Cashmere is a luxurious fabric used to make apparel and accessories. Its softness, warmth, and durability have made it a favorite of fashion designers around the world.
But where does this fabric come from? The answer lies in goats—specifically cashmere goats.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular breeds of Cashmere goats.
Cashmere Goat Breeds: But What Exactly is Cashmere?
Cashmere wool is made from the hair of goats found primarily in parts of Asia, including Mongolia, India, China, and Iran.
As temperatures drop during winter months in these regions, the goats grow a soft downy undercoat that helps insulate them against the cold.
This undercoat is collected each spring by combing out and then spun into fine yarns to create cashmere wool.
Cashmere wool has some unique properties that set it apart from other fabrics. It’s much softer than sheep’s wool and up to eight times warmer as well.
In addition to being incredibly strong and resilient, cashmere also breathes better than other fibers—which means it won’t overheat or cause irritation when worn for long periods of time.
Plus, its natural elasticity makes it less prone to stretching or sagging over time.
11 Best Cashmere Goat Breeds
Most cashmere wool comes from several types of goats, all of which produce a thick inner coat comprised mostly of down fibers that can be harvested for use in clothing production.
Here are some cashmere goats you should know about:
Australian Cashmere Goat
The Australian Cashmere Goat is a breed of goat bred specifically for its luxurious cashmere wool. Developed in Australia, these goats are renowned for the quality and softness of their fleece.
Their wool is usually harvested annually at a rate of 250 grams per goat, making them ideal for those looking to produce cashmere at a commercially viable level.
With proper care, the Australian Cashmere Goat can produce quite a bit of clean, high-quality cashmere for years on end.
Those who own this breed can expect to reap great rewards from the sale of this highly sought-after material.
Changthangi Cashmere Goat
The Changthangi Cashmere goat is a breed found in certain parts of China and its surrounding countries.
Although the white color is more common with this breed, they can also be found in black, grey, and brown hues.
What sets this breed apart from others is their long and twisting horns, a characteristic that sets them apart from their peers.
The Cashmere produced by these goats is the finest of its kind, but sadly still only constitutes 0.1% of all global Cashmere production.
Nevertheless, this does not detract from its remarkable quality and singular appearance.
Hexi Cashmere Goat
These goats are unique in that they live in high altitude desert and semidesert regions in China and have adapted to survive in their harsh environment.
Most Hexi goats are white, with the average doe producing about 184 grams of Cashmere wool each season.
That’s why it has such a valuable reputation: it takes almost three kilograms of raw wool to make just one single luxury sweater!
Inner Mongolia Cashmere Goat
Inner Mongolian Cashmere Goats are a breed of domesticated goats primarily bred for the production of cashmere.
These goats are native to the Gobi desert region of northeast China and nearby countries and have been used by the people living there for centuries because of their unique breed qualities.
Investment in this breed has surged over recent years, with their wool now regarded as one of the most sought-after fibers in luxury clothing for its unique characteristics such as softness and lightweight.
Licheng Daqing Goat
The Licheng Daqing Goat originates from China and is a dual-purpose domesticated species, meaning the breed is farmed both for meat production and its luxurious cashmere.
This breed of goat is usually found with brown fur, although the exact hue may vary from individual to individual.
On average, each Licheng Daqing Goat produces around 115 grams of cashmere per year, making it an ideal choice for those looking for high-yield fibers.
Liaoning Cashmere Goat
The Liaoning Cashmere Goat is a breed of goat that has been specifically bred to create luxurious, fine fiber known as cashmere.
This breed was born out of a breeding program that began in the 1960s and has been consistently developed to ensure high-quality cashmere production.
Nowadays, on average, each Liaoning Cashmere Goat can produce up to 326 grams of fiber per season with its soft and delicate wool that makes sumptuous garments.
This special breed of goats has also played an important role in the improvement of other breeds.
Tibetan Plateau Goat
The Tibetan Plateau Goat is a special breed of goat prized for its cashmere production. This breed lives mostly on the Tibetan Plateau but is seen in other areas of China and India, as well as Nepal.
The typical down production per doe averages 197 grams, and bucks generate an average of 261 grams. Their unique ability to produce high-quality cashmere wool makes them sought after in the luxury fashion industry.
Luliang Black Goat
The Luliang Black Goat hails from the Yunnan Province in China and is a dual-purpose goat, meaning it is not just kept for meat but also its fiber.
While this breed of goats does produce some fiber it is still relatively low when compared to other breeds that are made specifically for cashmere.
As far as color goes, the black of these goats isn’t necessarily pure black but more of a dark brown, grey, or even gold, depending on the season; however, this dark coloration still makes them stand out from many other breeds.
So if you’re looking for some color variety amongst your animals, then this is definitely worth considering.
The Quzhumuqin Goat, also known as the Wuzhumuqin, is a newer breed that was recognized in 1994.
Developed during the 1980s, this breed quickly spread with hundreds of herds existing by 1994.
