Oberhasli goat breeds may not be the most famous Swiss breeds out there, but they’re a gem with distinctive “chamois” black and tan coats worth considering for new herd additions.
If you’ve been in the goat-keeping world for a while, you know that Swiss goat breeds have a good reputation for being hardy and profitable milk producers, and Oberhaslis are among them.
But this goat breed doesn’t get the spotlight often, so many aren’t familiar with them.
So in this article, we’ll dig deep into Oberhasli goats’ world and discover their:
- Origin and history
- Temperament or disposition
- Uses and performance in the milking department
Should you decide to add Oberhasli goats to your herd, we also got some tips for raising goats and will give you insights into its cost and what to expect when keeping this breed.
But before that, here’s a little teaser of what Oberhasli is like.
Oberhasli Goat Breed Overview
|Average Height:||Does: 28 inches|
|Bucks: 30 inches|
|Average Weight:||Does: 120 lbs. and above|
|Bucks: More or less 150 lbs.|
|Colors:||Light tan, reddish brown, or black|
|Temperament:||Friendly, gentle, and quiet but alert, bold, and competitive|
|Primary Purpose:||Dairy production|
What Is Oberhasli Goat?
Oberhasli is a dairy goat breed that is one of the foundations of Alpine goats. It is known for its unique chamoisée pattern.
This is a medium-sized ruminant with a vigorous and alert appearance.
But to know what sets Oberhasli apart from other breeds, here are the distinguishing characteristics of Oberhaslis.
Oberhasli Goat’s Characteristics
Oberhasli dairy goats inherit their attributes from both parents because of their recessive genes. So they will be born with or without horns.
They have a straight face from the head and narrow down their jaw. Their ears can grow long and erect until they get mature.
They also have straight noses and big eyes that are to be alert in their surroundings.
Oberhasli Goat Size
A matured male or buck Oberhasli goat can weigh up to 150 pounds and grow up to 30 inches tall.
However, the doe has always been smaller than bucks. They can only get up to 120 pounds and are as tall as 28 inches.
Oberhasli Goat Colors
Like other goat breeds, Oberhasli dairy goats have different color variations.
They can be light tan or reddish brown with some dark shades depending on their parent’s dominant traits.
Depending on their parent’s dominant and recessive genes, you can also find Black Oberhasli or plain white. But mostly, only the does have basic black color.
Their red hair is paired with black markings on their forehead, muzzle, tail, down-to-their belly, and legs below knees.
This pattern of their coats, especially the reddish brown one, is called chamoisée.
Oberhasli Goat’s Origin and History
Oberhasli dairy goat came from Bern Canton, Switzerland. And they eventually spread to neighboring towns like Freiburg, Graubünden, and Glarus.
They were back then called as Oberhasli-Brienzer in Bern because they don’t have horns.
But on the other side of Swiss, in Graubünden, they have horns. It’s clearly because of their recessive gene from the original pure breed.
In the early 1900s, this breed was imported to the United States. However, they underwent cross-breeding, so their original characteristics were gone.
Though they were initially known as Swiss Alpine, breeders want to differentiate them. So, in 1979, they officially had their identity as Oberhasli after doing a strict breeding campaign in North America.
Because of their identification, they remain in a smaller population, unlike the other famous breeds.
Oberhasli Goat Breed’s Habitat
So, where do Oberhasli goats live? Before Oberhasli had gone to North America, they were developed in Switzerland.
Since Bern, Freiburg, Graubünden, and Glarus are mountainous areas, they grow and get used to this habitat.
That explains why they’re not afraid of hopping, running, and finding food, even on a cliff.
Oberhasli Goat Breed’s Temperament
All goat breeds have personalities that make them excellent and easy to raise livestock or pet.
And sometimes, this nature in goats is common and same. So, for beginner growers, here are the facts about Oberhasli’s disposition.
What is the Personality of an Oberhasli Goat?
Since this breed grew up and was developed in mountainous areas, they are more alert, active, competitive, and bold.
But they are friendly, quiet, and gentle like the other breeds.
Uses of Oberhasli Goats
Although Oberhaslis are not as large as Boer goats and other large breeds, they are one of the biggest producers of dairy products. And they’re mainly developed as a dairy goat breed.
