Whether you’re looking to take home the blue ribbon or just have some fun at the local county fair, having the right show goat can be the difference between winning and losing.
But with so many breeds to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you.
Let’s break down some of the best breeds for show goats so you can find your perfect match.
Show Goat Breeds: Can Any Goat Be a Show Goat?
If you’ve ever been to a goat show, you know that it is an incredibly competitive sport. But can just any goat become a show goat?
The answer is both yes and no.
Just about any breed of goat can be shown, but some perform better than others. Each goat will fall into its own class depending on what its primary purpose is (dairy, meat, fiber, etc).
You will need to do extensive research before you begin raising show goats to find out what standards your goat must conform to based on this classification.
That said, there are lots of benefits to raising goats for the exhibition ring.
Show goats have the opportunity to win ribbons and prizes for their owners. For example, if your goat wins Best of Show at a 4-H competition or county fair, there might be college scholarships or cash prizes available.
Also, many shows offer classes specifically for novice exhibitors, which means even those who don’t have much experience with showing goats can enter their animals into the competition.
It’s also a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts and share knowledge with one another!
Showing goats requires hard work and dedication. You need to groom your animal regularly and make sure they are in top condition before every competition.
This includes trimming hooves, brushing fur, and wiping down the body on a regular basis.
Plus, it can be expensive to transport your goat from show to show as well as purchase all the necessary supplies for grooming them beforehand.
Finally, it takes time away from other activities since you’ll need to dedicate several hours each week just for practice sessions with your goat prior to the show itself.
Who Judges Goat Shows and What Does a Show Judge Look For?
The first thing to understand is that each breed has different criteria when it comes to judging. This means that judges have to be familiar with the characteristics and qualities of each individual breed they are judging.
Judges must also understand how those qualities are supposed to be expressed in each breed.
For example, Alpine goats should have strong legs and strong feet, while LaMancha goats should have small ears and a wide muzzle.
So, when judging an Alpine goat, the judge will look at its legs and feet, while when judging a LaMancha goat, he or she will look at its ears and muzzle.
Once a judge has determined how the qualities of each breed should be expressed in their respective animals, they will award points based on those qualities.
Judges award points for things such as:
- conformation (how well-proportioned an animal’s body parts are)
- udder quality (how good of shape the udder is in)
- milk production (how much milk the animal produces)
- temperament (how calm or energetic it is)
- coat quality (if it’s soft or rough)
- overall health (if there are any signs of illness or disease)
The judge then awards points based on how well the animal has expressed these qualities compared to other animals in its class.
Finally, judges also consider an animal’s overall impression when awarding points. This includes things such as attitude—is it alert? Is it confident? Does it appear healthy?—as well as presentation—is it groomed properly? Is it presented in a way that showcases its best attributes?
A judge will take all these factors into consideration when awarding points for the overall impression.
15 Best Show Goat Breeds
Are you considering entering the world of competitive goat showing? You’ve come to the right place!
Read on to learn about the unique strengths and personalities of each of these goat breeds, so you can decide which breed is best for you.
The Alpine breed of goat is a hardy breed known for its strong work ethic. Alpines are also incredibly friendly and require minimal care, making them ideal for those who may be new to the world of goat showing.
They have large ears that stand erect and a coat that comes in many colors.
As far as showing goes, Alpines have been successfully trained in obstacle courses and other activities where agility is required.
Oberhasli goats are often referred to as “the gentle giants” because they tend to be larger than some other breeds while still retaining a calm demeanor.
With coats in chocolate or bay, Oberhaslis make great choices for those looking for a more elegant look without sacrificing strength or good temperament.
They do well in shows such as conformation classes and can even excel in cart-pulling events!
Sables are an especially popular choice among those looking for an all-around show goat due to their glossy coats and high level of energy.
While they may take longer to train than some other breeds, once they know what’s expected from them is that they will usually perform well above average in any event they participate in.
Toggenburgs are known as one of the oldest breeds of goats on record, with a recognizable white coat with brown markings around the muzzle, eyes, ears, and legs.
A medium-sized breed that does well with outdoor activities such as herding and racing, Toggs make excellent show goats thanks to their intelligence and stamina.
They also have a tendency to stay close together when grouped together at shows which makes them great partners when competing in pairs!
La Manchas are smaller than some other breeds but pack plenty of personality into their diminutive size!
Known mostly for their short ears (which can sometimes appear non-existent), La Manchas come in many colors with both long hair or short hair varieties available depending upon your preference.
They’re easygoing animals that do wonderfully at shows such as agility events or any activity that requires quick thinking on the part of the goat.
The Nubian goat is one of the most popular breeds for showing. They are known for their long ears and prominent Roman noses.
Also, they have a gentle temperament and are easy to handle. They typically have short coats that come in various colors, making them ideal for those who want an eye-catching goat at a show.
The Saanen goat is another popular breed that’s favored by showgoers. These goats tend to be larger than other breeds and can weigh up to 200 pounds when fully grown.
They have short hair that comes in colors ranging from white to light brown, making them stand out from other breeds on the show floor.
