti alleles
wild type E+ allows expression of Agouti locus


White Spotting


Several different patterns of white spotting occur in goats, with each under separate genetic control. That is, each pattern is controlled by a separate locus. At each of these loci the choice is “patterned” or “not patterned” (which means unspotted, unless some other locus kicks in with a pattern).


White patterns in goats, each most likely at an independent locus:


pattern symbol description
belted   This varies from a nice ring around the barrel of the goat to a nearly white goat with colored tail and head. Also includes some with single side spots, as these are incomplete belts. Likely dominant.
spotted   This is poorly characterized, with random white spots that lack the consistent appearance of belts. White on head and legs is routine. Varies from a little to a lot. Genetic control uncertain.
barbari   This is a  pattern of white areas on face and sides, in which small dark spots remain. It is usually symmetrical. The minimal pattern involves the head only, maximally marked goats have dark legs and backs, and speckled sides, necks, and heads. Probably dominant.
flowery   This is a pattern of small white flecks throughout the coat. They are especially prominent on the sides and belly. Varies from a few flecks on belly to a very pale roan flecked goat. Probably dominant.
roan   Mixture of individual white hairs into the base color, usually mainly on the body and not on head and legs. Probably dominant.
algarve   Ragged white and colored spots on body, usually with dark ears and eyepatches. Otherwise similar to “goulet.” likely dominant
goulet   This pattern includes white ears, color over eyes, white lower face, and ragged white and colored spots over the body. Varies from very colored to very white, but the white ears are consistent. Probably dominant.
nigerian   This is usually dark legs, white body with roan (rather than completely dark) spots on the white areas. Probably dominant with homozygotes very pale and lacking body spots.
frosted FrD This is a pattern of roaning (white hairs) on the ears and muzzle, and is common on Pygmy and Nubian goats. It is present in  a number of breeds. It is dominant.


Each of these patterns can vary from minimally to extensively spotted, and this can be a source of confusion. The confusion is especially possible at the extremes of the patterns: those goats with very little white or very extensive white.


Belted goats vary from those with a small spot on the side (usually low on the side), to those with full belts, to goats that are nearly white with dark heads and dark legs.


The spotted type is more random than the belted, and is sometimes difficult to distinguish from belting. Spotted goats usually have white on the legs and head, and patches of white and color on the body. The typical spots of this pattern are smooth edged and round. Minimally spotted and minimally belted animals can be very similar, although usually “spotted” involves the head and feet.


The barbari pattern is an odd one, but does occur occasionally in the USA in several breeds. This pattern is obvious when extensive, since it provides for symmetrical white areas on the sides, neck, and head, all of which retain small flecks of color. The legs and topline seem to be the last to go white, and so extensively dalmatian goats have dark legs, tops, and speckled sides, necks, and heads. These have small spots from birth, in contrast to ticking discussed below.


Flowery is very distinctive consists of small white flecks. In minimally marked animals these are usually on the barrel. Extensively marked animals are nearly roan and very pale, though nearly always with dark legs and top of head. An entire breed of goat, the Florida Sevillana (flowery goats from Seville) is this pattern, which can be very eye-catching. It is present as a rarity in several breeds in the USA.


Roan is a relatively even mixture of white hairs into any base coat. The white and colored hairs can make up varying percentages, and so the overall effect on the color varies. Roan can modify any base color, and is most striking on darker background colors. The roaning usually spares the legs and head, which can lead to very dramatic patterns.


The algarve pattern is typical of a Portuguese breed of that name. These goats have dark ears and eyepatches, and then varying extents of variably-sized, ragged spots of white and color on the remaining body.


The goulet pattern first was documented in the Tennessee Fainting Goats of Judy Goulet. The pattern consistently has white ears, usually colored eyepatches, and usually a white lower face. The tail is white. The body pattern varies from nearly white to nearly black, but always consists of a somewhat ragged interplay of white and colored areas.


The nigerian pattern is common in Nigerian Dwarf goats in the USA. These generally have colored legs and color on the head. The body is nearly all white, but has fairly round roan spots scattered over it. In addition, it is common to have a few larger, round non-roan spots on the body and especially over the croup. Goats with one dose of the gene are usually dramatically and beautifully marked. With two doses they tend to have white bodies without the roan spots.


Frosted is common in Nubians, Pygmies, and a host of other breeds. This only affects the ears and nose, and results in these being roan or almost white. It is clearly a dominant trait, and is so routine in Pygmies and Nubians that It is reasonably rare to find a nonfrosted goat in those breeds.


Finally, some goats with white spotting develop small spots of color in the white areas. This occurs with age, usually around a year or so. This spotting is called ticking, and varies from lots to a little. When “ticks” are numerous, they merge and the effect can nearly be roan. This pattern is a sort of reverse of the “flowery” pattern, and could be confused with the barbari pattern. The key is whether the spots were present at birth or not. On extensively spotted goats the tick marks can be relatively large (up to a few inches), and very round. Ticking is probably dominant.


What color is your goat?


The final color of a goat is the result of a combination of the effects of all these different loci, each with a few choices. By taking each locus in turn it is possible to decide what is present and what is absent. If the factors that are present are dominant, it is likely that the goat is masking some recessive genes as well, and could pass those along to offspring. If the goat only shows recessive factors, then it will breed true if mated to a similar goat, or will pick up the dominant genes from the mate and those will be expressed in the kids.


First, ignore the white spotting and save it for later. A good basic sequence of questions is:


Is the goat solid black or solid white? If black, then the choice is either dominant black or recessive black. In nearly all breeds except the Angora, the answer here will be recessive black. If the goat is  white, then I have a choice of extensive white spotting, Angora dominant white, or the Agouti white or tan. No one can tell these apart just by looking, so it is important to have more information about breed or parent colors.


The next question is whether or not an intermediate Agouti pattern is present. On most goats it is possible to tell which patterns are present – even if the animal is heterozygous for two different patterns. This is because the tan areas consistently show up. Generally the Agouti patterns have stripes, and so it is possible to lump these intermediate patterns as “striped goats,” and these hide very little genetic information.


Then the next question is whether the eumelanic areas black, dark brown, light brown, or medium brown. This pegs the Brown locus choices.


Are moon spots present? This is not always easy to tell, but is generally a clean “yes or no” aspect of color.


The above questions should sort through the color genes present in the goat. The only difficulty will be with black goats, white goats, extensively spotted goats, or dark red goats on whom it is difficult to decide if an intermediate Agouti pattern is hooked up with dark brown. An example is in my own herd, where a bezoar, a badgerface, and a “tan” buck, all three have dark brown eumelanin. Each buck appears dark red, but they each throw very different patterns as the Agouti and Brown variants segregate out in their kids.


After figuring out the basic color it is time to figure out the white spotting patterns that might be present. This can be difficult, especially if the goat is minimally or maximally spotted, or if multiple patterns are present. My own herd suggests that some of the combinations of belted and spotted can be very, very white! The “shwarzhal” pattern of a dark head and white body can be especially misleading, since it can hide multiple spotting patterns.


The overall summary for goat color and its genetic control is that goat color is complicated! It is made easier by taking the color one step at a time. And remember – dominant genes can hide surprises, while recessive genes cannot!

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