FAINTING GOAT BREED STANDARD
AFGO’s goal is to preserve the Fainting Goat. We strive to maintain their appearance and all their traditional traits as much as possible. This is what we refer to as historically correct. The meaning of the word preserve is to maintain WITHOUT change. AFGO truly tries to preserve the Fainting Goat breed. Our goal isn’t about improving the breed. We like it the way God made it. Our goal isn’t about a bigger better meat goat. The original goats were small to medium in size with a slow maturation rate. This is what we wish to preserve. AFGO’s major goal focuses on the preservation of the Fainting Goat breed the way they originally were, or as close to that as possible. Our goal is to ensure that the Fainting goats are not lost. We have a breed standard that we follow to help ensure that the breed remains unchanged. Once again we are striving for the look and traits that matter the most. Much research has gone into our standard to make sure that only the historically correct Fainting goats are registered. You will see some variances because the breed started as a land-race breed. We have made our standard tight enough to keep a consistent and historical look to the breed, while at the same time, giving it enough flexibility to allow for the background of what began originally as a land-race breed. We will continue to call them Fainting Goats and believe that the historically correct Fainting Goats are a breed apart from any other breed. We must realize that the breed became popular because of their ability to faint. That’s why we use the term “faint-ability”. Their name as we see it is also part of their history. Again we are not here to change anything about the breed. We are here only to preserve it!
The Fainting Goat is a very unique goat. It has several distinguishing features that we will look at. These features (traits) are the major characteristics that make the Fainting Goat what it is. These Features will help set the breed apart and define the true, pure and historically bred goat. These same features will also reveal if the goat is not of pure quality.
The purpose of the breed standard is so that everyone has a clear picture of what is considered ideal, what is acceptable, and those things that are not acceptable. Very few goats will be ideal in all areas. Most goats will be a mixture of ideal and acceptable. Any unacceptable traits will not be registered. A standard describes what the goat should look like OR should not look like.
The following goat is a good example of what a Fainting Goat should look like. This picture is of an AFGO Miniature Permanent Champion Buck. He has the look and the traits of a historically correct goat. His head is dished and reveals his buggy eyes. His ears are nicely set too. His muzzle is rounded and wide. He demonstrates nice muscling and he is known to have a high level of faint-ability. His horns are flat and wide. He demonstrates nice bone. His legs are proportional to his body.
One major characteristic of the Fainting Goat is its’ ability to faint. At AFGO we call it “Faint-Ability”. Historically they have been called Tennessee fainting Goats, nervous goats, stiff legged, or even scare goats. The term Myotonic and Wooden Legged goats were not heard of prior to the mid 1900’s. Because our goal is to preserve the breed we still call them Fainting Goats. Remember the goal is to keep everything original. AFGO has Faint-Ability levels since all goats must faint in order to be registered, but AFGO also knows that each animal is an individual and has different levels of Faint-Ability.
- Readily falls. (Ideal)
- Stiffens easily but rarely falls. (Ideal)
- Occasionally stiffens (which is a sign of Faint-Ability) but never falls. (Acceptable)
Goats that never fall or stiffen are unacceptable and unable to be registered.
The following are good examples a few goats taken in a full “faint” while some other goats are demonstrating the “stiffened” or locked up pose.
THE HEAD: One of the most important and key components of the Fainting Goat breed is their head. The standard for the head is quite lengthy because it is so important.
Hopefully your goat will have all the desirable breed characteristics that make up a nice head. Ideally the head should be short to medium in length and should be broad. Ideally the Does head will be somewhat more feminine; while Bucks will have a more masculine look.
Ideally the eyes should be prominent and obvious with good width between them. Sometimes this is referred to as buggy eyes or pop-eyed. Sadly over time the breed has lost most of their buggy eye look. AFGO’s goal is to bring the look back. Goats without buggy eyes will be considered acceptable. Ideally the Eyes will be brown, blue, marbled or amber in color. All colors, however, are acceptable. The ideal eyes should be bright and alert.