Saanen goats are also known for their calm temperaments and pleasant dispositions, making them a great choice if you’re looking for a gentle giant at your next show.
Boer goats are known for their bright white heads and red bodies, making them an eye-catching choice on show day.
They also have strong immune systems and grow quickly, making them a great option if you’re looking for a fast turnaround time.
Plus, their calm temperaments make them easy to work with in the show ring.
If you’re looking for a smaller breed of goat, then the Spanish goat might be just what you need.
These goats don’t usually exceed 75 pounds when fully grown and have short coats that can come in colors like black or red-brown.
Spanish goats are also known for their intelligence and trainability, so they’re often more responsive than other breeds when it comes to handling during shows.
Kiko goats are popular among those who show because they tend to be more hardy than other breeds and do well in harsher climates.
Their meat is also highly sought after by consumers due to its lean texture and mild flavor, making Kikos an excellent choice if you’re looking to sell your goats after showing them off at the fair or competition.
Tennessee goats make great show animals because they have a lot of personality. Also called “fainting goats” due to their tendency to stiffen up when startled, these animals are sure to put on a good show!
That being said, they should only be handled by people who know how to properly care for them as their condition makes them more susceptible to injury if not held correctly.
They are known for their long ears and beards, as well as their friendly nature. They come in many different coat colors, making them an attractive choice for showgoers.
The Nigerian Dwarf is one of the smallest breeds of goats and makes an excellent pet or show animal. They are known for their small size, gentle temperament, and intelligence.
If you want a more manageable goat that still has plenty of spirit, the Nigerian Dwarf may be the perfect choice for you.
Angora goats are easily recognizable due to their luxurious locks of wool that can reach several feet long.
If you want a show animal that will really stand out from the crowd, this is it!
Be aware that they require extra grooming and care due to their thick coats—but if you’re willing to put in the effort, these goats can bring home a lot of awards!
Cashmere goats are prized for their soft cashmere wool, which has been used in clothing since ancient times.
This rare breed has recently become popular in shows due to its beautiful coats and pleasant demeanor.
These goats are not as energetic as other breeds, but they do require regular brushing and combing in order to maintain their coats.
Tips for Showing Your Goats
If you’ve ever wanted to show your goats, you’re not alone—showing goats is a competitive and rewarding hobby enjoyed by many.
But getting ready for a show is no simple task—there are lots of steps that must be taken in order to have a successful showing.
With the right tips and tricks, however, you can make sure your goat is in prime condition for showtime.
Read on to find out how!
Understand Your Class
The first step is understanding what class your goat falls into at the show. Each breed will have different classes based on age and gender.
Be sure to research these ahead of time, so you know which category your goat should be entered in.
It’s also a good idea to brush up on breed standards, so you know what the judges will be looking for when evaluating your goat.
Doing this research ahead of time will ensure that you don’t miss any important details when show day comes.
Know What the Judges Are Looking For
When it comes time to present your goat at the show, be sure that you understand exactly what the judges are looking for in each class.
Each judge may have their own preferences when it comes to evaluating goats. Some may value conformation while others may give more consideration to temperament or other qualities.
That said, there are certain standards each and every judge must conform to, and you can look these up ahead of time depending on which class you’re in.
Knowing ahead of time what each judge prioritizes helps ensure that you get the highest score possible at the competition.
Have a Good Breeding and Kidding Program in Place
In addition to knowing how to properly care for and present your goats, having an effective breeding program should also be part of your pre-show preparations.
This means knowing when it’s best to breed does and bucks, as well as having a good plan for birthing and raising new kids each year.
Ensuring that all animals are healthy before entering them into shows is key—and having an effective breeding program can help with this goal.
Keep Up on Vaccinations, Hoof Trimming, and Other Care Tasks
It goes without saying that all goats should receive regular vaccinations and hoof trimmings as part of their regular care routine.
However, this becomes even more important if they’re going into shows!
Keeping up with all aspects of care leading up to showtime helps ensure that animals enter the ring looking (and feeling!) their best—which increases their chances of success at competitions.
Mind the Body Condition Score
Knowing how much weight your animal should carry is also essential when preparing for shows.
Being aware of body condition scores (BCS) will help ensure that animals aren’t too skinny or too heavy before competing.
While there isn’t one “ideal” BCS number for every breed—it changes depending on age, sex, etc.—knowing where yours falls can help ensure optimal performance come game day! In general, judges look for a 3 or 4 score.
Invest in the Right Equipment
Last but not least—investing in proper showing equipment ahead of time can make showing much easier come game day.
This includes items like halters, leashes, brushes/combs/hoof picks, etc., all of which can help make presenting your animal easier (not to mention more enjoyable!).
Having these items handy and ready before heading out will save both stress and money during actual competitions.
Show Goat Breeds: Final Thoughts
No matter which breed you choose, there’s one thing all great show animals have in common—proper training and care.
Make sure you give your goat plenty of love and attention during its pre-show training period so that it can walk into that ring feeling confident and ready to take home that blue ribbon.