The Nigerian Dwarf Goat is a miniature dairy goat with origins in West African. Once considered rare by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, this breed has actually gained popularity due to their size, colorful marking, and dairy production capabilities.
They do not require as much space or feed as their larger dairy goat counterparts and their gentle and friendly personalities make them good companion pets.
A healthy Nigerian dairy doe can produce a surprising amount of sweet milk for her small size – up to two quarts per day or more. Nigerian goat milk is higher in butterfat (6-10%) and higher in protein than milk from most dairy goat breeds.
Nigerian Dwarf Coloring
Color is one of the factors that makes breeding Nigerian goats so popular. You can never be sure what color the babies will be until they are born and even then, their color may change. Their primary colors consist of black, chocolate, and gold with virtually every color combination imaginable being produced. Nigerian goats can be dalmatian-spotted, pinto-patterned, tri-colored or just classy shades of solid jet black, white, chocolate or gold. Buckskin patterns are also popular, described by contrasting facial stripes, a “cape” around the shoulders with a coordinating dorsal stripe and leg markings. Brown eyes are the most common; however, dwarfs with china blue eyes are becoming increasingly popular.
Nigerian Dwarf vs. African Pygmy Goats
Although they have similar origins, Nigerian Dwarfs and African Pygmies are separate and distinct breeds. Pygmies are bred to be “cobby” and heavy boned. Dwarfs are bred to have the length of body and more elegant structure that’s similar to their larger dairy goat counterparts. Pygmies are also primarily “agouti” patterned, with black, silver and caramel being the most common colors.