The following Bucks all have buggy eyes that are prominent and obvious.
Ideally the facial profile will be concaved or dished. The Fainting Goat has what is known as a “stop” which gives them their dished facial profile. (The stop is the degree of angle change between the skull and the nasal bone near the eyes. It is the indention at the juncture of the skull and the foreface). The straight profile will be considered acceptable. Roman noses or facial profiles that are convex are unacceptable.
The following goats have nice dished heads. They all have noticeable “stops”. This is ideal.
The following goats all have straight profiles and are acceptable.
Ideally the muzzles should be round and broad with large open nostrils.
Ideally they should have well developed jaws. Ideally the bite should be even. A good bite is important for the goats to be able to forage and chew efficiently.
Ears are very important to the breed. The ears are tubular shaped. Ideally the ears should appear rigid and open and held even with the level of the eyes are slightly above eye level. Ideally the ears will have a ripple or wave about half way down the ear. Ideally they will be medium in width and length. Again over time the breed is losing their noted ripple. This is a trait that AFGO would like to see more of. Ears without a ripple or wave are considered acceptable. Acceptable ears will be ears that are moderately long but do not flop. A young kids ear my flop until the cartilages are strong enough to hold them up and outward. (This should be immediately after birth or at least by 1 year of age). Unacceptable ears will be ears that are long enough to flop over prior to going outward first or those that lie close to the face.
Look at the following goats’ ears. We will go left to right and top to bottom. Goat 1, 2, &3 all have nice open rigid ears. They are tubular shaped. They are set at eye level. They are medium in length and width. The 4 goat has ideal ears. Notice the ripple. The ears are open and rigid. The ears are held outward. They are of medium length and width.
Again let’s look at the top row. Both of these goats have tubular shaped ears. Both of them have open and rigid ears. Both goats have ears that are medium in width and length. The bottom row shows goats with ideal ears. They both have ripples. Both have correctly set ears at eye level. Both have ears of medium length and width.
NON-ACCEPTABLE EARS SHOWN BELOW
The following goats have ears that are unacceptable in the Fainting Goat breed. If you look from left to right and top to bottom you will see: (1) a goat with ears that are too short. (2)Next you will see a goat that has ears that do not go out BEFORE they drop. They are not open and rigid. They are too long. (3) The next goat has pendulous ears. The ears are too long and they are not tubular shaped. (4)The last goat has ears that lie too close to the head. They are too wide and not open and rigid. They display no signs of being tubular.
The following two goats have ears that are too erect. They are not acceptable in the Fainting Goat breed.
HORNS: The goat can have horns, be naturally polled, disbudded, and sometimes they will even have scurs. Ideally the bucks horns should be flat and can twist or curve outward or backward. Rounded horns are considered acceptable and more common on does. Horns that curve forward are considered acceptable. Any color horns are acceptable. Horns have many different looks because of their land-race background. The first goat is a buck and he has ideal flat horns that go backwards. The next goat is a doe. She has acceptable round horns that go backwards.
Wattles are considered acceptable. Wattles have been shown to date back as far as the breed can be traced. According to an article written by Dr. Phillip SponenbergD.V.M.,PhD. ; “wattles in some of the older herds indicates that they are not necessarily due to crossbreeding with dairy goats”.
The following Fainting goat has wattles under her jaw. These are sometimes referred to as goat jewelry.
Here are some close up examples of more wattles from KW Farms.
Beards are acceptable on Bucks, Does, and wethers.
Bangs and facial hair is acceptable on Bucks, Does, and wethers.
The following goat has both a beard and bangs.
Why is the Fainting Goat’s Head so important? The head is one of the most important key characteristics that define the breed other than their ability to faint. To demonstrate we have cropped out all the heads in the following goat pictures. Now can you tell which is which? Let’s do an experiment to see!
Let’s look at a few goats! Can you tell which ones are Fainting Goats and which ones are different?