They can produce as many as 1650 pounds or equal to 750 kilograms with the lowest fat and increasing proteins in just 265 days.
That’s why they’re popular in Italy in producing fresh milk, yogurt, ricotta, and cheese.
So, if you give them proper training with enough diet and water, they probably produce more than that amount.
Oberhasli Goat Breed’s Population and Reproduction
Over many years, Oberhasli spread throughout the world. In 1990, Oberhasli dairy goats had only 821 registered breeds in the United States.
Then in 2010, it became 1790, which increased twice its population.
While in their original place of origin, in Switzerland, they are only 9320. In Austria, almost 3000 Oberhasli, and in Italy, there were 6237. This count is way back in 2012 and 2013.
At present, their population is still increasing. However, they are still considered endangered because they’re few compared to other breeds.
How Often Do Oberhasli Goats Breed?
Oberhasli goats live for a short time compared to other breeds because they only have an average lifespan of ten years.
However, they mature at an early age of 3 to 12 months. So, they can produce two to three kids half a year after their maturity.
Mostly, their breeding season starts in the fall and lasts for 17 to 23 days. Their fertility stage would occur in 12 to 48 hours after breeding.
Even if they’re not that productive in meat production, you’ll surely not regret raising them as your livestock.
Oberhasli Goat Breed’s Predators
Like other goat breeds, Oberhaslis are prone to wild animals bigger than them, like lions, tigers, and other predatory animals.
But because Oberhasli was developed in the mountainous area of Switzerland, they are alert, which helps them avoid their predators faster.
Another risk of having goats is humans stealing your livestock. It’s not always common, but you can consider it before raising one, especially those easy to carry, like mini Oberhasli.
Are Oberhasli Goats Hardy?
Oberhasli goats are hardy, tough, and flexible animals and can withstand varying weather.
Switzerland usually has four seasons—winter, summer, autumn, and fall but because it’s located in a temperate climatic zone, there’s no extremely cold winter or scorching summer. Therefore, a moderate temperature is suitable for Oberhasli goats.
Where to Find Oberhasli Goats for Sale Near Me?
Since the Oberhasli goat is a rare breed, it’s difficult to find a pure one. It might take time to see them in your area. But doing research will help you.
If you’re living in the United States, there are trusted breeders selling purebred Oberhasli goats, including the following farms:
- Treworgy Family Orchards (Levant, Maine, USA)
- Weeping Willow Farm (Florida, USA)
Aside from these private breeders, you can also approach American Dairy Goat Association in North Carolina, USA. This association has a pool of reputable and trustworthy breeders.
Other clubs that can help you find Oberhasli are the OBM or Oberhasli Breeders of America and the club founded to promote this breed, the Oberhasli Goat Club.
You can check their breeder members and their contact details through their website.
How Much Do Oberhasli Goats Cost?
The Oberhasli breed is among the most affordable breeds, especially in the United States.
Other breeds can cost up to $700 to $7000, but Oberhasli goat price can only cost $300 to $1000.
On the other hand, a mini Oberhasli can cost $500. But, their price depends on their bloodlines.
Even though they’re inexpensive, they can still reach breeding standards and perform well, especially in milk production. So, they can also be a great addition to your homestead.
Why Raise An Oberhasli Goat?
Due to its gentle nature and sweet-tasting milk with a 3.6% butterfat content, the Oberhasli goat is prized and adored by goat enthusiasts.
The Oberhasli is a robust breed primarily used for milk production and is regarded as one of the ideal breeds for animal packers. They are patient and have fantastic personalities.
Although the Oberhasli doesn’t have the finest reputation as a meat goat, it is a superior dairy goat and worth it to raise.
And the rising demand for grass-fed cow and goat meat offers another possible source of income for prospective Oberhasli owners.
How to Raise An Oberhasli Goat?
Raising big or mini Oberhasli dairy goats requires preparation. There are many things you need to consider to achieve good production.
Before preparing, you need to decide whether you want a registered Oberhasli. The registered ones might be costly because they’re pure breed, while unregistered ones are cheaper.