Characterized by thick horns in the bucks and typically white coats, these goats are making a name for themselves for their quality production of cashmere.
As such, they are taking their place among some of the more popular breeds when it comes to goat husbandry intended on creating a cashmere harvest.
Zalaa Jinst White Goat
The Zalaa Jinst White Goat is the only entirely white goat breed that is recognized as a producer of cashmere.
Endemic to Mongolia, they are most commonly found in the southwest region of the Gobi Desert and are highly adapted to leading a usually nomadic lifestyle; migrating dependent on grass availability and weather conditions.
The males can produce up to 380 grams of the cashmere fiber, while females can produce up to 290 grams, offering a good balance between yield and sustainability.
Zhongwei Cashmere Goats
The Zhongwei Cashmere Goat is a unique breed, endemic to the deserts surrounding the town of Zhongwei in China.
Noted for their soft and exquisite fiber, these goats are bred both domestically and abroad. They produce an average of 216 grams (about half a pound) of cashmere each year–among the highest yields of all breeds.
How Much Does a Cashmere Goat Cost?
Investing in a cashmere goat can be surprisingly affordable for those looking for an alternative source of income, or just wanting to help the environment.
Depending on the breed and quality of the goat, a cashmere goat typically carries a price tag ranging from $75 to $350.
For prospective owners that are serious about making long-term investments in their goats, there are also more expensive breeds to look into which can cost several thousand dollars.
Ultimately, potential buyers should do their research and understand exactly which type of goat will work best with both their budget and needs.
Raising Cashmere Goats
If you’re looking for an interesting, rewarding, and sustainable livestock option to raise on your farm, cashmere goats are a great option.
Cashmere goats can provide a valuable source of income thanks to the soft downy undercoat they produce that is harvested and used to make luxurious clothing and accessories.
However, there are a few things you need to know about raising cashmere goats before committing to this endeavor.
Behavior and Temperament
Cashmere goats are some of the friendliest animals around! They’re social creatures that love being around people, so make sure you provide plenty of space where they can interact with both humans and other animals on the farm.
They do best in large groups because it gives them an opportunity to establish their own hierarchy within the herd.
Ideal Living Conditions
Cashmere goats thrive best when they’re given plenty of space to roam, preferably with access to outdoor grazing areas or barns with plenty of hay available at all times.
They also prefer cooler climates with lots of shade so that they don’t become too hot during the summer months.
Cashmere goats should be groomed regularly and shorn at least twice per year as part of their regular care routine.
This helps keep their coats healthy and free from dirt, debris, parasites, or other contaminants that could affect their health or comfort levels.
Cashmere goats may require some basic training in order for them to feel comfortable around humans and other animals on the farm.
Start by introducing them slowly into larger groups so that they can get used to being around new people without feeling overwhelmed or scared.
The more comfortable your goat feels around you, the easier it will be for you to properly care for them over time.
Cashmere goats need proper nutrition in order for them to stay healthy and active throughout their lives.
Provide your goat with plenty of hay as well as fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples or leafy greens like kale or spinach.
It’s also important to supplement their diet with minerals like salt licks in order to provide additional nutrients they may not be getting from their food sources alone.
It’s important to examine your goat regularly in order to detect any potential health issues early on before they become harder (and more expensive) to treat over time.
Look out for signs such as poor coat growth, weight loss, difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, lameness, swollen joints or eyes, etc., which could indicate an underlying issue that needs medical attention right away in order for your goat(s) to live a long life.
Breeding cashmere goats can be done either naturally by allowing two compatible animals to mate freely within the herd or artificially via artificial insemination (AI).
AI is often considered safer since it reduces the risk of harm coming from aggressive mating behavior within the herd while still providing successful breeding results in most cases.
Not only that, but if you are trying to raise a herd of cashmere goats strictly for fiber, AI will allow you to select genetics that is best for these characteristics.
Harvesting the Fiber
To collect the fibers from these animals, there are some important steps that must be taken.
The first step is to comb the goat with special combs that capture the shorter guard hairs while leaving the longer, softer fibers behind.
When this is complete, all of the fibers must be washed with a mild shampoo to make sure they are clean and free of dirt or debris that could make it more difficult to turn them into fabric.
After washing, you can use special machines to card and spin your collection of cashmere fibers into yarn which can then be used in knitting or weaving projects such as sweaters or blankets.
With patience and attention to detail, anyone can learn how to harvest fiber from cashmere goats and enjoy the luxurious fabrics they provide.
Cashmere Goat Breeds: Final Thoughts
With so many different types of cashmere goats out there, it can be difficult to choose which breed is right for your needs or your farm if you’re looking to start raising your own cashmere-producing animals!
Ultimately, it really depends on what kind of climate you live in and what kind of product you want to produce or sell as far as which one you should choose—but rest assured that whichever type you select will bring its own unique benefits!
Each breed has something special and valuable to offer! No matter which one you choose though—you can be sure that your decision will lead to beautiful cashmere fabrics for years to come!