Any guesses? It is harder than you would think! Two of them are Fainting Goats! Let’s look at them now with pictures that include their heads.
Let’s look at the goats from the top row to the bottom row moving from left to right.
This doe is a Pygmy. This girl is a great example of what a Pygmy doe should look like. She is show quality, however, not what a Fainting Goat should look like. She is shaped squarely like a block. Look at her head and you can tell she isn’t a Fainting Goat. Notice how compact and short her head is. She also has short, small ears.
This doe is a Kiko doe. She shows off nice muscling and big good bone. But one look at the head reveals she is not a Fainting Goat. This doe has a longer and wider ear. They are floppy.
This is a Fainting Goat. If you look closely you will see a distinct stop at eye level. This stop is why some say they have dished heads. Her head is of medium in size and width. Her ears are of medium length and width and are held outward. She has a nice broad muzzle.
This is another Fainting doe. Look at the width between her eyes. She has a nice rounded muzzle. Her ears our held outward and they are of medium length and width. They are rigid and open.
This is a Nigerian Dwarf doe. She has a refined head. Not a large jaw. Her muzzle is snippy and not broad. Her ears are very erect. Again the head tells a lot!
I hope you now have a better understanding about why the head is so important and why we must follow the breed standard to keep the breed historically correct!
THE FRONT ASSEMBLY INCLUDES THE NECK, THE FRONT LEGS, AND THE CHEST
NECK:The neck should be moderate in length attaching nicely into the withers and shoulders. Ideally the Does should have a refined feminine look while Bucks should reveal a more masculine feature. Ideally the neck will be held horizontally making the head appear to hang slightly low.
FRONT LEGS & CHEST:The legs should sit squarelyunder the body. Ideally the front legs should be straight and set wide apart. The legs should show good bone circumference.. Ideally the circumference should be big boned; however, a finder bone is found to be acceptable. The elbows should be close to the ribs. The forearm should show some muscling. The goat should move easily demonstrating both grace and power. The chest ideally should be moderately broad revealing a nice brisket. It should be full at the point of the elbows.Legs should be moderate in height keeping in proportion with their body since the breed is a not a large breed.
BACK & BARREL:Ideally the goat should be medium to long in length with a strong level top-line. They should be well-muscled and showing good depth.
RUMP:Ideally the rump should show a slight downward angle (neither level nor steep) when viewed from the side. Pin bones should be wide and slightly lower than the hips. Ideally the tail should be nicely set. The tail should be wide at the base and taper towards the tip. The tail should ideally be carried high and is acceptable to sometimes curve up and over the rump.
HIND LEGS:The hind legs will often demonstrate their degree of Faint-ability as they stiffen or lock up often in their hind legs. This will also cause their hind legs to be more muscular than other goats of their comparable size. When they are not stiffened, the goat should be able to move with grace and power. Ideally the hind legs should be straight when viewed from the rear. Ideally they should sit squarely under the body. They should be of moderate width at the hocks. Pasterns should be short and straight. Hind legs should show good bone circumference. Ideally the circumference should be big boned; however, a finer bone is found to be acceptable. The hind legs should appear strong. They should sit squarely under the goats’ body. Ideally when the hind legs are viewed from the side they should show a moderate degree of angularity. Legs should be moderate in height keeping in proportion with their body since the breed is a not a large breed.
The following goats demonstrate how the hind legs of the Fainting Goats often show off their muscling from all the contractions used to get stiff and faint.
FEET: They should be proportional to the goat, and should be strong and well-shaped. Their hooves should be symmetrical with good heel depth.
DOES VERSUS BUCKS:Does ideally will show off their feminine side while bucks tend to be more masculine. Ideally two functional teats of uniform size are desired. Udders should be nicely attached. Bucks should have two non-functional teats. Bucks should have two testicles of equal size, descended fully and showing firmness.
