The Difference Between A Fainting Goat and A Myotonic Goat

Most people don’t even realize that there is a difference between the Myotonic goat and the Fainting goat.  Nobody has really taken the time to look at the way the Fainting goats have slowly over the years changed and has now have become two different breeds. The Myotonic goat has been created from the Fainting goat through selective breeding.

It seems like only yesterday that some of the Fainting goat breeders were concerned about the fact that the breed was mainly known as a novelty type of goat. They didn’t want just any goat that fainted to be called a Fainting goat. Breeders were aware that even a cross bred goat can faint. Fainting also occurs in other species as well. With this knowledge some of the breeders decided to promote the Fainting goat as more of a meat goat. They wanted to give the breed more of a purpose. It is a well-known fact that if any breed of animal has a purpose they will not only survive but they will prosper more.

Any type of goat can be utilized for either milk or meat. Some breeds are better suited at some things; for example, the Boer goats are well established as a meat goat and the Nubians are highly known for their milking abilities. The Fainting goat breeders saw a chance to promote their goats as a meat breed to give them more recognition as a breed. They did not want the novelty appeal that the breed has always been known for.

The answer seemed to be found around the mid 1900’s when the Fainting goats were brought to Texas and there they were selectively breeding them to become a bigger and meatier goat. In order to do this they had to have been mixed with other breeds. There is no other explanation for their loss of the buggy eyes, their dished profile or their increased size. Some say that better nutrition and the fact that they were left to survive on had a lot to do with the changes in their look.

Nutrition alone will not change the facial profile or remove the buggy eyes. Nutrition has nothing to do with the roman noses we are starting to see in the breed. The fact that they survived in the wild may have indeed had something to do with the change. They most likely were breeding to whatever breeds where in the area at the time. This would account for some of the different looks that we see today. Most of the differences, however; were created through selective breeding. Breeders pushed for the bigger goats and they pushed to promote the breed into something that it never was really meant to be.

First of all we must realize that being two different breeds is not a bad thing. Each breed serves their own purpose. Fainting goats preserve the historical aspect while the Myotonic goats provide a new avenue into the commercial arena.

Many facts have been blurred over the years while other facts have just been ignored. All the goats with the common condition of myotonia have been thrown into the same category and registered. Some breeders calling them Fainting goats while others call them Myotonic goats.

Nobody is willing to admit that they are two distinctly different breeds.  We need to look at the differences in order to understand why they are now two different breeds. The registries all have either a description or a standard in which to compare your goat to. Any goat registered with a registry should match the registry’s description or standard.

First let’s look at their individual traits. The Fainting goats are a smaller more historically correct goat. They have buggy eyes. They usually have a straight to a dished facial profile. They have medium length ears that hang out to the side and slightly forward. They come in all colors and patterns. Some even have wattles. Their Faint-Ability is still very strong and noticeable. It has not been breed out!

The Myotonic goats are larger, meatier goats. They are bigger in height and weight. Their ears are often longer and on occasions lay closer to the head.  They no longer have the buggy eyes and they will often have a more roman style nose. They pass these traits to their offspring.

The Fainting goats fit the breed standard commonly used today while the Myotonic goats don’t.  This is because all standards show them to be a small to medium size goat. All standards show them to have buggy eyes. All standards show them to have a straight or dished profile. All standards show them to have medium length and width ears that are held horizontally and forward.

While the Fainting goat and the Myotonic goat each  have their own look and reproduce their distinctive look .They have been  registered and called the same breed for so long that the line of where one  starts, and the other begins is badly blurred.

We need to ensure that new breeders have a clear understanding of the differences. We cannot continue to classify all goats that faint into the same category. Both of these breeds are much more than just the myotonia condition that they share.