But the advantage of choosing the officially registered is that you can also sell their kids at a higher value.
After choosing, here are the things you need to prepare.
Sturdy Home and Enclosure
You must first prepare a sturdy shelter and enclosure that can withstand extreme weather.
A good home for your goats makes them feel secure and safe from natural calamities and predators.
The number of goats you can raise will depend on the size of your space. If you’re raising them as a pet or for personal consumption, then a small space in your backyard is enough.
But if you plan to use them for commercial or business purposes, you need a large ranch for better production.
Set Up Their Milking Station
For better Oberhasli goat milk production, milk stations are a must. You can’t properly collect milk in the field because your goats might run.
To gently get the Oberhasli goat milk from their udder, put them in a comfortable place where they can’t quickly move.
You can use a milking stand if you only have a few Oberhasli goats yet. But if they’re many, a station will make your work faster.
Provide Them with Enough Food and Grazing Areas
Whether you’re raising a dairy goat or not, providing enough goat food will help them grow healthy and productive. It plays a big role in their development.
Because goats are herbivores, they can eat any grass and leaves, so having a grazing area is an advantage.
Aside from they can have fun in a wide area, you don’t also need to spend too much time finding their food.
So, if you plan to raise one or two or more, ensure you can provide for their needs.
Reputable Vet with Dairy Goat Experience
Reputable veterinarians are not required as long as your goats are always healthy. But that’s not always the case because you can have troubles with your goat’s health anytime.
That’s why most homesteading farmers might prefer to let their vet regularly come to check if their goats are okay.
So, if possible, in your location, find a reputable vet – with a lot of experience who can assist your goat’s health before raising them.
Oberhasli Goat Pros and Cons
To summarize the personality and characteristics of Oberhasli dairy goats and help you decide if you should raise them, here’s a list of their pros and cons.
- Great sweet milk producer
- A family and kid-friendly mammal
- Alert, active, but docile in personality
- Can easily adapt to the weather
- Hardy, especially in cold seasons
- Easy to raise and feed efficiency
- Their milk has low butterfat
- Might escape from ranch if not properly monitored
- Have short lifespans than the other breed
- Their milk production might change
Frequently Asked Questions About Oberhasli Goat
What are Oberhasli goats good for?
Though Oberhaslis are not large compared to other breeds, they’re good for milk production.
But, despite their size, they can still be a good source of meat for your family.
Are Oberhasli goats friendly?
Like other goat breeds, Oberhasli has a friendly personality towards adults and children.
They always love to play with their mates and owners. That’s why most growers in the United States like raising this rare breed.
What does Oberhasli milk taste like?
Compared to other goat breeds, Oberhasli milk has a pleasant flavor and is one of the less goaty flavors.
This milk is noted for its top-notch quality and sweetness, making it ideal for those who are used to drinking cow’s milk.
How much milk do Oberhasli goats give?
There aren’t many Oberhasli goats registered in the United States, and until the 1960s, the American Dairy Goat Association finally recognized the breed.
Oberhasli goats may produce 1,600 pounds of milk with 3.6 percent butterfat annually.
How big do Oberhasli goats get?
Compared to other breeds, Oberhaslis are only medium in size. A mature female must be at least 28 inches tall and weigh 120 pounds at the withers (end of the shoulder blades).
Men can weigh at least 150 pounds and have an average of 30 inches tall.
What is the difference between Alpine and Oberhasli?
The Oberhasli served as the foundation for the Alpine breed. Compared to the larger breeds, it produces less milk.
But the milk that it does generates a higher butterfat concentration. The Oberhasli makes excellent pack animals and is a fine dairy goat.
Oberhasli Goat: Our Final Thoughts
As you see, Oberhasli goats have so much potential in milk production.
And despite not being the highest milk-producing breed (since that title belongs to another Swiss fellow, the Saanen), their milk is a little richer and sweeter because it has a 3.6% butterfat content.
They also offer fine meat, and since Oberhaslis are friendly, they’re easy to manage. This breed is an ideal starter breed to its medium size and pleasing disposition.
But if you want a dairy goat that is perfect for milk production, check out the Saanen breed guide below.