COLOR:All colors are acceptable. Most patterns are also acceptable. Frosting on the nose and ears are acceptable. Moon spots are also acceptable. Breeders are encouraged to learn the different colors and patterns found in the Fainting Goat breed. You may refer to our AFGO color chart in the educational section for more helpful information about colors and patterns. The breed has some variances since they started out as a landrace breed.
COAT: The coat should appear healthy. 3 different lengths are acceptable; Short, medium, or long. (Long haired goats are referred as Hippie Goats). Ideally the hair will be soft and fine. A rougher texture is also acceptable. Cashmere is quite common in the winter months. Wavy hair is acceptable. Curly hair (like in the Angora or Pygora breeds) is not acceptable.
The following goats are all considered short haired and acceptable.
The following goats are all considered Hippie goats and have a longer hair coat AND/OR skirting. They are all considered acceptable.
SIZE/GROWTH RATE: There is no minimum or maximum height set. Original herds ranged from 17”-25” and weighed between 60-175 pounds. AFGO believes that most goats today will still come very close to this original size. We do understand that over time the breed has slightly grown due to better management and nutrition. Ideally the bucks should be no taller than 28” and the does not taller than 26”. Remember they are a small to medium size goat! This is one thing that has separated the Fainting Goats from the Myotonic Goats. Historically Fainting goats are known to be slower growing than your other meat goats. This is not the best attribute for a good commercial goat. That is why the push is on to breed them to become a bigger goat that matures faster. This will and has changed and divided the breed. You must keep in mind goats either bigger or smaller than the original size may lack some of the important traits and characteristics that breeders are encourage to breed for. AFGO’s goal is to preserve the slow growing goat that is small to medium in size like the original goats were.
MINIATURE GOATS: AFGO offers a specialized miniature registry for our miniature goats. We refer to this as a registry within a registry. Here we offer a mini certificate for does remaining 22” and under at the age of 3 and for bucks remaining 23.75” and under at the age of 3. AFGO also grants a temporary mini certificate to the offspring of two certified miniature goats that are registered with AFGO. At the age of 3 years old this temporary certificate will become permanent if the goat is of the correct height. If at any time prior to the age of three a goat exceeds the maximum height it will no longer be considered a temporary mini. Any Miniature goats that are shown will be measured to verify they are a mini at the judges’ request. Remember that miniatures are just a smaller version of the bigger ones. The miniature fainting goats will be required to match the breed standard! They too must be historically correct.
The goat above is a permanent Champion Miniature Doe. She is a nice example of the mini goats. She has a stop that gives her a dished profile. She has ears that are nicely set and held outward and forward. She is known to have lots of “Faint-Ability”. She demonstrates good muscle and bone.
Productivity: Every goat no matter what the breed should be productive. There are many ways in which the Fainting Goat is productive. Fainting Goats are aseasonal breeders which mean that they can breed year round. They normally have twins but it is also very common for them to have triplets. Quads and singles are also acceptable. Many first time moms have singles. Moms are also usually able to kid without any outside assistance. Moms are also very capable at raising their own kids without any assistance. Conformation plays an important role with the goat’s productivity. Other ways this breed is productive is through milking, meat, companionship to other goats, used as a therapy goat, shown in goat shows, shown in agility shows, and of course for pets. AFGO offers goat shows for conformation, shows for agility and can also you guide you in the training of your goat for therapy. AFGO’s goal is to show breeders and prospective breeders just how versatile the breed can be.
Other Quality Traits: Fainting Goats are a very easy going breed that is great for all ages. They are an intelligent breed. This breed is known to be more parasitic resistant than other breeds. They are also known to be a quieter goat than other breeds. They are overall a hardy breed and able to forage efficiently with very little grain. They do well in all climates. Because of their smaller size they are easier to handle. They don’t jump and climb like other breeds so they are easier to contain. This is one of the things that made them so popular. Many small farms and self sufficient farms have turned to the Fainting Goat Breed because of their versatility, their small size, and the fact that they require less acreage than the bigger breeds.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afaid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you”